Rummy wants to declare war on Democrats
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about links to Al Qaeda. Do you still believe the intelligence that showed Iraq's links to Al Qaeda is bulletproof?
RUMSFELD: I think that the information we had, over a period of time, that I cited, that the intelligence community gave to me, and I read as opposed to ad-libbing, was correct. It was carefully stated. One argument was that Iraq was secular and Al Qaeda was religiously motivated and therefore they wouldn't link. I mean, the facts are we've seen accommodations take place in the world where people who don't agree end up cooperating because they have a common enemy.
Democrats hate George Bush.
So does Al Qaeda.
Hey, a common enemy! Let's bomb the Democrats (I think some of them have been seen in Africa)...
More on Rummy's changing story:
STEPHANOPOULOS: When you were before the Senate the other day, you said that you learned that this information -- and I think the question was bogus -- only days ago. And how could that be?
RUMSFELD: I think I said in recent days when it all became public. I should have said, probably, in recent weeks, because I went back and checked with the intelligence person who briefs me and, apparently, it went like this. The president's speech was in January. The next day I said the president had said this, and then in March, ElBaradei, the U.N. IAEA person, said he thought that statement was based on a forged document.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and actually prior to that --
RUMSFELD: -- this is in March 12th or 8th or something --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- March 8th, I think it was --
RUMSFELD: -- yeah, and my intelligence briefer tells me that when that hit the newspapers, I asked them -- what are the facts? And they came back and said that the agency thinks that ElBaradei may very well be right, and so it was then that I became aware of it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it wasn't only in recent days. You've actually known that for several months --
RUMSFELD: -- no, it was in recent weeks or --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- well, a few months, March 8th.
RUMSFELD: March, April, May, June -- right -- July -- so it's been four months, right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you haven't repeated the charge, the allegation, since then -- the evidence?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And as far as you're concerned, the president said the case is closed. You seem to be saying the same thing.
RUMSFELD: I mean -- I don't know what else one can say. The president said that, in retrospect, those words wouldn't -- should not have been in the speech -- not that they're known to be inaccurate, the British still think they are accurate. The way he phrased it was accurate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don't vouch for the British intelligence here?
RUMSFELD: No, we can't, and we shouldn't. I mean -- we think they do a wonderful job. We have a very close relationship with the UK. Of all the intelligence services in the world, I think that one has to say they've done -- over the years, they do a very, very good job.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On the broader subject of weapons of mass destruction, the last time you appeared on the show -- I think it was March 30th -- we talked about why no weapons had been found. It was about three weeks into the war, and here is what you said. I want you to take a look at it.
(previously taped segment)
RUMSFELD: The area in the South and the West and the North that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and East, West, South, and North somewhat.
(end of taped segment)
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said, "We know where they are." Have those sites where you thought the weapons of mass destruction were -- have those been inspected now?
RUMSFELD: I probably should have said we know where they were instead of we know where they are. At that moment, the intelligence community said these are "x" number of suspect sites, meaning we have reason to believe that they might be in these various locations -- numbers of hundreds --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- but at that time, on March 30th, you believed the weapons were there?
RUMSFELD: Exactly. We did believe that, and they may have been there. We've been out looking at those sites, and -- some of those sites -- and have gone through some fraction of them. It takes a long time. It's an enormously big country and, as you'll recall, the one individual came in and took the investigators into his backyard near a rosebush, dug down, and found things that had been buried there for years with respect to the Iraqi nuclear program, and you can imagine -- how would anyone have known that except for the person who buried them coming in and saying, "Here they are." So what the Iraqi survey group is now doing is they are, instead of running around to all these suspect sites that we had, where we believed they were, they are instead going through the interrogation process with these people and trying to find people who can tell us where they are.
You can tell the guy studied his Iran Contra/Enron Senate tapes.
You'd think it was the Congress that had to rely on Rummy for cash, not vice versa.