The new documents also raise the possibility that caveats raised by intelligence analysts about al-Libi’s claims were withheld from Powell when he was preparing his Security Council speech. Larry Wilkerson, who served as Powell’s chief of staff and oversaw the vetting of Powell’s speech, responded to an e-mail from NEWSWEEK Wednesday stating that he was unaware of the DIA doubts about al-Libi at the time the speech was being prepared. “We never got any dissent with respect to those lines you cite … indeed the entire section that now we know came from [al-Libi],” Wilkerson wrote.On the issue of whether these doubt were passed on to the President:
Michele Davis, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said that President Bush's remarks were "based on what was put forward to him as the views of the intelligence community" and that those views came from "an aggregation" of sources. She added, however, that it was impossible at this point to determine whether the dissent from the DIA and questions raised by the CIA were seen by officials at the White House prior to the president's remarks. A counter-terrorism official said that while CIA reports on al-Libi were distributed widely around U.S. intelligence agencies and policy-making offices, many such routine reports are not regularly read by senior policy-making officials.And what exactly was it they didn't tell Powell and claim the President couldn't have known?
But according to the newly declassified DIA and CIA documents provided to Levin, the credibility of those statements by Bush and Powell were already in doubt within the U.S. intelligence community. While the DIA was the first to raise red flags in its February 2002 report, the CIA itself in January 2003 produced an updated version of a classified internal report called “Iraqi Support for Terrorism.” The previous version of this CIA report in September 2002 had simply included al-Libi’s claims, according to the newly declassified agency document provided to Levin in response to his inquiries about al-Libi. But the updated January 2003 version, while including al-Libi’s claims that Al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weapons and training, added an important new caveat: It “noted that the detainee was not in a position to know if any training had taken place,” according to the copy of the document obtained by NEWSWEEK. It was not until January 2004—nine months after the war was launched—that al-Libi recanted “a number of the claims he made while in detention for the previous two years, including the claim that Al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to obtain chemical and biological weapons and related training,” the CIA document says.Sounds to me like the intelligence was Stovepiped directly to policy makers without being properly vetted and verified.