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January 12, 2004
Power Line: O'Neill and Suskind Deception

Hindrocket at Power Line reports on an e-mail from Laurie Mylroie exposing a deception on the part of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and his cowriter, Ron Suskind, on evidence of a conspiracy to invade Iraq:

"Suskind claimed he has documents showing that preparations for the Iraq war were well underway before 9-11. He cited--and even showed--what he said was a Pentagon document, entitled, 'Foreign Suitors for Iraq Oilfield Contracts.' He claimed the document was about planning for post-war Iraq oil (CBS's promotional story also contained that claim)[.]

"But that is not a Pentagon document. It's from the Vice-President's Office. It was part of the Energy Project that was the focus of Dick Cheney's attention before the 9/11 strikes.

"And the document has nothing to do with post-war Iraq. It was part of a study of global oil supplies. Judicial Watch obtained it in a law suit and posted it, along with related documents, on its website[.] Indeed, when this story first broke yesterday, the Drudge Report had the Judicial Watch document linked (no one at CBS News saw that, so they could correct the error, when the show aired?)"

As it turns out, this document is part of a series of maps and analyses of petroleum resources and commercial producers in the Middle East, also including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which were and are nominal allies in the war on Iraq and on terror in general. No one has ever seriously suggested an invasion of either country, and indeed Saudi Arabia has been our major staging area in the Persian Gulf until just recently. Since oil is our primary energy source, and the Middle East is our primary resource for oil, it makes sense that Cheney's energy taskforce would produce such a document.

What does this do to O'Neill's contention about the Bush administration's conspiracy to commit war on Iraq at the beginning of the term? Well, probably not too much, since any responsible administration would have to have a war-plan for Iraq in 2001, no matter who was in office. The staging of thousands of troops for a mission of containment had to have options if that containment failed, which it undoubtably had started to do. As I remarked earlier, I'm sure that the Clinton administration had a military plan for the invasion of Iraq, too.

What this revelation may do is to paint O'Neill as even more out of the mainstream of this administration, someone in whose judgment the White House may have had little confidence, and if this is an example of his work, small wonder. This report had been held up by the pair as clear evidence of vague misdeeds, and its collapse will badly damage their case (and their book). O'Neill and Suskind apparently did little research into their evidence prior to publication, especially considering how high-profile Cheney's energy committee has been and how much focus the committe's findings and supporting documentation and testimony has received. If this proves out -- and Power Line's post leaves little doubt if you follow the links -- O'Neill and Suskind can be painted as amateurs in over their heads, perhaps even dangerously so.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 12, 2004 2:15 PM

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» O'NEILL/SUSKIND HOAX from Patterico's Pontifications
Power Line has the goods on the O'Neill/Suskind Hoax. The "Pentagon document" titled "'Foreign Suitors for Iraq Oilfield Contracts" is no such thing. (Via the Captain.) Pass it on.... [Read More]

Tracked on January 12, 2004 7:51 PM

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