Republicans “Misfire” on Ben Rhodes Hearing

May 18, 2016
Press Release

Republicans “Misfire” on Ben Rhodes Hearing


Yesterday, Oversight Committee Chairman Chaffetz rushed to hold a hearing on Republican accusations that White House advisor Ben Rhodes sold a false narrative to the American people about the Iran nuclear agreement.  Ironically, Chaffetz’s star witness at the hearing was John Hannah – Vice President Dick Cheney’s top national security adviser who, as Cummings stated, “wrote the ‘how-to’ manual” on pushing a false White House narrative about weapons of mass destruction.  In fact, Hannah admitted under oath yesterday that the Bush Administration’s goal in the run-up to the Iraq war was to “pick out” the intelligence that “made the strongest case that in fact Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction.” 


“I do think the Administration was right.  If this were a Republican Administration, you would not want the Congress compelling an adviser to give the advice in public.  That’s well-known.  That’s well-practiced. Which is why I think the entire exercise was a bit of a misfire on the part of the Republicans. It was obvious they were not going to allow him to testify…I don’t think they should have attempted this…It was turned by Democrats into a re-trial revisiting of the Iraq war, which is not to the GOP’s advantage.”

            Charles Krauthammer, FOX News  5/17/16


“A top House Democrat on Tuesday defended President Obama’s deputy national security adviser from Republican accusations that he worked to spin a false story about the Iran nuclear agreement in order to get it through Congress, and charged the GOP with hypocrisy for inviting a former Bush administration official who helped build the case for the invasion of Iraq.”

           Washington Examiner, 5/17/16


“Republicans wanted to make a Tuesday hearing in the House all about how White House messaging guru Ben Rhodes, who refused to testify, supposedly sold a false narrative about the Iran nuclear deal. Instead, Democrats used the presence of another witness, former Bush administration official John Hannah, to hammer the Bush administration for allegedly peddling a false narrative about the Iraq War. The Iran-Iraq showdown in the House Oversight Committee probably wasn't what GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz intended when he arranged the session.”

            Politico, 5/17/16


“House Republicans thought this guy would offer expert testimony on President Obama’s team using misleading information to sell a controversy foreign policy? Did GOP lawmakers give this any thought at all? Of course, the broader point is a discouraging truth, which the establishment has struggled for years to accept: the Bush/Cheney architects of a disastrous war have no credibility. They’ve earned the public’s scorn. To treat them as knowledgeable experts who can shed valuable light on matters related to national security, U.S. policy in the Middle East, and public-information campaigns is painfully ridiculous.”

            Steve Benen, MSNBC 5/18/16


“[O]ne of the three witnesses has plenty of experience in planting "false narratives:" John Hannah, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who played a key role in promoting the flawed intelligence behind the invasion of Iraq. Corn wrote that "Hannah was one of the architects of the speech then-Secretary of State Colin Powell gave to the United Nations in February 2003 that was designed to pave the way to war."

Mother Jones, 5/17/16


“Episode 21,619 of people who shouldn’t be asked to comment on anything about anything ever again. His name is John Hannah. … In a sane world, it would be surprising if this guy were called forth. Consider the fact he was one of the more prominent behind-the-scenes sources for a bogus Republican narrative on Saddam Hussein’s alleged connections to al Queda and anti-U.S. terrorism in the propaganda-filled months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But, in case you were wondering, we don’t live in a sane world.”

Daily Kos, 5/16/16


“[Hannah]’s a senior official at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconish outfit that opposed the Iran deal. But more relevant—or awkward—he's a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was deeply involved in the Bush-Cheney administration's use of bogus intelligence to sell the Iraq War. … The draft of Powell’s speech that Hannah so avidly defended was eventually circular-filed, and the speech the secretary gave was based on a National Intelligence Estimate that itself turned out to be based on bad information. But the version Hannah had backed had been far worse.”

Mother Jones, 5/16/16

114th Congress