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Selective Deception

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Message Jayne Stahl
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a caveat today that the Bush administration must be "very cautious and very restrained about the kind of information we want to give to al-Qaida." (AP) By only partially releasing a previously classified National Intelligence Estimate report, by the nation's 16 intelligence agencies, that alleges an escalating terror threat, indeed one that has ncreased in direct proportion to this government's "preemptive" military actions, the president, and his "defense ministers," are censoring, and manipulating, what information reaches the American people, and Congress.

White House press secretary Tony Snow, and others who defend partial declassification, insist that if the entire contents of the report were to be made public, "the independence of people doing intelligence analysis" would be compromised. (AP) Excuse me, but why this sudden concern about protecting the lives and "independence" of intelligence analysts from an administration that has been complicit in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame? Is it this government's job to assess, and select which investigators, and investigations are to be concealed, which revealed, and whose lives are worth protecting?

Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld's politics of selective deception, which is egregiously demonstrated by the politically timed, and executed declassification of an "abridged" version of the findings of more than a dozen national intelligence agencies corrolates, and fits nicely with their ongoing pattern of seduction by secrecy. Keep in mind that we are being shortchanged by agencies that are sponsored by our taxpayer dollars. Maybe if Congress, and the citizens of this country stood up, and demanded to see the complete contents of those intelligence reports that got us into the war in Iraq, in the first place, we wouldn't be talking about the need to release these findings today.

Over the past 24 hours, much has been said about Iraq having become the "cause celebre" for terrorists. Clearly, Iraq has become not merely a "cause celebre,"and a training ground, but a fraternity house for jihadists. Over the past several hours, too, we've heard our president call "naive" those who believe that our campaign to topple Saddam in Iraq has only resulted in proliferation of Islamic fundamentalist holy warriors, as well as expansion of terror threat. From our president also comes the following rationalization: "My judgment is, if we weren't in Iraq, they'd find some other excuse, because they have ambitions." (AP) Yes, yes, Mr. Bush is right, the global jihadists have "ambitions" just like we do. Funny thing about the desire for world domination, it's often accompanied by ambition. Now why doesn't the president open up the entire NIE report so that we can all see, and gauge the threat, as well as the ambitions of those, on both sides of the equation, who engage in ongoing military action that compromises the security, and sanity of the human race.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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