"... Al Qaeda was forcing local affiliates (or at least its Iraqi one) to sustain themselves financially. If local groups must make their own money, governments and counterterror operatives can use Al Qaeda’s need to raise money - often using illicit means and pressure against local citizens - against the organization. That kind of counterterrorism would look less like war, and more like careful police work against what amounts to a criminal syndicate or mafia." [Inside Al Qaeda’s hard drives
Senate Intelligence Committee Unveils Final Phase II Reports on Prewar Iraq Intelligence. Phase II Report on Public Statements [PDF]
and Phase II Report on DoD Policy Office [PDF]
. This may come as a shock, but most of what the Bush Administration said about Iraq wasn't true. Republican co-chair Bond, Kit Bond, says
the reports are "political theatre." [more inside]
Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted.
A newly declassified report
(PDF) by the Pentagon's inspector general claims that Iraq was not working with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion and that the intelligence was manipulated
by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith
. On the same day as the report came out, Dick Cheney claimed that they did have a relationship
via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
. Zarqawi may be dead, but he's still useful
. [Via TalkLeft.]
What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA:
She was the chief of operations of the CIA's Joint Task Force on Iraq, in charge of gathering information on Iraq's supposed WMD programs, according to a new article in The Nation
based on David Corn and Michael Isikoff's new book, Hubris
. On his weblog
, David Corn says, "She was an undercover officer in charge of running critical covert operations." Also, in the summer of 2001, "word came down from the brass: We're ramping up on Iraq."
“You are not to use electronic communication or even land lines when communicating.”
Remember the Millennium Challenge '02
wargames (previously discussed here
)? To refresh your memory, Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper (ret.), playing the part of the enemy, sank half the American fleet using a host of unconventional tactics including using motorcycle messengers to avoid radio interception. The embarrassed Pentagon game masters restarted the game & forced Van Riper to use more conventional tactics that guaranteed a win by the Good Guys.
Well it looks like the Iraqi insurgents have picked up a play from Van Riper's book. Flyers are being distributed throughout Iraq urging fighters to stop using cellphones, landline phones & the Internet for communications because the US Army is intercepting them & tracking down the rebel cells. Score one for open source warfare
Newsfilter: CIA director Porter Goss resigns.
After taking some of the
heat for bad intelligence in the months before 9/11, Cheney's "cat's paw"
finally gets out of the kitchen.
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on
in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs
, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence
to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
"It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began."
As part of the administration's "campaign-style" strategy
against criticism of the decision to invade Iraq, President Bush's Veteran's Day speech
, which is basically the same speech
he gave last month, does a little history-rewriting of its own. The president said that "a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs," and that Democrats "had access to the same intelligence." Neither assertion is wholly accurate.
Newsfilter: The NYTimes is reporting that
the Democrats forced Congress into a closed session last week
(previous MeFi discussion here
) because of a recently declassified memo citing concerns by intelligence agencies over the source of information used to justify the Iraq war. Turns out the White House had been informed
their source couldn't be trusted to tell the truth and were probably fabricating evidence. Knowing this, the Bush administration still presented the stories as absolute truth. The memo was apparently ignored. Of course, the administration has ignored important memos before.
This new evidence probably invalidates the conclusions
(pdf) drawn by the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the Intelligence Community's pre-war work on Iraq.
Condi Rice and pre-war intel hype
The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, explained on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002. "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.
Are these women
right to be angry with the Bush administration?
As the verdict of Butler
into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, draws near in
Britain, a senior intelligence source reveals
took the "rare step" of withdrawing the intelligence
that underpinned the claim that Saddam had continued to produce WMD (an
admission that such information was fundamentally unreliable), however Blair did not
tell the public "that the
evidence of WMD was crumbling beneath him"
. [Watch the Panorama
programme in question here for 7 days from 11-7-2004
The Dossier that Lord Hutton declared was not sexed-up
senior BBC resignations), Dr Brian Jones (former head of the nuclear, chemical and
biological branch of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Intelligence Staff) says was
sexed-up, and details exactly how
"A Temporary Coup"
-- after a brief commercial, read Salon's interview with CIA historian Thomas Powers, who wrote The Trouble with the CIA
and The Failure
previously for the NYRB, and herein relates a tale of terror and truly Byzantine
At least four times in the fall of 2002, the president and his advisers invoked the specter of a "mushroom cloud," and some of them, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, described Iraq's nuclear ambitions as a threat to the American homeland... Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group, overseen by David Kay as special representative of CIA Director George J. Tenet, are that Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use.
So in regards to Iraq's possession of the one weapon we can be certain causes mass destruction: the atomic bomb
, as Gregg Easterbrook
put it, the verdict is the unsurprising (and unsurprisingly closely held
) nope, not, zero, zip, nada...
So, how to explain the incorrect allegations about Iraqi WMD? Lies? Self-interest? Ideology? Clerical error
$20,000 bonus to official who agreed on nuke claim A former Energy Department intelligence chief who agreed with the White House claim that Iraq had reconstituted its defunct nuclear-arms program was awarded a total of $20,500 in bonuses during the build-up to the war, WorldNetDaily has learned...His officers argued at a pre-briefing at Energy headquarters that there was no hard evidence to support the alarming Iraq nuclear charge, and asked to join State Department's dissenting opinion, Energy officials say. Rider ordered them to "shut up and sit down," according to sources familiar with the meeting.
GOP Warns TV Stations Not to Air Ad Alleging Bush Mislead the Nation Over Iraq
They claim that the ad itself
is dishonest, and cite the obligation of broadcast outlets to be free of misleading information. “Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.”
Despite the implicit threats, only one station has refused to run the ad, a Fox station.
The First Casualty.
The New Republic is one of the few left-leaning political journals who supported the war on Iraq. Now it seems like they've come to their senses and have written a very exhaustive story on how exactly Team Bush manipulated evidence to support the war on Iraq: "Rather, interviews with current and former intelligence officials and other experts reveal that the Bush administration culled from U.S. intelligence those assessments that supported its position and omitted those that did not. The administration ignored, and even suppressed, disagreement within the intelligence agencies and pressured the CIA to reaffirm its preferred version of the Iraqi threat. Similarly, it stonewalled, and sought to discredit, international weapons inspectors when their findings threatened to undermine the case for war."
At first, it appeared that the effort to begin a public probe into the manipulation of intelligence that formed the foundation of the case for the Iraq war was shaking out as bipartisan, with John Warner, and eventually John McCain
on board. Each day we would hear of another Senator or Representative pushing harder for an open review of exactly who pulled which string. It only took a few minutes this morning for all of that momentum to cease
to exist. ...
Dissent in the ranks.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell was under persistent pressure from the Pentagon and White House to include questionable intelligence in his report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction he delivered at the United Nations last February, source: US News and World Report Magazine
. According to the report
, the draft contained such questionable material that Powell lost his temper, throwing several pages in the air and declaring, "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."
Intelligence expert does new kind of spin
(as in the 180 degree kind). Intelligence expert (and former National Security Advisor) Kenneth Pollack appeared on NPR
[scroll to 3rd entry for full audio] to retract statements that he made on the same show
Pollack seems to be the first major wonk to call change his mind not on a single, tangible intelligence claim, but on the broader rationale for war in Iraq, and on the reliability of American intelligence in general.
Osama Bin Laden Link To Iraq
found by a Toronto Star reporter, Mitch Potter. "The documents, discovered yesterday in the bombed-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's most feared intelligence service, amount to the first hard evidence of a link long suspected by the United States but dismissed as fiction by many Western leaders." [more]
Three giant cargo ships
are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The ships have been sailing around the world's oceans for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in clear violation of international maritime law.