Fox's Brian Kilmeade Claims Iraq WMD Intelligence Was "Correct" To Continue Susan Rice Smear Campaign
Blog ››› ››› KEVIN ZIEBER
Fox is attempting to rehabilitate bad intelligence from the Bush administration in order to keep up its smear campaign against UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Fox host Brian Kilmeade claimed that the Bush team's assertion before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein was still pursuing nuclear weapons was "correct," even though the Iraq Survey Group's final report found "no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program" after 1991.
Fox News has attempted to smear the UN Ambassador for its imagined view of what she said on several news programs days after the attack on U.S. diplomatic and intelligence compounds in Benghazi, Libya. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade called Rice "an embarrassment" and co-host Steve Doocy called her "damaged goods," even though in her comments Rice stressed that the investigation was ongoing and accurately conveyed the view of the intelligence community at the time.
On Friday, Fox & Friends continued to criticize the Obama administration's handling and explanation of the Benghazi attack. Kilmeade then attempted to rehab the Bush administration's claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was still pursuing a nuclear weapons program:
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): [T]he last thing I would say, the other talking point from the administration put out through the media is, well what about Condoleezza Rice, who talked about weapons of mass destruction and still got to be Secretary of State, when there were no known weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And the answer to that is simple -- about 80 percent of the Western world and the Middle East from Egypt to Jordan thought he had weapons of mass destruction. All the evidence was there. He actually was caught with them. And there is evidence that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear program. So everything turned out to be correct. You had the world, and an eight-month investigation, and a report that was out. That's a lot different than what Ambassador Rice was either given or said.
But Kilmeade's claims are wrong. In 2004, the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence released a final report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq Survey Group, as it was known, found that Iraq "ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program."
As for the claim that Iraq still possessed chemical weapons, the report stated:
While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad's desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.
The Iraq Survey Group report also judged that after 1995, Iraq "abandoned its existing [biological warfare] program in the belief that it constituted a potential embarrassment, whose discovery would undercut Baghdad's ability to reach its overarching goal of obtaining relief from UN sanctions." The report also stated that Iraq destroyed its undeclared stocks of biological warfare-related weapons in 1991 and 1992.