I caught a little of Night Talk last night. In the first segment, prior to a surprisingly entertaining taped interview with Peter Tork of the Monkees, Pintek interviewed Ron Kessler, author of the new book The Terrorist Watch.
Kessler described the 8-month long interrogation/debriefing of the captured Saddam Hussein by FBI special agent George Piro and this, Pintek fans, is where the fun began.
Kessler said that Saddam admitted to Piro that he had no WMD before the 2003 invasion. He faked having the weapons because he wanted Iran to think he had them.
At that point, if you looked hard enough, you would've seen Pintek's brain going into overdrive (what-do I-do-now-what-do I-do-now-what-do I-do-now?). Dancing quickly, he was able to establish that Saddam must've had lied to absolutely everyone about the non-existent WMD. And then by a few short steps of conservative illogic, he was able to imply that the Bush administration was merely wrong (that is, not dishonest) about Saddam's WMD - carefully letting George W. Bush off the hook for lying to us about Saddam's WMD.
Nice try, Mike. Didn't work and it made you look desperate, but a nice try nonetheless.
Here's Kessler in his own words. From Newsmax.com:
It's a mystery to me why Newsmax is allowing this on its site. But that is neither here nor there.
Saddam confided to Piro why he had no weapons of mass destruction but pretended he did. Saddam said that because of the war of attrition he had with Iran, Iran always remained a threat to him. And if Iran thought he had serious WMD, it would be reluctant to engage him again. On the other hand, if he said he had them, Iran would never listen. But if the U.S. said that he had them, Iran would believe it.
So every time inspectors came, Saddam gave them the runaround, reinforcing for Iran’s consumption the notion that he had WMD. And that explains why, if there were no WMD, he acted as if he did have them.
The point is, here's an FBI agent telling a experinced author who's written a number of books on the US intelligence services (the CIA, FBI and so on) as well as a book called "A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush" that one of the main reasons for the war in Iraq is wrong.
And Pintek spun it the best he could - into Dubya's incompetence.
Good going Mike. Yer doin a hekuva job.