http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/331qbked.asp Saddam's Nukes? Does Carl Levin know something the rest of us don't? by Stephen F. Hayes 11/08/2005 7:25:00 PM DOES SENATOR CARL LEVIN believe that Saddam Hussein had nukes? Levin, the second ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is leading the charge against the White House for manipulating intelligence on Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaeda. He has been dogged and ruthless, focusing his criticism on two areas of the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq: the connection between Iraq and al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program. Levin claims that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence in both areas to frighten the American public into supporting a war of choice. Which is why Levin's latest claim is so startling. On Monday, Levin appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC and made the following declaration: "There was plenty of evidence that Saddam had nuclear weapons, by the way. That is not in dispute. There is plenty of evidence of that." Really? I'd like to see it. (The transcript is here and the video can be viewed on the Hardball main page, here. Levin also criticized the Bush administration for deciding to remove Saddam Hussein shortly after 9/11. It is a curious charge. On December 16, 2001, in an appearance on CNN, Levin himself called for regime change in Iraq. Levin would not say whether he supported making Hussein's Iraq the "next target" after Afghanistan, but he did say this: "The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as he [Saddam Hussein] is in power." Here then, is the relevant portion of Monday night's exchange: MATTHEWS: Senator Levin, from what I can figure, our audience on HARDBALL is a pretty mixed bag of conservatives, liberals and middle-of- the-roaders. That shifts of course. But, there are a lot of people out there who have different views than you, or me, or anybody else on this war. I just wondered, analytically, how would you best describe the manner in which the vice president and his people and others in the administration looked at this intel? That you've just described. What was it, selective use? Was it a skewed use of it? Was it a worst-case scenario? Was it deliberate lying? LEVIN: I think they ignored the intelligence that did not support their decision to go to war, basically. They were looking for those snippets of intelligence that would support their decision to go to war. That is basically what their signal was. I believe the intelligence community. The intelligence community then provided some distorted intelligence on a lot of things. But, that's not what the issue is that I raise this weekend. This is where the intelligence community was right and they ignored the intelligence community. Not where the intelligence community was wrong, which was plenty of times. There are instance after instance after instance where the intelligence community was right or divided, where the administration, for reasons to, obvious to create an impression that they wanted the American people to believe, where they did not use what the intelligence community had found or decided. MATTHEWS: What came first do you believe, Senator? Their desire to go to war or the way they looked at the evidence? LEVIN: I think basically they decided immediately after 9/11 to go after Saddam. They began to--look there was plenty of evidence that Saddam had nuclear weapons, by the way. That is not in dispute. There is plenty of evidence of that.