Statement On The President’s New Intelligence Commission, February 6, 2004

Clark says: President shouldn’t blame CIA for failures: “They report; he decides”

Little Rock – General Wesley Clark issued the following statement on today’s announcement by President Bush of his new commission to investigate intelligence failures on Iraqi weapons.

“President Bush’s announcement today is a disappointment but not a surprise – George W. Bush’s presidency has been a series of failures followed by buck-passing.

“The President of the United States must be responsible for the use of intelligence by his Administration. The President should not use a panel like the one announced today to lay blame on the intelligence community, whose job it is to provide information to policy makers. If there were failures, they were his – the buck should stop with him. As the President’s favorite network would say, ‘they report; he decides.’

“The President also should not be using a panel to sweep pressing issues under the rug. Waiting until 2005 for the commission’s report simply is not acceptable – if there is a major threat posed by these weapons, we should have that information in 90 days, not a year from now.

“I also would like to know why the commission is being created now – it appears that the President delayed the creation of the commission and created a report date in a way that makes it difficult for citizens to know the degree of responsibility and accountability of this administration. This follows the 9/11 Commission – the Administration put up road blocks and delays so that Americans won’t hear their report until after the election. George Bush’s modus operandi is to keep the public in the dark. I believe that in a democracy the government belongs to the people and I’ll be a president who believes in being accountable to the people, not hiding from the people.”