Ray McGovern, the CIA veteran who publicly challenged Donald Rumsfeld last week, tells Buzz Flash in an in-depth interview that the canned applause that accompanied Rumsfeld’s lies reminded McGovern of cold war Russia.

Buzz Flash:

Twenty-seven-year CIA veteran and BuzzFlash contributor Ray McGovern confronted America’s Secretary of Defense in a public forum in Atlanta on May 4, asking the questions that are on all of our minds. He peppered Rumsfeld with facts that clearly contradicted Rumsfeld’s own words. He asked Rumsfeld whether he lied, or was misled, about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction and significant ties to al Qaeda. As Rumsfeld obfuscated, he urged him to be up front with the American people, adding: “These people aren’t idiots. They know the story.” Like Stephen Colbert the week before, Ray McGovern laid out the truth for all to see. Ray McGovern spoke with BuzzFlash about that experience, about the lead up to the Iraq war, and about what he fears may come next.

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BuzzFlash: After Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke at a forum in Atlanta, there was a question-and-answer period. You lined up to ask a question, and got your chance. How did you begin?

Ray McGovern: Rumsfeld had wrung his hands and reacted most somberly when a woman accused him of telling lies. He pointed out that the President would never tell lies, and this is very destructive, as he put it, of the trust between the people and their leaders. It struck me that this was really disingenuousness? cynicism in the extreme.

I had been preparing a couple of talks to give in Atlanta, and one of the things in my notes was a New York Times report of September 2002 in which Don Rumsfeld says the evidence linking Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda is “bullet-proof.” That was extraordinary, in the extreme, since the CIA had long since concluded there was no evidence of that. At that time, Brent Scowcroft, Chair of the President?s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, was saying that such evidence as there was was “scant” – that was his word ? scant.

My colleague Paul Pillar, national intelligence officer for the Middle East for counterterrorism, had allowed himself to say to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, that the campaign to link Saddam Hussein with al Qaeda, and by extension with 9/11, was a gross manipulation, and one indeed might call it a lie – which is about as far as Paul Pillar will go. So I thought, I should ask Secretary Rumsfeld about this particular piece. I would ask him where he got this “bullet-proof” business ? where did it come from, and was it a lie, or was he misled?


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