Tags: She | Devil

I Never Called Hillary 'She Devil', Chris Matthews Says

By    |   Sunday, 31 August 2008 06:14 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. CIA Denies Claims in Ron Suskind's Book
2. Democrats Could Boot Lieberman
3. Poll: Most American Would Back a Strike on Iran
4. I Never Called Hillary 'She Devil,' Chris Matthews Says
5. Democrats in Israel Angry Over N.Y. Pol's Support for Huckabee
6. We Heard: John Edwards, Barack Obama, Michael Dukakis

1. CIA Denies Claims in Ron Suskind's Book

The Central Intelligence Agency has issued a sharply worded statement denying claims in Ron Suskind's new book that it says "malign" the agency.

In "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism," Suskind alleges that President Bush ordered the CIA to forge a letter to demonstrate a link between Iraq and al-Qaida in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The statement from George Little of the CIA Office of Public Affairs reads: "In his book, ‘The Way of the World,' author Ron Suskind makes some serious charges about the CIA and Iraq.

"As agency officers, current and former, have made clear, those charges are false. More than that, they are not in keeping with the way CIA works. In fact, they are profoundly offensive to the men and women who serve here, as they should be to all Americans.

"Suskind claims that, in September 2003, the White House ordered then-Director George Tenet to fabricate a letter describing a level of cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida that simply did not exist. The White House has denied making that request, and Director Tenet has denied receiving it. The former agency officers Suskind cites in his narrative have, for their part, publicly denied being asked to carry out such a mission.

"Those denials are powerful in and of themselves. But they are also backed by a thorough, time-consuming records search within CIA and by interviews with other officers — senior and junior alike — who were directly involved in Iraq operations.

"To assert, as Suskind does, that the White House would request such a document, and that the agency would accept such a task, says something about him and nothing about us. It did not happen. Moreover, as the public record shows, CIA had concluded — and conveyed to our customers — that the ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida were not as close as some believed.

"While recounting his tale, Suskind has accused the agency of violating the National Security Act. That basic law specifically prohibits covert actions ‘intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.' CIA knows and respects the legal framework within which our democracy conducts intelligence activities.

"To state what should be obvious, it is not the policy or practice of this agency to violate American law.

"If that were not enough, Suskind also alleges that the United States knew before the start of hostilities with Iraq that Saddam Hussein had no stockpiles of WMD. That, too, is both false and wrong.

"False because the Intelligence Community assessed that Saddam Hussein had such weapons.

"Wrong because it implies the Community chose to ignore information of which it was genuinely convinced. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nor did CIA pay or resettle Tahir Habbush, Saddam Hussein's intelligence chief. That conclusion comes from a review of our files and checks with our officers. Indeed, our government considers Habbush to be a wanted man.

"Two former senior British intelligence officers have also released statements taking issue with Suskind. They each describe his work as ‘misleading.' CIA has made its own inquiries overseas and no one — no individual and no intelligence service — has substantiated Suskind's account of Habbush or the bogus letter. At this point, the origins of the forgery, like the whereabouts of Habbush himself, remain unclear. But this much is certain: Suskind is off the mark.

"Intelligence is a difficult profession. We are typically called upon to uncover information that the enemies of our country are most eager to conceal.

When we fall short in that tough mission, we acknowledge our errors and learn from them. We are accustomed to criticism. But Suskind goes well beyond rational critique. Frankly, those he maligns with his book deserve far better."

Editor's Note:

2. Democrats Could Boot Lieberman

Democrats angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman's support for Republican John McCain are likely to strip him of his committee leadership if they gain several seats in the November election.

Delegates from Lieberman's home state Connecticut demanded during the Democratic Convention that party leaders punish Lieberman, who plans to speak at the upcoming GOP convention and was even said to be on McCain's "short list" of potential running mates.

"He's a traitor to his party," declared Jennifer Just, a delegate from Woodbridge, Conn.

Lieberman successfully ran as an Independent in 2006 after losing the Democratic primary, but he still sits in on Democratic caucus meetings.

Democrats have been reluctant to punish Lieberman for several reasons, The Hill newspaper reports.

For one thing, he has reportedly given more than $200,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to help Democratic Senate candidates win election this fall.

More significantly, if he caucused with the Republicans instead of the Democrats there would be a 50-50 split in the Senate and Vice President Dick Cheney would tip the balance of power to the GOP through his tie-breaking votes, The Hill noted.

Plus, Lieberman heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and sits on the powerful Armed Services Committee because of his association with the Democratic Conference.

However, the Congressional Quarterly predicts that Democrats could pick up five or six seats in November, and if that is the case, the party won't need Lieberman's vote to hold a majority.

"I can't wait until we expand our majority in the Senate so he can be stripped of his committee," said delegate Just.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Democrats "won't need him to make the majority. And it will be interesting to see what the leadership in the Senate, the Democratic leadership in the Senate, does at that point in terms of Joe Lieberman's chairmanship of his committee."

Lieberman's fellow Connecticut senator, Chris Dodd, said that while Lieberman agrees with McCain's policy on the Iraq war, he otherwise agrees with Democrats on "95 percent" of issues.

Editor's Note:

3. Poll: Most Americans Would Back a Strike on Iran

More than 6 in 10 Americans — 63 percent — say they would approve of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to solve the Iranian nuclear crisis, a new poll reveals.

Somewhat fewer, 55 percent, would approve of a strike on Iran by the U.S. and its allies, according to the poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

A solid 80 percent of those polled said Iran would likely use nuclear weapons if it acquired them.

Also, 87 percent of American voters believe a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to the U.S.

Americans worry about the direct threat to Israel from Iran "and fear Iran's potential to share nuclear technology with terrorist groups," Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research told the Jerusalem Post.

However, 62 percent of respondents feel it is still possible to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

That is the approach the Bush administration currently favors.

"Everyone from this White House, including the vice president's office, is in agreement that the military action is not the best option at this point, and we should pursue diplomatic and economic pressures," an American official told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.

But Ignatius added that if the diplomatic track does not work, "and there are no signs yet that Tehran is willing to bend, all the deadly options will remain on the table."

Editor's Note:

4. I Never Called Hillary 'She Devil,' Chris Matthews Says

There's no doubt that "Hardball" host Chris Matthews used the expression "she devil" when talking about Hillary Clinton — but he insists he never called her that.

On the Nov. 18 telecast of the NBC-syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," the host discussed Republican attacks on Hillary, who was then the Democratic presidential front-runner.

"She devil?" he said, "Republicans are absolutely demonizing Hillary Clinton."

While he spoke, an image of Hillary appeared on screen with the words "She Devil?" below it. Later, an image of Clinton with devil horns appeared on screen.

Paul Bedard observed in U.S. News & World Report's "Washington Whispers" column that Matthews, who has been mulling a run for the Senate in 2010, was "concerned he ruined it with the women vote."

But Matthews now tells Bedard: "I never called her a she devil . . . You can see it is where we introduce the topics to the show."

He claims Media Matters for America took the expression out of context.

"This stuff has been cooked up," he said.

Media Matters spokesman J. Jioni Palmer retorted that Matthews has a pattern of "sexist comments."

Matthews' mouth got him into trouble back in February 2007 when he used "the f-word" while referring to President Bush's ranch during an appearance on the "Imus in the Morning" show.

This past January he stirred up protests when he said the reason Hillary was a senator and candidate for president "is that her husband messed around."

Feminist leader Gloria Steinem and the heads of four prominent women's groups complained in a letter to his boss that Matthews had shown a pattern of sexism.

Editor's Note:

5. Democrats in Israel Angry Over N.Y. Pol's Support for Huckabee

Democrats living in Israel have criticized longtime New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind for crossing party lines to express support for Republican Mike Huckabee.

At a recent press conference in Jerusalem, Democrat Hikind jokingly announced that he endorsed Huckabee for president, and Huckabee said he wished he enjoyed such support from more Republicans, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Joanne Yaron, chairwoman of Democrats Abroad Israel, said she is puzzled by the ties between Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, and Hikind, a former follower of Jewish extremist Meir Kahane.

Hikind — who represents a Brooklyn district with a large population of Orthodox Jews — has said he has "no regrets" regarding his involvement with Kahane, according to Haaretz. An Orthodox Jew himself, Hikind took office in 1983 and hosts a weekly radio program.

Hikind and Huckabee visited Israel at the invitation of the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a foundation working to move Jews into Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter.

Hikind said at the press conference that while "everyone says Jerusalem shouldn't be divided," Huckabee is the only one "who really means it."

This is not the first time Hikind has broken ranks with Democrats. He supported Republican George Pataki for governor in New York, and George W. Bush for president.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT John Edwards' admission that he had an extramarital affair damaged a Texas congressman's chances of becoming Barack Obama's running mate on the Democratic ticket.

Rep. Chet Edwards — no relation to John — was on Obama's "short list" of potential vice presidential candidates up until the time Edwards confirmed a tabloid's report that he had an affair with videographer Rielle Hunter, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Chet Edwards said, "I would have to think that a bumper sticker that said, ‘Obama/The Other Edwards' might have been a bit difficult."

THAT Barack Obama risked alienating Chicago Cubs fans when he questioned their enthusiasm for the team at its home park, Wrigley Field.

Asked who he would root for if the Cubs faced their rivals from Chicago‘s South Side, the White Sox, in the World Series, Obama said: "Oh, that's easy. White Sox . . . You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. South Side."

THAT Michael Dukakis has "apologized" for losing the 1988 presidential race to George H.W. Bush, saying if he'd won, George W. Bush would never have been elected president.

During an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric on Tuesday, Dukakis said: "Look, I owe the American people an apology. If I had beaten the old man you [would have] never heard of the kid and you wouldn't be in this mess. So it's all my fault and I feel that very, very strongly."

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. CIA Denies Claims in Ron Suskind's Book2. Democrats Could Boot Lieberman3. Poll: Most American Would Back a Strike on Iran4. I Never Called Hillary 'She Devil,' Chris Matthews Says 5. Democrats in Israel Angry Over N.Y. Pol's...
Sunday, 31 August 2008 06:14 PM
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