Monday, August 11, 2003

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire...

You know, I'm starting to think they just can't help it. They have a pathological compulsion to lie. It's not that they think they're doing anything wrong really, it's just that the facts keep getting in the way of the "truth." Facts or the "truth?" The "truth" or the facts. "Truth," facts, "truth" facts. Life in Washington is just so hard. First there's this:

IG Investigates Whether EPA Misled Public on Water Quality
The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general is investigating whether the agency is deliberately misleading the public by overstating the purity of the nation's drinking water, according to EPA officials and agency documents.
Seems the EPA was claiming that "94 percent of the population served by community water systems were served by systems that met all health-based standards," while the actual figure was "79 to 84 percent in 2002 -- putting an additional 30 million Americans at potential risk."

And then there was this....

White House Sway Is Seen in E.P.A. Response to 9/11

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 -- An investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general into official statements about air quality after the collapse of the World Trade Center has found that White House officials instructed the agency to be less alarming and more reassuring to the public in the first few days after the attack.
This is all about the EPA's almost immediate assurance to New Yorkers that the air was perfectly fine, even though they didn't have the information to support that. In fact, according to this report, EPA had originally intended to be much more cautious.

But the Inspector General got hold of EPA's original draft press release -- before the White House's Council on Environmental Quality got a look at it.
The report compares two news releases with their draft versions and concludes, "Every change that was suggested by the C.E.Q. contact was made."

The title for the original version of one news release was, "E.P.A. Initiating Emergency Response Activities, Testing Terrorized Sites For Environmental Hazards." In the final version, the second clause was changed to read, "Reassures Public About Environmental Hazards." In the same release, a section that said, "Even at low levels, E.P.A considers asbestos hazardous in this situation" was deleted and replaced with a section that read, in part, "Short-term, low-level exposure of the type that might have been produced by the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings is unlikely to cause significant health effects."
And then there was this unrelated article, except for the common theme of truth-challenged Administration officials...

Iraqi Trailers Said to Make Hydrogen, Not Biological Arms

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 -- Engineering experts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have come to believe that the most likely use for two mysterious trailers found in Iraq was to produce hydrogen for weather balloons rather than to make biological weapons, government officials say.

The classified findings by a majority of the engineering experts differ from the view put forward in a white paper made public on May 28 by the C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which said that the trailers were for making biological weapons.


The engineering team that has come to believe the trailers were used to produce hydrogen includes experts whose task was to assess the trailers from a purely technical standpoint, as opposed to one based on other sources of intelligence. Skeptical experts had previously cited a lack of equipment in the trailers for steam sterilization, normally a prerequisite for any kind of biological production.

Bush administration officials have said the most compelling information that the trailers were used for making biological weapons has come from a human source, an Iraqi scientist who described the trailers and what he said was their weapon-making role to American experts months before.
So what do we believe? They eyes of our experts or an Iraqi scientist seeking to curry favor with the Americans?

For those of you who follow the wild goose chase for Weapons of Mass Destruction know that the fact that these trailers made weather balloons and not anthrax was available way back in May. For more information, you can read all about it at Daily Kos.

For my purposes, I thought the following paragraph was the most significant:
Senior administration officials have said repeatedly that the White House has not put pressure on the intelligence community in any way on the content of its white paper, or on the timing of its release.
No, of course not. Why would anyone ever suggest that the White House would put pressure on any agencies to hide truth or lie?