Senator Dayton feels lied to about WMD

A top story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press today described how Senator Dayton believes he was "lied to" by administration officials in briefings. (Dayton is fairly popular now) Dayton is on the Armed Services Cmte. I think it's high time that our often quiet senator stepped up and called them on it. Is it more a crime to lie to the people in the SotU or directly to senators in top secret committee meetings?

Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons, Dayton said he was told, and might be only a year away from having a nuclear bomb. And Saddam, already loaded with biological and chemical weapons, continued to plot with al-Qaida terrorists, Dayton, D-Minn., said he was informed.

"I think the American people were misinformed by assertions on the links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, and the state of the nuclear weapons program ? that Iraq had, or was about to obtain, an active nuclear bomb," Dayton said. "I felt lied to, I felt the American people were lied to, in both of those regards."...

From Dayton's viewpoint, the problem wasn't just raw intelligence data he heard during small meetings at the White House and in secure rooms in the U.S. Capitol. He's troubled by how the administration touted the most alarming scraps and rumors, he said, in an effort to sell the war -- and how he believes a false urgency was used in partisan ways to help the Republican cause.

Repeatedly in the fall of 2002, Dayton said, he heard intelligence professionals give measured, fragmented and sometimes speculative intelligence. But then, "Two or three days later, people (in the Bush administration) were representing that information (in public speeches) different than how it was presented to me.... They'd take something where the intelligence was making a qualified statement, and they'd make an unqualified assertion," Dayton said. Doubts about the information and contradictory data rarely surfaced during his dozen or so Iraq briefings with the Bush administration, Dayton said. In briefings of senators, few lawmakers got the opportunity to ask more than a question or two. Dayton said that limited opportunities to challenge the administration. "It was never suggested to us in any meaningful way that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction at all. ? That was presented as a given," Dayton said.

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