News reports on President Bush’s news conference today focused–rather bizarrely, if you read the whole thing–on his “taking responsibility” for the famous 16 words. There is only one reason why the news media and the Democrats have been able to focus attention on this mini-controversy over a period of weeks. The reason is that weapons of mass destruction have allegedly not been found in Iraq.
David Kay, who is in charge of the hunt for WMDs in Iraq, has returned to Washington and will brief the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees tomorrow.
Watch for leaks on the briefing. The key to the weapons hunt is translating and analyzing millions of pages of documents on Iraq’s banned programs–a process that will take months if not years. But the Administration has been dropping hints that progress is being made in getting to the bottom of Saddam’s weapons programs.
In his press conference today, President Bush brought up Kay’s visit: “David Kay came to see me yesterday. He’s going to testify in closed hearing tomorrow — which in Washington may not be so closed, as you know. And he was telling me the process that they were going through to analyze all the documentation. And that’s not only to analyze the documentation on the weapons programs that Saddam Hussein had, but also the documentation as to terrorist links. And it’s just going to take awhile, and I’m confident the truth will come out.” And today Donald Rumsfeld said: “He’s told me that he has a greater degree of confidence today than when he first arrived. And the rest of it’s classified.”
My guess is that Kay’s briefing will have enough meat to give Democrats (those who aren’t running for President, anyway) pause about putting too many eggs in the “missing WMD” basket. And whatever he says will be all over Washington in a matter of minutes.
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