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Sam Husseini Questions House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

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QUESTION [Sam Husseini]: Ms. Pelosi, this is you on “Meet the Press” on November 17th, 2002, quote: “Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that.”

Wasn’t it your job to ask questions about that? And doesn’t that make you a rather weak person, in contrast to some of your colleagues in the House — in the Democratic House — who did ask those questions as the Bush administration pushed towards war, that you said, quote, “Saddam Hussein certainly has –”

PELOSI: I heard your question.

QUESTION: “– chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that,” and none have been found?

PELOSI: That was the evidence is that Saddam Hussein had had chemical and biological weapons and he used them. However, that was when they were asking about nuclear, and I said there was no evidence of any nuclear weapons.

In fact, thank you for bringing up this question, because you give me an opportunity to say that, as the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee in the debate leading up to the vote, I said that the intelligence does not support the threat that the administration is putting forth in Iraq, and that while there may be chemical and biological weapons, because they’re rampant in the region, there was no imminent threat that would justify our going to war; that we had not exhausted all of our remedies.

PELOSI: I want to also announce that my colleague on the Intelligence Committee, Congresswoman Jane Harman, the senior Democrat, will be making a speech, I think, noon in California to the World Affairs Council. They are questioning the national intelligence estimate and the intelligence going into the war.

But I voted against the war because I said the intelligence did not support the threat. Sixty percent of the House Democrats voted against the war. And that is my response to your question.

QUESTION: I’d just like to clarify, please, are you still not conceding that this is a false statement, to this day, that “Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons, there’s no question about that?” Are you not conceding that that’s a false statement?

PELOSI: The point is is there an imminent threat to the United States? Is there a nuclear plume? What I was responding to there is that the intelligence did not support the threat. And while you might concede that in the region there was programs to develop chemical and biological, there was no reason to go to war and we had not.

Now that is my response. If you want to ask it three times, that’s up to the audience if they want –

MODERATOR: Thank you sir. Let’s go to the next question please.

Original Publication: National Press Club