Responding to a Media Matters item exposing his false claim that the Senate Intelligence Committee “exonerated” President Bush for stating that "[t]he British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" -- when in fact the language he quoted was from the British Butler report -- David Horowitz wrongly asserted that the Senate Intelligence Committee “cited the Butler report.” In fact, the Senate Intelligence Committee did not cite the Butler report, which was released almost a week after the Intelligence Committee released its report.
On December 13, Media Matters for America documented right-wing pundit David Horowitz's false claim that the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee “exonerated” President Bush for stating that "[t]he British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" during his 2003 State of the Union Address (the now-infamous “16 words” ). In a December 13 NewsMax.com column, Horowitz claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the “16 words” were “well-founded.” As Media Matters demonstrated, Horowitz was actually quoting the Butler report, a British government inquiry; the Senate Intelligence Committee documented doubts about the “16 words” voiced at the time by some U.S. intelligence officials. In a December 14 FrontPageMag.com weblog entry, Horowitz responded by accusing Media Matters of making “a tempest in a teapot,” claiming that the Senate Intelligence Committee “cited the Butler report.” In fact, the Senate Intelligence Committee did not cite the Butler report, nor could it have: The Butler report was released almost one week after the Intelligence Committee released its report.
In his weblog entry, Horowitz, the editor-in-chief of FrontPageMag.com, accused Media Matters of engaging in “morally degenerate and intellectually bankrupt” attacks:
Today one of [Media Matters president and CEO David] Brock's minions has attacked me (this being one of 100 or so such forays) for my previous blog (see below) in which I wrote about the efforts of Democrats to sabotage the war on terror and stab our troops in the back by using the 16 true words in the President's 2003 State of the Union about uranium in Niger to undermine the credibility of the commander in chief. As Senator Lieberman put it, you undermine the credibility of the commander in chief at “our nation's peril.”
I am small potatoes compared to the commander in chief but I am apparently very important to the myrmidons at Media Matters, because they have just run a long piece accusing me of “lying” about this issue. My sin seems to be confusing the Butler Report with a bi-partisan commission of the Senate that cited the Butler report. Boy, is this ever a tempest in a teapot. The sixteen words which the Democrats used to flay our own men and women in the field, as pointed out in my blog below were perfectly true then and the British obviously still stand by them now (e.g., the Butler report).
The Senate Intelligence Committee's 2004 "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq" does not cite the Butler report. Indeed, it would have been impossible for the Intelligence Committee to do so: The Butler report was released on July 14, 2004, five days after the Intelligence Committee report.
Horowitz also wrote:
BTW, Media Matters accuses me of being as big a liar now as I was when I was a Communist. I was never a Communist, unless you want to count being a minor child in a Communist household being a Communist (interesting guilt by association for lefties). But I will call this a mistake rather than a lie, even though Media Matters has never corrected an error about me in the past when it has been pointed out to them.
Media Matters never claimed Horowitz was a Communist. Horowitz apparently was referring to a reader comment posted to the December 13 Media Matters item, wrongly imputing it to Media Matters. This is not the first time Horowitz has engaged in this sort of duplicity: In December 2004, Horowitz pointed to a reader comment posted on the Media Matters website to falsely claim Media Matters “label[ed] Bill Cosby a racist.”