Last night before I went to bed I heard the news that CIA Director George Tenet had taken the fall for the Niger uranium debacle. I figured it was coming since Bush and Condoleeza Rice had proclaimed earlier in the day that Tenet had cleared the State of the Union Address which absolved Bush from all blame from making the case that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

      At around 2:30 AM this morning, I awoke drenched in a cold sweat from one of my dreaded premonition fever dreams and it all began to make sense. The Niger story was simply a dry run by the White House that set the stage for Bush to wiggle his way out of taking any responsibility for the tragedy that occurred on 9-11!

      Hear me out here.

      If Bush can get away from taking responsibility for the words he spoke in his State of the Union Address because the CIA didn't tell him they were bogus, just think how this precedent will play itself out down the line when the public finds out about the intelligence briefings Bush received prior to 9-11.especially the August 6, 2001 briefing that took place in Crawford, Texas?

      This strategy has been in the works for days now if you think about it. Look at how Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld have danced around the issue by proclaiming that intelligence is an inexact science in every statement they've made to the press lately. They've pretty much said that you can't rely on intelligence as fact or evidence, because it is open to human interpretation and can be interpreted in so many different ways.

  From what I've read about how the State of the Union Address was crafted, the writers already knew that the Niger claim was bogus, so they struck Niger from the speech and simply named Africa as the place where Iraq tried to buy uranium. They justified this by claiming that the Brits had intelligence info independent of the Niger claim, so basically they passed the buck onto the British.

      As it turns out the British dossier that contained the info was also bogus, but since the White House claims they didn't know this, it once again gets them off the hook. Ignorance is bliss at convenient times..isn't it?

      The sticking point here though, and something the mainstream press seems to forget, is that Cheney asked the CIA to look into the Niger story back in February of 2002. The CIA then dispatched former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson to Niger to look into the claims, and in early March he reported his findings to both the CIA and the State Department. Wilson claims that the Iraq Niger uranium deal was doubtful and assumed that the Vice President had been briefed since he was the person who called for the investigation in the first place.

      Now the White House claims that nobody there was ever briefed on the results of Wilson's investigation.

      It was also reported that Cheney made multiple visits to the CIA to check on intelligence regarding Iraq. It's hard for me to believe, that if he had not been briefed on an investigation he himself had asked the CIA to initiate, that he didn't once think of asking about it on any of his many visits to the CIA. Something really stinks here.

      Also, where has Cheney been during the past few weeks? I can only assume that the White House has him tucked away safely in his undisclosed underground bunker in hopes that the mainstream press and politicians will forget that he was involved in this story in a big, big way! I'd like for someone with a set, to confront him on this issue and see why he never thought to follow-up on his own investigation into the Iraq Niger story. Since the results were known a full ten months before the State of the Union Address, he could have saved Bush a lot of embarrassment by simply telling his boss it was all a lie.

      So this is how I predict the White House will shield Bush from taking any responsibility for 9-11.

      When the Joint Inquiry Report is released next week and the public finds out some of the ugly details about what Bush really knew prior to 9-11, it will all be blamed on the CIA and the other intelligence services.

      Intelligence briefings that Bush received will be blown off because the intelligence used in the briefings will be found to be inexact and not specific enough to merit action by the President.

      The multitude of intelligence warnings from both domestic and foreign sources will likewise be discounted because they will be deemed inexact and not specific.

      Since Tenet fell on his sword and took blame for the Niger scandal, his credibility will already have been tarnished so that it will be easier to blame him for the intelligence developed by the CIA prior to 9-11. Since Tenet is also the main conduit between the intelligence services and Bush, and since Tenet was directly responsible for the info Bush received in his daily briefings prior to 9-11, it is a forgone conclusion that Tenet will be the scapegoat when the dookie hits the fan after the Joint Inquiry Report is released.

      Here's something we need to focus on. When the report does come out, we need to keep the spotlight on the specific information Bush received in his intelligence briefings and also on the specific information that was contained in the many intelligence warnings. We need to then make note of the information that did turn out to be accurate and true so that it can't taint all of our intelligence as being inexact because it was developed via subjective human interpretation.

      We can't allow the hard work of thousands of our intelligence professionals to be discounted and deemed irrelevant simply because the White House wants to shield the President from taking any responsibility for what he knew prior to 9-11.

      Nearly 3,000 innocent lives were lost on 9-11, and those lost souls, their grieving families and all Americans deserve to know the full truth as to what Bush knew, when he knew it and why he didn't act on what he knew.

      Let the chips fall where they may and let Bush stand on his own for a change. I'm getting sick and tried of hearing about people falling on their swords to protect his sorry ass.

      Allan Duncan is a Social Worker who lives in New Hope, PA.  This article is copyright by Allan Duncan originally published by Permission is granted to forward this or to place it on a website as long as the article is included intact, including this statement.