DNI nominee Clapper unlikely to be called out on WMD issue.
Theoretically, the confirmation hearings for proposed DNI James Clapper could be an opportunity for fireworks… only not in the way that one would think. It turns out that he’s a potential lightning rod for criticism from the Left:
President Obama’s choice to be the next director of national intelligence supported the view that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq sent weapons and documents to Syria in the weeks before the 2003 U.S. invasion.
On Iraq, Gen. Clapper said in an interview with The Washington Times in 2004 that “I think probably in the few months running up prior to the onset of combat that … there was probably an intensive effort to disperse into private homes, move documentation and materials out of the country. I think there are any number of things that they would have done.”
This view was also reported in the New York Times at the… time, and there is some suggestion that the investigation over whether Iraqi WMD materials were moved to fellow Baathist state Syria is quietly ongoing (H/T Instapundit). Clapper’s original position on this matter has not to the best of my knowledge been clarified, repudiated, or corrected – so there is the possibility for some interesting questions being raised at his confirmation hearing.
I used the words ‘theoretically,’ ‘potential,’ and ‘possibility’ because there is very little chance that any of it will come up. The Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee will not be particularly interested in embarrassing Clapper by asking him whether he still takes such a commonsensical position as that – he might be required to now lie and say ‘no,’ after all – and the Democratic members don’t have the nerve to take the progressives’ side against the President’s. Which is nicely symmetrical, because the major progressive groups don’t have the nerve to make them.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.