[See me previous post: About those Saddam Tapes.] I spotted Byron York of National Review several rows behind me at the public release of the so-called "Saddam Tapes." York's report on the event doesn't say anything about the tapes though--choosing as he did to focus on Tierney's religious remarks. York makes him out to be a religious nut.
First, there's a certain irony here, since conservatives are known to be friendly to people of the faith --and here a conservative mag is the first to bash Tierney on a religious level after the tapes summit.
Secondly, York is wrong when he portrays Tierney as believing Stephen Hatfill was a proxy for Iraq and guilty of the anthrax attacks. Tierney said the exact opposite in his presentation. Where York (and Tierney) tripped up was when a Brit reporter asked a series of questions, the last one being about Hatfill, and Tierney answered "Yes." It seemed to me at the time Tierney hadn't 'swallowed' all the reporters questions and erroneously answered only the first part of the question without addressing the Hatfill part. That's why I asked him in an interview to reiterate his initial statements on Hatfill, for clarity.
[AUDIO: Click here to hear Tierney talk about how Hatfill was innocent. Recorded at the Intel Summit. ]
Also- York seems to be poking fun at Tierney for believing Iraq was also involved in the Oklahoma City bombings, but fails to note Tierney's references to television reporter Jayna Davis' book, The Third Terrorist, which came to that conclusion and which Tierney recommended to conference-goers. That said, it seemed astonishing that Tierney would conclude the tape presentation with these allegations of Iraq being behind all sorts of other disasters when nothing on the tapes supported that conclusion.
Also- regarding York's religious nut charge --evidence and ideas are independent of their source. An evaluation (however accurate or inaccurate) of a source does not equate to an evaluation of evidence or ideas presented.
Another observation: It's likely Tierney believes he is "giving God the glory" (e.g. credit) and "testifying to God's power" when he spoke to myself and York out about his alleged spiritual experiences. It does make you wonder exactly what is Tierney's belief system and how did it affect his government service. Does Tierney has any idea just how much potential controversy his statements can raise?
I can just see the TV interview: "Mr. Tierney, has God been speaking to you? What's he been saying to you, Mr. Tierney?" And most explosively, "Did you file WMD reports to any government official, through official or unofficial (stovepipe) channels, based in any way on dreams, visions, or other mystical/supernatural experiences you've claimed to have had?"
It also will raise questions as to whether Tierney supports Bush staunchly as many evangelicals do, and if his political 'faith' also influenced his judgment -or perhaps his expectations of what he would find. Did his faith bias him?
What is an "Acts Christian" as Tierney calls himself? A charismatic? Charismatics are known to get way out there with alleged spiritual impulses -kinda like an astronaut who's cut his line loose and can't tell north from south, east from west. They're notorious for thoroughly confusing subjective impulse and stray electrical bric-a-brac which spark and leap across the neural networks with supernatural truth. Was it God speaking or last night's pastrami sandwich?
Tierney did make comments to me about his religious beliefs in an interview at the summit, including the fact he has a book deal -the book tentatively titled "My High Tower." Said Tierney: "'My High Tower' comes from the book of Psalms where David refers to God as his high tower. It's not talking about fortress, but from a high tower [unintelligible] can see the enemy coming. God's my intel system. God impressed that verse on me when I was at CENTCOM and it made a massive difference. One of the reasons I'm here today."