At least George Tenet is not telling a flat-out lie

Which is a difference between him and White House counselor Dan Bartlett.

Tenet, as mentioned earlier, would have better served his country (and his reputation) by speaking up more promptly about the Bush Administration’s failure ever to have a “serious debate” about whether it was worth invading Iraq.

But his failing was telling the truth too late — not offering, well, a lie like the one Bartlett just told (according to the AP) as part of the White House’s attempt to rebut Tenet:

“This president weighed all the various proposals, weighed all the various consequences before he did make a decision.”

I say plainly: that is a lie. To be precise about it, no account of the Administration’s deliberations, by anyone other than Bartlett just now, offers even the slightest evidence that this claim is true. Innumerable accounts offer ample evidence that it is false. I have asked this direct question to many interviewees who were in a position to know: was there ever such a meeting or discussion? The answer was always, No. The followup challenge to Bartlett should be: show us a memo, show us a policy paper, show us a scheduled meeting, show us notes taken at the time to substantiate the idea that the Administration ever seriously considered what the nation would gain or lose by invading Iraq, and what the alternatives might be. What the Administration actually considered, according to all known evidence, is how it would invade Iraq, and when.

As also mentioned earlier, I hate to sound harsh. But: come on, this is outrageous.