Allegations of public untruthfulness by Presidents -- often on important matters of state -- have been levelled at most Presidents. President Reagan faced accusations about his truthfulness regarding Iran-Contra. President Bush confronted similar charges, with The New York Times characterizing his statements on the subject as "incredible." President Johnson faced a "credibility gap" regarding his statements about the Viet Nam war. President Kennedy lied about the Bay of Pigs, and President Eisenhower lied about Gary Powers and the U2 incident. And many have suggested that Presidents Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt were less than fully candid about the prospective involvement of the United States in World Wars I and II. All of these alleged misstatements related to public policy. They denied the public and Congress an opportunity to exercise their democratic prerogative to affect those policies.
In a briefing for journalists reported on October 29, 2003, the director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency said satellite images showed a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria just before the American invasion in March 2003. Retired Air Force Lieutenant General James Clapper Jr. said he believed "unquestionably" that illicit weapons material was transported into Syria and perhaps other countries. He said "I think people below the Saddam- Hussein-and-his-sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse. ... I think probably in the few months running up to the onset of the conflict, I think there was probably an intensive effort to disperse into private hands, to bury it, and to move it outside the country's borders."
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph published on January 25, 2004, Dr. David Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group, said there was evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before the start of the war to overthrow Saddam. "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."
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