Dave Pierre writes in an Aug. 6 NewsBusters post:
Los Angeles Times's Tim Rutten is at it again. In an op-ed in today's paper (Wed. 8/6/08), Rutten buttresses a new book by author Ron Suskind and asserts that "Vice President Dick Cheney and his inner circle long have insisted" that Iraq was directly connected to the September 11 attacks.
Rutten's claim is an easy one to debunk. Here's Vice President Cheney in a Meet the Press interview with Tim Russert a mere five days after the September 11 attacks:
RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation? [Sept. 11 attacks]
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.
Does it get any simpler than "No"?
Only if it were accurate. Here's Cheney just two months later on the November 14, 2001, edition of CBS's "60 Minutes II":
GLORIA BORGER (CBS News contributor): Well, you know that Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the hijackers, actually met with Iraqi intelligence.
CHENEY: I know this. In Prague, in April of this year, as well as earlier. And that information has been made public. The Czechs made that public. Obviously, that's an interesting piece of information.
And here's Cheney just a month after that, on the Dec. 9, 2001, edition of "Meet the Press":
RUSSERT: Do you still believe there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?
CHENEY: Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that's been pretty well confirmed, that he [Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.
While Pierre noted in a September 2006 post that Cheney later backed away somewhat from asserting the Atta-Prague claim was unquestionably true, that doesn't, as Pierre suggests, prove that Cheney stopped trying to link Iraq to al-Qaeda -- in fact, he kept trying, which would seem to prove Rutten right.