Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bush Administration Accountability: Make Mistakes, Receive Yearly Cash Bonuses!

Walter Pincus in the Washington Post:

Two Army analysts whose work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq -- the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets -- have received job performance awards in each of the past three years, officials said...

Pentagon spokesmen said the awards for the analysts were to recognize their overall contributions on the job over the course of each year. But some current and former officials, including those who called attention to the awards, said the episode shows how the administration has failed to hold people accountable for mistakes on prewar intelligence.

Despite sharp critiques from the president's commission and the Senate intelligence committee, no major reprimand or penalty has been announced publicly in connection with the intelligence failures, though investigations are still underway at the CIA. George J. Tenet resigned as CIA director but was later awarded the Medal of Freedom by Bush.

The president's commission urged the Bush administration to consider taking action against the agencies, and perhaps the individuals, responsible for the most serious errors in assessing Iraq's weapons program.

Washington lawyer Richard Ben-Veniste, who was a member of the Sept. 11 commission and whose government experience goes back to service as a Watergate prosecutor, said it is important for the administration to hold the intelligence community accountable for mistakes.

"It matters whether it was carelessness or tailoring [of intelligence], whether it was based on perceived wants of an administration or overt requests . . . It is time now to demonstrate the need for the integrity of the process," Ben-Veniste said.

So CIA Director George Tenet, the man who presided over the worst intelligence failure in U.S. history since Pearl Harbor, was given a Medal of Freedom. Paul Bremer, who created the post-war chaos in Iraq by spending lots of time trying to create a tax-free haven for free-wheeling capitalists but very little little time on security, was given a Medal of Freedom. General Ricardo Sanchez, top commander in Iraq who approved a variety of torture techniques to be used against prisoners being held at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq, has managed to avoid punishment for his role in the scandal while Army Reserve Brigadier General Janice Karpinski had her rank reduced to colonel. Now the analysts who cooked up some of the erroneous pre-Iraq war intelligence relating to the infamous "aluminum tubes" have been give job performance awards three years running.

Yet Bush wants to hold public school teachers accountable if their special education students don't perform as well on standardized tests as general education students?

Sheesh. You can't make this stuff up.

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