Suskind: Sources of WH forgery claim now under pressure to deny it
Author Ron Suskind says his sources are under "enormous pressure" to change their stories after revealing to him that the Bush administration had ordered the CIA to forge a letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence connecting Iraq to the 9/11 hijackers.
On Tuesday, former CIA official Robert Richer, who is one of Suskind's sources, sent a statement to news outlets in which he wrote, "I never received direction from George Tenet or anyone else in my chain of command to fabricate a document from Habbush as outlined in Mr. Suskind's book."
Richer's statement also quoted Suskind's other source, former CIA officer John Maguire, as saying, "I have no knowledge to the origins of the letter."
Suskind told NBC's Meredith Vieira on Wednesday morning, "It's interesting. ... Rob Richer talked to me, and actually other reporters too, yesterday morning. He was fine, he'd gotten the book Monday night, read it. And then something happened yesterday afternoon."
"It's one of these instances where you've got a few people whose testimony could mean the impeachment, ostensibly, of the president," Suskind explained. "It's enormous pressure on both men."
Suskind had appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann the previous evening, where he had explained, "They've got to feed their families. They really survive off the government, they're contractors, both of them. ... They can be brought into a moment of crisis by the government saying, 'You'll never work again.'"
Suskind insisted to Vieira, however, that "I'm actually not concerned," telling her, "I've spent a lot of time with them. Their interviews are taped. ... They talked to me at length, hour after hour ... and all of that is on the record."
Suskind emphasized to Olbermann that "Maguire, I think, will still stand up in daylight." He noted that Maguire recently said he understands why the first and second amendments appear in that order, because "the first amendment is the most important amendment. If they take that one away, then you should start loading your weapons."
Suskind suggested to both Olbermann and Vieira that what is really needed is Congressional hearings with testimony under oath. He revealed on Wednesday morning that "there are folks in Congress calling. ... They want people under oath ... with threat of perjury."
"They're good guys," Suskind said in concluding his interview with Vieira.
"Maguire's sent me things about truth and the power of truth. He's a believer in that. I think Richer is too. And we'll see how it unfolds."
This video is from NBC's Today Show, broadcast August 6, 2008.
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast August 5, 2008.