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Larry C. Johnson: Ray, You da Man!

Ray, You Da Man!

By Larry C. Johnson
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 05 May 2006

Leave it to the former Presidential Daily Briefer for George Herbert Walker Bush to lay the wood on Rummy. Don Rumsfeld would deny that the Sun rises in the east even if he were strapped naked and spead eagle on a cross facing Mecca. Perhaps Rummy and Cheney could get together and do a road show. The working title? Denial Ain't a River in Egypt.

Today, Ray McGovern, the man who used to give George Bush senior his daily intel update, spoke truth to power. Rumsfeld, to his credit, permitted Ray to speak rather than having him carried out of the auditorium. In retrospect, Rummy probably regrets that decision.

For Rummy, lying is becoming a way of life. He had the chance to be a stand up guy: admit his past error, and repent. If he had done that, the American people would be willing to cut him some slack. But Rummy chose the coward's wa_. He lied and denied. Unfortunately, his handlers have not briefed him on the existence of recordable video cameras. The American people have a short attention span if they have to read and remember, but if they see you lie to them on tape, look out. They don't like being played for suckers. Check out the exchange at . Here's a partial transcript of the exchange between Don and Ray (thanks to Crooks and Liars):

Rumsfeld: ... it appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.

McGovern: You said you knew where they were.

Rumsfeld: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and ...

McGovern: You said you knew where they were. Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words.

Rumsfeld: My words ... my words were that ... no-no, wait a minute - wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second ...

So, Rummy never said that? NOT. Here's what he said to George Stephanopolous three years ago:

Mr. Stephanopoulos: Finally, weapons of mass destruction. Key goal of the military campaign is finding those weapons of mass destruction. None have been found yet. There was a raid on the Answar Al-Islam Camp up in the north last night. A lot of people expected to find ricin there. None was found. How big of a problem is that? And is it curious to you that given how much control US and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction?

Sec. Rumsfeld: Not at all. If you think - let me take that, both pieces - 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're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

Second, the criminal facilities, there are dozens of them, it's a large geographic area. It is the - Answar Al-Islam group has killed a lot of Kurds. They are tough. And our forces are currently in there with the Kurdish forces, cleaning the area out, tracking them down, killing them or capturing them and they will then begin the site exploitation. The idea, from your question, that you can attack that place and exploit it and find out what's there in fifteen minutes.

I would also add, we saw from the air that there were dozens of trucks that went into that facility after the existence of it became public in the press and they moved things out. They dispersed them and took them away. So there may be nothing left. I don't know that. But it's way too soon to know. The exploitation is just starting.

Whoops! Don, you're wrong buddy. You did say it. And, in retrospect, you also told Stephanopolous that the Zinni/Peay plan for invading Iraq was offbase and required too many troops. Heavens to Betsy, looks like you screwed the pooch on that one too.


Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and US State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC's Nightline, NBC's Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world.

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