Saturday, September 30, 2006

White House in crisis over 'Iraq lies' claims

Watergate journalist's new book exposes how Bush has kept the US public in the dark about the true costs of the 'war on terror'

Paul Harris in New York
Sunday October 1, 2006
The Observer

"President George Bush was braced for one of the toughest fights of his political life yesterday as a fierce row broke out over whether he has been misleading the American public over the worsening violence in Iraq. The crisis also rippled across the Atlantic with claims that the administration hid crucial Iraq intelligence from its British allies.

Sparking the crisis was a series of leaks from a hard-hitting new book by the political journalist Bob Woodward, one of the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal that engulfed the Nixon administration three decades ago.

In the TV interview Woodward accuses Bush of keeping the real situation in Iraq secret from the American public and playing down the true level of violence. 'There's public [information] and there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know,' he says.

His book - State of Denial - is also understood to say Tony Blair was angry at discovering that Washington was keeping key intelligence on Iraq from Britain - even classifying reports based partly on contributions from British operatives as off-limits.

It portrays Bush as determined to stick it out even if his only supporters are whittled down to his wife and the White House dog. 'I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me,' Woodward quotes Bush as having told top Republicans at a White House meeting."

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