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Bush's Secret Iraq Deal

Scott Shane writes for the New York Times: "Republicans on the committee sharply dissented from some of its findings and attached a detailed minority report that listed pre-war statements by Mr. Rockefeller and other Democrats describing the threat posed by Iraq.

"'The report released today was a waste of committee time and resources that should have been spent overseeing the intelligence community,' said the minority report, signed by Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, the committee's top Republican, and three Republican colleagues.

"A second committee report, also made public on Thursday, detailed a series of clandestine meetings between Pentagon officials and Iranian dissidents in Rome and Paris in 2001 and 2003. It accused Steven Hadley, now the national security advisor, and Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defense secretary, of failing to properly inform the intelligence agencies and the State Department about the meetings."

Poll Watch

CBS News reports: "President Bush's approval rating is at its lowest level to date. Just 25 percent of Americans approve of the overall job Mr. Bush is doing as President, an all-time low for him and among the lowest approval ratings ever recorded for a President.

"Sixty-seven percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing - the highest such figure in CBS News polls since he assumed office.

"Only Presidents Nixon (24 percent) and Truman (22 percent) have seen polls showing job approval ratings lower than 25 percent during their presidencies, according to Gallup Polls. President Carter's all-time low was 26 percent."

The CBS number for Bush is the lowest yet for the major polls.

Bush Pushed?

I wrote in yesterday's column that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was expected to use his White House visit to push Bush to take a more aggressive approach toward Iran.

Apparently the two leaders agree on something. Roni Sofer writes for ynetnews.com: "'The strategic alliance between Israel and the US has grown stronger amid the Iranian threat," a member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's delegation said Thursday, adding that the countries agreed to cooperate in case of an attack by the Islamic Republic. . . .

"The meetings focused on 'operational matters' pertaining to the Iranian threat, officials said.

"Following the meetings it was determined that the Americans would work toward equipping Israel with F-35 fighter jets and possibly F-22 warplanes as well."

At a brief joint photo op, Bush said: "[W]e're going to spend a lot of time talking about Iran. Iran is an existential threat to peace, and very important for the world to take the Iranian threat seriously, which the United States does, as the Prime Minister will tell you."


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