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Thursday, June 16, 2005
It Depends On What the Meaning of 'Fixed' Is
Topic: makes an effort to discredit the Downing Street memo in a June 16 article by Randy Hall. He uses James Robbins, senior fellow in national security affairs for the American Foreign Policy Council (a conservative group, though Hall doesn't tell us that), to try to build a case that "people who think the Downing Street Minutes are part of a pro-war conspiracy 'need to ramp down their enthusiasm'":

When asked about the use of the phrase "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," Robbins noted that the document provided meeting minutes, not a precise meeting transcript.

"People who are placing their entire case on the word 'fixed,' a word that may not even have been spoken but was just the shorthand of the person who was documenting the meeting, need to clarify whether that word was actually used, what that word means and where the people who may have said this got that impression," he said.

Michael Smith, the reporter for the British Sunday Times who broke the Downing Street memo story, clarifies things for Robbins and Hall in a June 16 Washington Post online chat:

There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:37 PM EDT

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