I think that "
Rob Kall: Or another major officer?
I think that should be a profound concern of every American . And let me characterize it for you, I think a little more complexly, and " but more accurately. It ' s not the C.I.A. as an organization that ' s lying to the President. Indeed , there were people in the C.I.A. who contested the views that Tenet and McLaughlin were presenting to Secretary Powell and me. There were people we didn ' t even know about , who were being h eld in abeyance, as it were, being held back from seeing the Secretary or talking to the Secretary, because they disagreed ( i n some cases they disagreed strongly) with what Tenet and McLaughlin were presenting as 'T he P osition ' . There were even people in the Department of State ' s own Intelligence Research Bureau , the intelligence arm of the State Department, who disagreed, particularly on the nuclear weapons program . Which, you may recall, Cheney made a number of statements about being absolutely positive that Saddam Hussein was working on a nuclear weapon. Nothing could have been further from the truth, and yet Cheney said that over, and over again. Dr. Rice said "W e don ' t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud ' . An d images like that, that were patently false.
Rob Kall: Well, let ' s just stop with that, those last two words, ' pat ent' and ' false .' And are you basically saying that Cheney was a liar, or worse ? Can you describe how you look at him in those terms?
I look at him in the following way. Dick Cheney was not a n eo-Conservative in the sense that we ' ve come to know people like Richard Pe rle and Paul Wol fowitz, and Douglas Feith, and others. Dick Cheney was what I would call a n arch, or an ultra, or a hyper " you pick your ha lf' - adjective N ationalist. Dick Cheney would d o anything to protect America, including slaughtering half the world if he had to. Dick Cheney was the guy, as Ron
Suskind said, of the "O ne percent [1%] solution. ' And what that means in its most graphic terms is that, the Vice President of the United States believe d that if there is a one percent [1%] chance that a terrorist would get through and explode a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb in an American city , t hat he was going to do anything that he had to do , including torture, including lying, including cheating, anything that he had to do to prevent that. That ' s the position " as extreme as it may sound , that I can understand. I mean, I can " I don ' t hold that position myself, but I can understand it. And that ' s what differentiates Cheney, I think, from some of the other minions who were simply carrying out what he directed them to carry out.
Rob Kall: Okay. Let ' s talk about Neoco ns and the Project for a New American Century . In terms of today, what do you " you ' ve had some pretty close exposure with it. You brought it up. What ' s your take on the N eoCcons in the Obama administration, and in the potential Romney, or as we ' re now calling him, " Bishop Romney, ' administration?
Lawrence Wilkerson: Well, the people around Mitt Romney scare me. They look like the same people, in many cases they are the same people, that marched us down the road to this war with Iraq, which I think was the most disastrous decision in post-World War II American history. A s trategic failure, a strategic mistake, of the very first order. The same people around Romney right now , not all of them, but many of them, are fast at work trying to work the same kind of magic, if you will, on the Romney A dministration with regard to war with Iran. It is eerie how similar their tactics are, how similar their ruthlessness in carrying out th ose tactics, i s. Some of the same characters. I mean the recent de- listing, for example, of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, t he so called " M.E.K. ' , the Iranian terrorist group. And that ' s exactly what they are, is terrorists. The recent de-listing by Secretary Clinton, while it might have been an understandable act prima fa cie , that is to say , you had to reward them for finally getting out of the camp they were in Iraq, or you ' d never get the m out of that camp. It was a completely idiotic and illogical move in every other respect. These people are terrorists, and they will likely become Ahmed Chalabi in the Iraqi National Congress for a march to war against Iran. So we ' ve set up the same kind of apparatus. They can feed us false intelligence, they can feed us all this Domesday information about Iran , as Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress fed us at the time about Iraq. So they ' re operating off the same sheet of music. It ' s eerie . T hey clearly consider the rest of us Luddites, idiots, morons, or whatever, because they haven ' t even changed their modus operandi . They ' re just pushing the same kind of music to get us to go to war with Iran. And it ' s essentially the same people, whether we ' re talking Michael Idione , or some of the more influential people, it appears, like John Bolton with Mitt Romney ' s camp aign staff .
Rob Kall: Yeah. Bu t wait a second. Now it was Hilary Clinton in the Obama administration, that did authorize the de-listing from the terrorist list , of M.E.K. It wasn ' t Romney. So that ' s " so are you saying this is a N eocon move ?
This is a N eo c on move. And the fact that Clinton went along with it, the President went along with it, ha d more to do with not showing any angle on any national security issue prior to the elections , than it did anything else, politically speaking. Practically speaking, as I said, it had to do with the Secretary ' s frustration over not being able to get the M.E.K. to move in Iraq, and the only way she could get them to move was to promise them de-listing.
Rob Kall: Got it!