Top U.S. officials – led by President George W. Bush – lied 935 times in a two-year period leading up to the Iraq war, a study released Wednesday found.
Bush was the chief of misstatement, with 260 lies -- about weapons of mass destruction and links to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, trailed by then-secretary of state Colin Powell with 254, claimed the study, conducted by the Center for Public Integrity.
Founder Charles Lewis and researchers helping him write a forthcoming book released a statement saying they identified "935 false statements by eight top administration officials that mentioned Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, or links to Al-Qaeda, on at least 532 separate occasions" ahead of the March 18, 2003 invasion of Iraq.
With the fifth anniversary of the war looming, the center underscored that its work calls into question "the repeated assertions of Bush administration officials that they were merely the unwitting victims of bad intelligence."
Among those who made the false statements: Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleisher and Scott McClellan, the study said.
"This is a report like no other, which calls into question more than 900 false statements that were the underpinnings of the administration's case for war," argued the CIJ's Executive Director Bill Buzenberg.
The CIJ maintains that "Bush and seven of his administration's top officials methodically propagated erroneous information over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001."
"These false statements dramatically increased in August 2002, just prior to congressional consideration of a war resolution and during the critical weeks in early 2003 when the president delivered his State of the Union address and Powell delivered his memorable presentation to the U.N. Security Council," the CIJ added.