Tuesday, February 8

No, Rummy the Intelligence Wasn't Wrong - You Were.

Rumseld with Diane Sawyer.

Rumsfeld: The idea that he (Powell) was lying (before the U.N.) or duped is nonsense. He believed it. Our military believed. Our military got chemical weapons suits on to protect them. Saddam Hussein neighbors told us, "Be ready, when you get close to Bahgdad their going to use Chemical Weapons againt yor troops"

Sawyer: But you were wrong?

Rumsfeld: Oh my goodness, the intelligence was most certainly wrong.

No, really it wasn't.

The fact is the original Iraq NIE was doctored...

WASHINGTON — In a classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared before the Iraq war, the CIA hedged its judgments about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, pointing up the limits of its knowledge.

But in the unclassified version of the NIE — the so-called white paper cited by the Bush administration in making its case for war — those carefully qualified conclusions were turned into blunt assertions of fact, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence.

The repeated elimination of qualifying language and dissenting assessments of some of the government's most knowledgeable experts gave the public an inaccurate impression of what the U.S. intelligence community believed about the threat Hussein posed to the United States, the committee said.

Dedicating a section of its 511-page report to discrepancies between the two versions of the crucial October 2002 NIE, the panel laid out numerous instances in which the unclassified version omitted key dissenting opinions about Iraqi weapons capabilities, overstated U.S. knowledge about Iraq's alleged stockpiles of weapons and, in one case, inserted threatening language into the public document that was not contained in the classified version.

"The intelligence community's elimination of the caveats from the unclassified white paper misrepresented their judgments to the public, which did not have access to the classified National Intelligence Estimate containing the more carefully worded assessments," the Senate panel's report concluded.

"The fact that the NIE changed so dramatically from its classified to its unclassified form and broke all in one direction, toward a more dangerous scenario … I think was highly significant," the committee's vice chairman, Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), said Friday.

Donald Rumsfeld would have had access to the classified version of the report and should certainly have known that the unequivocal certainty presented in the unclassified version of the report which was presented to Congress... was a sham.

Within the Classified version of the report the State Dept disputed the Niger Yellowcake Report.

The newly released report, however, also included a dissenting view from the State Department's intelligence arm, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, known as the INR.

"The claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious," read the dissent,

Another U.S. official said the intelligence on uranium in the NIE never rose to the level that it could be "stated flatly" by the United States.

The official also said the Niger information was included in the 90-page report because it "was out there," and for "an effort at completeness." The official said the NIE contained six main arguments supporting the case that Iraq was continuing its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, but uranium from Africa was not one of them.

Another point is that even within the Unclassified Version of the Report, the overall assessment was that Saddam was unlikely to to actually use any WMD's unless he was provoked. So it made a ton of sense to invade him under those circumstances unless you goal actually was to provoke him in order to provide a rationale for the invasion itself.

And if that idea seems far fetched, just remember that Bush did consider a plot provoke Saddam into shooting at UN aircraft (which would have been in disguise) in order to prompt the UN into action.

· Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours". Mr Bush added: "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]".

That plan wasn't actually put into place, but it does show Bush's mindset of desperation to find an excuse, any excuse to attack and invade Iraq and any contrary facts or evidence that he wasn't an actual danger - be damned.

For example, in that same 2002 NIE Energy Dept Disputed that the Aluminum Tubes would be used as "centerfuges", but Bush and Rummy didn't listen.

Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although "most agencies judge" that the aluminum tubes were "related to a uranium enrichment effort," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons."

And it wasn't just the statement Dept who had their doubts and reservations.

In addition, Vanity Fair has found at least 14 instances prior to the 2003 State of the Union in which analysts at the C.I.A., the State Department, or other government agencies who had examined the Niger documents or reports about them raised serious doubts about their legitimacy--only to be rebuffed by Bush-administration officials who wanted to use the material. "They were just relentless," says Wilkerson, who later prepared Colin Powell's presentation before the United Nations General Assembly. "You would take it out and they would stick it back in. That was their favorite bureaucratic technique--ruthless relentlessness."

The information about mobile labs came from one source, Curveball, whom the Defense Intelligence Agency - Rumsfeld's agency - had been well informed was a fabricator and that his claims could not be trusted.

Jan 2000-Sept 2001: Curveball's statements are recorded in German, shared with a local Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) team, and sent to the US, where they are translated into English for analysis at the DIA's directorate for human intelligence in Clarendon, Va. "This was not substantial evidence," one senior German intelligence official later recalls in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "We made clear we could not verify the things he said." The reports are then sent to the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC), whose experts analyze the data and share it with artists who use Curveball's accounts to render sketches.

In fact the CIA never got their hands on Curveball, the DIA had first dibs.

The CIA never had access to Curveball. Instead, he was controlled by Germany's intelligence service, which passed along the information it collected to the United States through the Defense Intelligence Agency, a Pentagon spy agency that handled information from Iraqi defectors.

So the raw information - including the German agencies doubts about it's accuracy - were being directly funneled to Rumsfeld.

But at least one officer at CIA, European Field Office head Tyler Drumheller did discover that Curveball couldn't be trusted, however he couldn't get anyone to listen to him - not even Tenet.

In late 2002, the Bush administration began scouring intelligence files for reports of Iraqi weapons threats. Drumheller was asked to press a counterpart from a European intelligence agency for direct access to Curveball. Other officials confirmed that it was the German intelligence service.

The German official declined but then offered a startlingly candid assessment, Drumheller recalled. "He said, 'I think the guy is a fabricator,' " Drumheller said, recounting the conservation with the official, whom he declined to name. "He said, 'We also think he has psychological problems. We could never validate his reports.' "


Drumheller said he called the office of John E. McLaughlin, then the CIA deputy director, and was told to come there immediately. Drumheller said he sat across from McLaughlin and an aide in a small conference room and spelled out his concerns.

Yet to this very day, George Tenet claims nobody told him about Curveball being a liar.

And it seems nobody told him about Ibn Sheik al-Libi being a tortured in Egypt (apparently under the direction of our new Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman).

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.

So yet again, the DIA - Rumsfeld - had the information that al Libi was a liar, but didn't share that information - and now he tries to blame the intelligence for being wrong?

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.

So al Libi lied too, after he had been buried alive up to his neck - and claimed that there were bogus links between al Qeada and Saddam when there weren't.

Ultimately the Duelfer Report showed that Saddam had destroyed his WMD stockpiles all the way back in 1991, meaning that the final declaration he provided per UN mandate prior to the war was absolutely correct and that the U.S. was absolutely wrong to blow it off and claim Saddam Failed to Explain where the Yellowcake and Mobile Labs were.

Via Condoleeza Rice.

Instead of a commitment to disarm, Iraq has a high-level political commitment to maintain and conceal its weapons, led by Saddam Hussein and his son Qusay, who controls the Special Security Organization, which runs Iraq's concealment activities. Instead of implementing national initiatives to disarm, Iraq maintains institutions whose sole purpose is to thwart the work of the inspectors. And instead of full cooperation and transparency, Iraq has filed a false declaration to the United Nations that amounts to a 12,200- page lie

For example, the declaration fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad, its manufacture or specific fuel for ballistic missiles it claims not to have, and the gaps previously identified by the United NAtions in Iraq's accounting for more than two tons of the raw materials needed to produce thousands of gallons of anthrax and other biological weapons."

This put Iraq in an impossible position of having to disprove a lie based on a forgery, and then calling them the liars for it. The truth is that Saddam was cooperating fully, and the inspectors - at our direction - were turning up "garbage after garbage".

In fact, the U.S. claim that Iraq is developing missiles that could hit its neighbors – or U.S. troops in the region, or even Israel – is just one of the claims coming from Washington that inspectors here are finding increasingly unbelievable. The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous U.S. leads that they've begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.

U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.

Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing."

Example: Saddam's presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they found "nothing."

Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight."

So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact, Phillips says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they've found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.

What worse, is that George Bush had been specifically and directly told there were no WMD's prior to the war by Hubbush the head of Iraqi Intelligence.

Suskind reports that the head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, met secretly with British intelligence in Jordan in the early days of 2003. In weekly meetings with Michael Shipster, the British director of Iraqi operations, Habbush conveyed that Iraq had no active nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

When Tenet was informed of the findings in early February, he said, “They’re not going to like this downtown,” Suskind wrote, meaning the White House. Suskind says that Bush’s reaction to the report was: “Why don’t they ask him to give us something we can use to help make our case?

Instead the White House ordered the CIA to get Hubbush to forge a false letter that yet again linked Saddam to al Qeada by claiming that Mohommad Atta was trained in Iraq in an effort to yet again provide yet another bogus excuse to invade Iraq and remove Saddam from power by force. The Bush White House has denied that they asked Habbush to write this letter - even though the letter actually exists - it's interesting that they do not deny he told them there were no WMD's and they ignored it.

The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.

In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy".

If the Bush administration didn't have direct influence on this letter being written - who did? Why exactly would Habbush lie - and provide Bush with exactly the smoking gun he was desperate to have - like this?

Just imagine if instead of making up this kind of bullcrap, Bush had done the right thing and let the weapons inspectors finish their job so that it would be been finally revealed that the intelligence was right. We could have seen the kind of democracy flowering in Iraq that we're now seeing in Egypt. Just imagine if the insurgency had been turned against Saddam instead of against us?

There were no mobile labs. There was no yellowcake and centerfuges. There were no action chemical weapons or nuclear programs. There were no stockpiles (and if there were they would have been degraded to near uselessness after so many years). All of these arguments were based on forgeries and lies that were either paid for or generated by torture.

The intelligence wasn't wrong Rummy - You Were.

It seemed incomprehensible at the time, but now in the wake of such unreasonable irrational right-wing beliefs such as Death Panels, Creeping Sharia Law, the Coming Egypto-Iranian Caliphate, Climate-Change Denierism, the Supply-Side Cult of Tax Cut Fetishists, Tentherism and Birtherism - it seems far more clear how some people are far more invested in thier own paranoid apocalyptic fantasies than in the facts and that when those people gain economic and political power the results can be devestating.


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