Suskind’s Sources Deny Book’s Forgery Charge; Suskind Has Sources On Tape?

Last night Countdown read statements from Ron Suskind’s two main named sources for the charge in his new book that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter from Iraq’s intelligence chief to Saddam Hussein. Rob Richer, the former head of the CIA’s Near East Division, spoke for both himself and John Maguire:

“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.

Further, today, I talked with John Maguire, who has given me the permission to state the following on his behalf, ‘I never receive any instruction from then Chief/NE Rob Richer or any other officer in my chain of command instructing me to fabricate such a letter. Further, I have no knowledge to the origins of the letter and as to how it circulated in Iraq.”

And here’s some of Suskind’s response:

OLBERMANN: Why do you believe they‘re backtracking now?…

SUSKIND: You know, I‘m sympathetic in a way to all these guys. They‘re under acute pressure. They‘re individuals. They‘ve got to feed their families. They really survive off the government, both of them, they‘re contractors and whatnot…

[T]hey may still stand up—and Maguire, I think, will still stand up in daylight…

You know, these guys, though, are feeling now great pressure. And, you know, what you realize in this process is that there is a limit to what a journalist can do even with taped interviews, people talking for hours at a time, when they can be brought into a moment of crisis by the government saying, “You‘ll never work again, you‘ll never earn a living.” That‘s the kind of thing that mostly happens in terms of what congressional hearings do testimony under subpoena with threat of perjury.

OLBERMANN: Well—and that‘s what we need. But in the interview, I presume the Maguire and Richer interviews are on tape, is that right?

SUSKIND: You bet, yes. And there‘s a lot of them. They‘re very detailed.

The obvious questions now are whether Suskind will release any of his interview tapes, and whether there will be any congressional investigation with witnesses testifying under oath.