“Fixed” Intelligence from Feith’s “Gestapo Office,” the CIA and the Bush Administration’s Impeachable Lies about Iraq’s Prewar Links to al Qaeda
Except in the cynical, zealous or spiritually clouded minds of his right wing devotees, it’s become a well-established (if under reported) fact that President George W. Bush is a serial liar, if not a congenital liar.1 For example, after The New York Times very belatedly leaked Mr. Bush’s unconstitutional order permitting the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without obtaining the required court-approved warrants, Bush defended his directive as a “vital tool” in the war against terrorism.
But, as liars commonly do, Bush seems to have forgotten that in April 2004 he told an audience in Buffalo, New York: “When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.” He also told the audience that precisely because it was “the United States government talking about wiretap,” Americans could rest assured that “constitutional guarantees are in place.” 2
Obviously, that specific lie pales when compared with Bush’s willful violation of the Bill of Rights, and thus his oath to defend the Constitution — clearly an impeachable offense. But, even that impeachable offense pales when compared with the heinous crime of spewing lies to scare Americans into supporting war against an enfeebled Iraq. Yet, Americans have failed to impeach him for that crime, in part, because more lies are being told to cover it up.
In fact, Bush lied on December 14, 2005, when discussing what intelligence was available to Congress, when it voted to support his decision to invade Iraq. Bush lied when he asserted: “Some of the most irresponsible comments – about manipulated intelligence – have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein.” 3
Mr. Bush, of course, was referring to the hastily crafted classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002, the classified briefings to Congress that accompanied the NIE and the declassified White Paper, issued a few days after the NIE. All were made available to Congress. (The extremely alarmist White Paper lacked the caveats and doubts found in the NIE, which became understandable, once people learned that the White Paper had its origins in the White House’s desire to mobilize the public for war. Fabrication of the White Paper actually commenced prior to and independent of the NIE.)
Yet, Bush knew his assertion was false. And so do readers of Bob Woodward’s book, Plan of Attack. For, as Woodward tells us, President Bush received additional briefings both before and after the October NIE and Congressional vote, including the now infamous briefing on December 21, 2002.
It was after the CIA presented him with “The Case on WMD as it might be presented to a jury with Top Secret security clearances,” on December 21st, that Bush said: “Nice try…I don’t think this is quite–it’s not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from.” 4 According to Woodward, “Bush turned to Tenet. ‘I’ve been told all this intelligence about having WMD and this is the best we’ve got?’” 5 Infamously, Tenet assured Bush, “It’s a slam dunk case!” 6
That entire episode raises a host of questions about both the value of the October NIE, as well as the formal post-invasion investigations that focused on the NIE. It also lends plausibility to the assertion made by former CIA agent, Ray McGovern, that, when Tenet requested the White House’s permission to conduct a NIE, he “got the go-ahead – on one condition: that the estimate’s judgments had to parallel those in Cheney’s August speech.” 7
But, for those needing more proof that Bush lied on December 14, 2005, note that the Congressional Research Service (CSR) released a report the next day that concluded: “The President and a small number of presidentially designated cabinet-level officials, including the vice president …have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive information, including intelligence sources and methods.” 8 In all, the report identified “nine key U.S. intelligence ‘products’ not generally shared with Congress.” 9
Presumably, that CSR report did not count the intelligence “products” — falsely linking Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda — that were concocted for the Bush administration by Douglas Feith’s “rogue” intelligence cell, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCEG).
“Falsely linking?” Yes, on July 22, 2004, the 9/11 Commission published its comprehensive “Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.” Although it acknowledged some evidence of contacts between Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorists, it emphasized, “To date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al-Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States” 10
Thus, the 9/11 Commission punched a gaping hole in the Bush administration’s repeated prewar assertions that America faced a grave and growing danger from the looming possibility that Saddam Hussein, given his significant ties to al Qaeda, might provide weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to a terrorist organization committed to attacking the United States. We now know that Saddam had no significant ties to al Qaeda.
Nevertheless, on 17 June 2004, in order to minimize the devastating impact of that impending 9/11 Commission Report, Bush lied again. He insisted, “there was a relationship.” 11 But, remember, this is the same inveterate liar and dissembling weasel who was exposed by ABC’s Diane Sawyer on December 2003. Then, as you probably recall, Sawyer pressed Bush about justifying a war to the American public by stating “as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he [Saddam] could move to acquire those weapons.” Bush weaseled out by asking: “So what’s the difference?” 12
Two months later, Bush weaseled again, when he justified his illegal, immoral invasion (to Tim Russert, of Meet the Press) by asserting: “Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and so I’m not going [sic] leave him in power and trust a madman…He had the ability to make weapons, at the very minimum.” 13 In other words, America now invades countries simply because they have the “ability” to make weapons – if you take the words of our Commander-in-Chief at face value.
The 9/11 Commission’s Report specifically rebutted Vice President Cheney’s favorite canard: that one of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, met with an Iraqi diplomat at the Iraqi Embassy in Prague on April 9, 2001. The report noted: “The FBI has gathered evidence indicating that Atta was in Virginia Beach on April 4 (as evidenced by a bank surveillance camera photo), and in Coral Springs, Florida on April 11, where he …leased an apartment. On April 6, 9, 10 and 11, Atta’s cellular telephone was used numerous times to call various lodging establishments in Florida from cell sites within Florida.” 14
We now know that, as early as May 2002, FBI and CIA analysts had “scoured thousands of travel records” before concluding, “There was no evidence Atta left or returned to the U.S.” 15 Moreover, on June 21, 2002 the CIA published Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship, which concluded that the meeting “likely never occurred.” 16
So why, in September 2002, was Vice President Cheney falsely asserting on Meet the Press that evidence of Atta in Prague with “a senior Iraqi intelligence official,” was deemed “credible” by the CIA? 17
The brief answer is: Because Douglas Feith’s PCEG (which would merge into the Office of Special Plans) was still feeding him the bogus intelligence that confirmed what he already “knew.” The PCEG did not simply “study the policy implications of relationships among terrorist organizations and their sources of support,” as Feith falsely testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), but also “reviewed both raw and finished intelligence and did undertake their own intelligence analysis after looking at the IC [Intelligence Community] products and discovering that what they needed had not been produced by the IC.” 18
What’s worse, without exception, Feith’s PCEG produced intelligence products that consistently exaggerated the number, type, significance and danger of the ties it found between Iraq and al Qaeda. And although it was wrong on every one of its assessments, not one of its errors resulted in underestimating the threat. This pattern of errors in one direction suggests fraud and the ‘fixing” of intelligence, not mere incompetence.
But, thanks to the intervention of Feith’s boss, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the politicized intelligence gathered by this rogue “Iraqi intelligence cell in the OUSD(P)” 19 — “rogue,” because it was operating outside the established intelligence agencies funded by Congress and subject to congressional oversight — was presented to (and impressed) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, briefed to Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet (but minus the slide disparaging the CIA), and ultimately presented to Condoleezza Rice’s deputy (Stephen Hadley) and Cheney’s Chief of Staff, “Scooter” Libby. That last briefing took place without the knowledge of Tenet.
Moreover, as Senator Carl Levin reported in October 2004, “one slide, omitted from the [PCEG] version presented to the CIA, but included in the version presented to the White House [on September 16, 2002], discussed the alleged meeting between 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001.” 20
Consequently, when it came to Iraq’s links to al Qaeda, a chasm separated the Intelligence Community’s evidence from the alarmist rhetoric expressed by Cheney and other senior officials in the Bush administration. PCEG reporting was used to create and fill that chasm. But only because senior Bush administration officials demanded evidence — any evidence — that could be used to persuade Americans that Bush’s war of choice was a war of necessity.
We now absolutely “know” that the Bush administration sought to fix the intelligence to support war, but only because a British patriot leaked a document marked, “Secret and Strictly Personal – UK Eyes Only.” This Downing Street Memo was written in July 2002 and contains the details of a secret meeting between British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his top officials.
It was at this meeting that the Chief of British Intelligence “reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. BUSH WANTED TO REMOVE SADDAM, THROUGH MILITARY ACTION JUSTIFIED BY THE CONJUNCTION OF TERRORISM AND WMD. BUT THE INTELLIGENCE AND FACTS WERE BEING FIXED AROUND THE POLICY” 21(my emphasis).
But that’s not all. Recently disclosed evidence now clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration could not use the reports issued by the Intelligence Community (IC) to fix the facts about Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda, because the IC repeatedly and steadfastly expressed doubts about the existence and significance of such ties. Those doubts were expressed in at least five reports, beginning with the President’s Daily Brief on September 21, 2001 and continuing up to and including the report, Iraqi Support for Terrorism, published in January 2003, just two months before President Bush gave the order to invade.
Moreover, the IC held to its doubts, notwithstanding intense and repeated questioning by senior officials in the Bush administration, especially Vice President Cheney. As the CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence told the SSCI, “the Vice President had visited CIA about five to eight times between September 2001 and February 2003.” Moreover, the instances “of repeated questioning were related to terrorism issues, and not about Iraq’s WMD capabilities.” 22
More specifically, according to the SCCI: “The CIA Ombudsman interviewed about two dozen analysts and managers involved in the preparation of the CIA’s June 2002 document entitled Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship…The Ombudsman told the committee that he felt the ‘hammering’ by the Bush Administration on Iraq intelligence was harder than he had witnessed in his 32-year career with the agency. Several analysts he spoke with mentioned pressure and gave the sense that they felt the constant questions and pressure to reexamine issues were unreasonable.” 23
Although the IC never repudiated its doubts, those doubts never found their way into alarmist speeches delivered to the American public by senior Bush administration policy makers. Why?
Why was the Bush administration’s rhetoric about Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda so consistently and flagrantly over the top, when compared with the cautious and sober intelligence it was receiving from the IC? Now that we know that the IC got it right and Bush administration got it wrong, one needs to ask: “Who was supplying the ‘fixed’ facts?” Again, the brief answer is: Feith’s PCEG
Here’s the detailed answer:
On the very afternoon of September 11, 2001, the day al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told an aide that he wanted the “best info fast; judge whether good enough [to] hit S. H.” Then he added: “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related, and not.” 24 Thus commenced the dishonest campaign by high level officials in the administration of George W. Bush to go to war with Iraq – and, thus, the exertion of pressure on agents in America’s duly established intelligence agencies to embrace fabrications provided by anti-Saddamist Iraqi émigrés about Saddam Hussein’s ties to al-Qaeda.
On the evening of September 12th, President Bush told counterterrorism expert, Richard Clarke: “I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way…” 25 When Clarke responded: “but Mr. President, al Qaeda did this,” President Bush replied: “I know, I know, but…see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred…” 26
When Clarke replied, “We have looked several times for state sponsorship of al Qaeda and have not found any real linkages,” Bush testily retorted, “Look into Iraq, Saddam.”27 According to Clarke, Bush never said, “‘Make it up,’ but the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said, ‘Iraq did this.’” 28
In fact, Clarke’s office quickly issued a memo to National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, which concluded “the case for links between Iraq and al Qaeda was weak…bin Laden resented the secularism of Saddam Hussein’s regime.” 29 But, according to Clarke, “it got bounced by the national-security advisor, or deputy. It got bounced and sent back, saying, ‘Wrong answer… Do it again.’” 30
Just three days later, during a September 15, 2001, meeting of Bush’s ‘war cabinet” at Camp David, a few members discussed the possibility of the war on terrorism getting bogged down in Afghanistan. Ms. Rice suggested “that they think about launching military action elsewhere as an insurance policy in case things in Afghanistan went bad…They would need successes early in any war to maintain domestic and international support.” 31
That suggestion “perked up” Wolfowitz. It was Wolfowitz (along with coauthor Zelmay Khalizad) who, in late 1997, wrote a piece for the neoconservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, titled Overthrow Him – “Him,” of course, meaning Saddam Hussein. As George Packer has observed, Saddam was Wolfowitz’s “white whale.” 32
So, jumping on Rice’s suggestion, Wolfowitz told the gathering: “Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable. He estimated that there was a 10 to 50 percent chance Saddam was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. would have to go after Saddam at some time if the war on terrorism was to be taken seriously.” 33
On September 17, 2001, Bush told the National Security Council that he believed “Iraq was involved, ” but he would not “strike them now. I don’t have the evidence at this point.” 34 He never would get real evidence. Nevertheless, on that same day Bush signed a Top Secret directive that not only ‘spelled out the plan to go to war against Afghanistan,” but also “ordered the Pentagon to begin preparing military options for an invasion of Iraq.” 35
On September 19, 2001, Richard Perle convened a meeting of the Defense Policy Board (DPB). Perle is the notorious neoconservative zealot and “Likud Zionist” 36 who, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, signed a 1996 report, titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm — for Israel’s prime minister! It advised him to topple Saddam and launch preemptive strikes on other Arab states. 37 (Note well this endnote.)
Perle’s contempt for the CIA was well known. In 2002 he told Knight Ridder, “The CIA’s analysis isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” 38 On another occasion, Perle asserted: “I think the people working on the Persian Gulf at the CIA are pathetic…They have a record over 30 years of being wrong.” 39
Perle placed greater value on the intelligence provided by the anti-Saddamist émigrés of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), headed by his friend, Ahmad Chalabi. In January 2001, the INC began receiving funds from the U.S. State Department “for an effort called the ‘Information Collection Program.’” Under the program, “defectors from Saddam’s military and secret police…[were made] available to American intelligence.” 40
But, according to former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, Patrick Lang, “What the program really did was to provide a steady stream of raw information useful in challenging the collective wisdom of the intelligence community.” 41 Lang’s claim was supported by Perle who, in January 2003, told Judith Miller that “until recently, CIA officials were so hostile to defectors brought out of Iraq by the Iraqi National Congress …that they refused to interview them and even tried to discredit their information. ‘But ultimately, the flow of information was so vital and so overwhelming that they could no longer ignore it’” 42
Moreover, “one internal Pentagon memorandum from December 2001, went so far as to suggest terrorism experts in the government and outside it had ‘deliberately downplayed or sought to disprove’ the link between al Qaeda and Iraq.” 43
(The information flow was, indeed, “overwhelming,” – coming, as it did, from the top of the Bush administration down to the IC — but it caused no significant changes in the IC’s reporting on Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda.)
Attending Perle’s DPB meeting were Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Feith and William Luti “drifted in and out.” 44 “The speakers at the event, who aggressively advocated U.S. military action to overthrow Saddam Hussein, were Ahmad Chalabi and Princeton professor Bernard Lewis.” 45
According to Lang, “One consequence of the DPB meeting was that former CIA Director [James R.] Woolsey was secretly dispatched to London to seek out evidence that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks…Part of Woolsey’s mission involved making contact with INC officials to get their help in further substantiating the link between hijacker Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence. ” 46
On September 20, 2001, Rumsfeld “raised the possibility that weapons of mass destruction could be used against the United States.” But not in the context one normally would imagine. Instead, he saw it as “an energizer for the American people.” 47 Psy-ops to be waged against the American public!
However, “Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Director of Central Intelligence’s (DCI) Counterterrorism Center (CTC) and the CIA Near East and South Asia office (NESA) collaborated on a paper on Iraqi links to the September 11th attacks.” 48 And, as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence noted (in its July 9, 2004 Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq), “The paper was disseminated to President’s Daily Brief (PDB) principals on September 21, 2001. The Committee was not informed about the existence of this paper until June 2004,” 49 and was denied permission to examine it, even in classified form.
But, thanks to very recent reporting by Murray Waas of National Journal, we now know that the September 21, 2001 President’s Daily Brief advised Bush and his principals that the “U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks [on 9/11] and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties to al Qaeda.” 50
According to Waas, “The highly classified document was distributed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the president’s national security adviser and deputy national security adviser, the secretaries and undersecretaries of State and Defense, and various other senior Bush administration policy makers.” 51 Thus, virtually every senior official in the Bush information received information from the CIA in September 2001, which ultimately would prove to be definitive.
“Definitive?” Yes. For, as the post-invasion investigation conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded: “The Central Intelligence Agency reasonably assessed that there were likely several instances of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s, but that these contacts did not add up to an established formal relationship.” 52
Nevertheless, within days of receiving this unwelcome CIA intelligence, the Defense Department’s third ranking official, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OUSDP), Douglas Feith, established the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCEG).
Why? First, because Wolfowitz suggested it. 53 Wolfowitz had long been skeptical of the CIA and had, in fact, participated in two “Team B” exercises – one to determine whether the CIA was underestimating the Soviet threat(see my article,”Misreading the Soviet Threat,” (http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/Misreading.html) and another, under the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld, to determine whether the CIA was underestimating the threat posed by rogue states developing ballistic missiles (see my article “National Missile Defense and Russian American Relations, http://www.armscontrol.ru/start/publications/uhler1.htm).
In each instance, the Team B egregiously exaggerated the threat. The first exaggeration caused America to engage in an arms race with itself, which, if it had any effect at all on the Soviet Union, probably prolonged the Cold War. The second exaggeration resulted in the rushed deployment (at exorbitant expense) of a largely untested missile defense system that probably doesn’t work and, perhaps, is technologically incapable of defending America.
Such egregious errors, in a just world, would have disqualified both Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld from further public service – for life! Yet, unfortunately, in September 2001, Wolfowitz was urging Feith to form still another “Team B,” with Rumsfeld’s enthusiastic support.
According to James Risen, writing in his recent book, State of War: “Israeli intelligence played a hidden role in convincing Wolfowitz that he couldn’t trust the CIA.”54 Mossad’s “intelligence officials frequently traveled to Washington to brief top American officials, but CIA analysts were often skeptical of Israeli intelligence reports, knowing that Mossad had very strong — even transparent — biases about the Arab world.” 55
One might ask why Wolfowitz failed to detect these same obvious biases. Presumably, he was neither a Likud Zionist or an “Israel-firster.” Yet, according to Risen, “After each Israeli briefing, the CIA would issue reports that were circulated throughout the government, but they often discounted much of what the Israelis had provided. Wolfowitz and other conservatives at the Pentagon became enraged by this practice; they had begun meeting personally with top Israeli intelligence officials and knew which elements of the Mossad briefings the CIA was downplaying.”56
Risen adds that “Wolfowitz personally complained to Tenet about the CIA’s analytical work on Iraq and al Qaeda.”57 Tenet dismissed his complaint. But Wolfowitz was not to be denied. After all, according to Francis Brooke (Chalabi’s lobbyist in Washington), in February 2001, Wolfowitz called Brooke to say that he was so committed to removing Saddam Hussein, “he would resign if he couldn’t accomplish it.” 58 “So Paul set up his own unit” 59 to find Iraq’s links to al Qaeda. “And then that really pissed off people at the CIA.” 60
For his part, Likud Zionist and “Israel-firster” Feith needed to prove his assumption “that Saddam had ties to al-Qaeda and was likely to hand off WMD to terrorists” 61 Feith, you’ll recall, was one of the unregistered foreign agents, who co-authored the 1996 report advising Israel’s prime minister to topple Saddam and launch preemptive strikes against specific Arab states. He “got his current position…only after Perle personally intervened with Rumsfeld, who was skeptical about him.” 62 It must have been his pro-Israel and anti-Saddam zealotry that moved Perle, for if we are to believe General Tommy Franks, Feith was “the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth.”63
Feith staffed the PCEG with his co-author of the 1996 report (and fellow unregistered agent for Israel) David Wurmser, as well as Michael Maloof. Wurmser and Maloof would be “working deductively, not inductively: The premise was true; facts would be found to confirm it.” 64 As the authors of Vanity Faire write in their exceptional expose, The Path to War, “the advocates of regime change in Iraq realized that, for any American invasion to enlist support, both domestically and internationally, links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda needed to be proved.” 65 Thus, in light of the CIA’s September 21, 2001 President’s Daily Brief, somebody needed to fix the facts!
At this point, one might ask, as George Packer does in his highly acclaimed book, The Assassin’s Gate: “Does this mean that a pro-Likud cabal insinuated its way into the high councils of the U.S. government and took hold of the apparatus of American foreign policy to serve Israeli interests?” In general, Packer’s answer is no. But “For Feith and Wurmser,” Packer answers yes: “the security of Israel was probably the prime mover.” 66
However, as my good friend, noted Russia scholar and proud Zionist, George Enteen, recently warned: “These people had influence but not power; that belonged and belongs to Cheney and Rummy.” 67 Officially, the PCEG was responsible for studying “…the policy implications of relationships among terrorist groups and their sources of support.” 68 But according to Lang, “a dedicated apparatus centered in the Office of the Vice President created its own intelligence office, buried in the recesses of the Pentagon, to ‘stovepipe’ raw data to the White House.” 69
Thus, although an INC letter, written to the Senate Appropriations Committee in June 2001 claimed, “information gathered by the group went directly to the Defense Department and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office,” 70 George Enteen is correct. Until the Cheney/Rumsfeld “cabal” (as Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Lawrence B. Wilkerson has called it) decided to adopt the radical policies urged by fanatics like Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and Wurmser, the latter were fighting a drawn out, if not losing, bureaucratic battle.
Consequently, Mark Hosenball, Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas — writing in the November 17, 2003 issue of Newsweek — were correct when they concluded: “It is important to note that at this early stage [summer of 2001], the neocons did not have the enthusiastic backing of Vice President Cheney.” Instead, “What changed Cheney was not Chalabi or his friends from AEI [American Enterprise Institute], but the 9/11 attacks.” 71
Yet, the Newsweek authors failed to capture fully the environment in which Cheney made his leap into the neocon camp. First, it wasn’t a long jump. They should have noted that Cheney had been scripting the National Security Council’s principals meetings from the very beginning of Bush’s presidency and that the focus of those meetings was on “regime change” in Iraq, but not necessarily by an American military invasion. 72
It wasn’t until January 3, 2002, that “Director Tenet and other CIA officials brief[ed] the Vice President and his staff on the limitations of covert operations in bringing down Saddam Hussein and explained that only a military operation and invasion would succeed.” 73
The Newsweek reporters also should have recalled that, in May 2001, “President Bush announced that Vice President Cheney would himself lead an effort looking a preparations for managing a possible attack by weapons of mass destruction and at more general problems of national preparedness.” 74 Thus, when the 9/11 Commission Report noted, “The Vice President’s task force was just getting under way when the 9/11 attacked occurred,” 75 it certainly understated Cheney’s monumental failure and the well-deserved humiliation he must have felt.
Moreover, when one recalls that both Cheney’s immersion in the crafting of his anti-environment energy policy and his scripting of NSC principals meetings for regime change in Iraq took him away from his task force, it brings to mind his five draft deferments and failure to serve during the Vietnam War. In both instances, he “had other priorities.”
But Risen excoriates Rumsfeld, even more than Cheney. “‘There were many times the Pentagon just did what it wanted’…An effective network of officials with long-standing ties to Cheney, some neoconservative, others simply conservative, scattered throughout key jobs in the administration, provided crucial support to Rumsfeld. It was Rumsfeld’s force of personality, his willingness to act as an enabler for the neoconservatives within the Department of Defense and elsewhere in the administration, combined with the enthusiastic support he received from Cheney, that did so much to break down the normal checks and balances in the national security apparatus.” 76
Risen concludes: “To others in the administration, mystified by the process — or lack of process –it eventually became evident that Cheney and Rumsfeld had a back channel where real decision making was taking place, and that larger meetings were often irrelevant. The result was that the Bush administration was the first presidency in modern history in which the Pentagon served as the overwhelming center of gravity for U.S foreign policy.” 77
One of Rumsfeld’s goals was to gain control over intelligence. Thus, it was with the backing of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney that Maloof and Wurmser began their PCEG work in October 2001. They would commence briefing Feith’s deputy, Stephen A. Cambone, on a weekly basis. 78 As Risen reported in The New York Times, “the team’s conclusions were alarming: old barriers that divided the major Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, were coming down, and these groups were forging ties with one another and with secular Arab governments in an emerging terrorist war against the West.” 79
In late 2001, at Maloof’s request, Perle asked Chalabi to supply Maloof with information provided by Iraqi defectors.80 That very request demonstrates that the PCEG was operating as a rogue intelligence gathering operation.
Thus, Wolfowitz probably lied when he claimed: “They are not making independent intelligence assessments.” 81 Yet, he admitted: “The lens through which you’re looking for facts affects what you look for.” 82 In addition, Rumsfeld probably lied when he asserted: “Any suggestion that it is an intelligence-gathering activity or an intelligence unit of some sort, I think, would be a misunderstanding of it.” 83
According to Risen, “The CIA and the DIA believed that Feith’s team had greatly exaggerated the significance of reported contacts among extremist groups and Arab states.” Moreover, “there was little proof that Mr. Hussein was working on terror plots with Mr. Bin Laden, a religious extremist who viewed the Baghdad regime as a corrupt, secular enemy.” 84
In fact, building upon its input into the September 21, 2001 PDB, the CIA’s NESA “drafted a paper [in October 2001] that broadened the scope of the issue by looking at Iraq’s overall ties to terrorism.” 85 Thus, it would dovetail, if not necessarily agree, with the scope of investigation being pursued by the PCEG. But, because the report was requested by a recipient of the September 21, 2001 PDB, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was denied access to it.
One can guess, however, that it too contained no significant Saddam-al Qaeda links, if only because, when the PCEG gave its far more alarmist briefing to Wolfowitz in November, the Deputy Secretary asked: “How come I’m not hearing this from anybody else?” 86
If, indeed the CIA’s NESA paper found no significant ties, perhaps that explains why “several senior policy makers” expressed interest in having the CIA’s CTC draft another paper that was “purposefully aggressive in seeking to draw connections, on the assumption that any indication of a relationship between these two hostile elements could carry great dangers to the United States.” 87 (The Deputy Director for Intelligence directed that the analysis, titled Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship, be published on June, 21, 2002.88 )
Moreover, when the Senate Select Committee staff asked the Deputy Director for Intelligence why the CTC “analysts’ approach was purposively aggressive…She explained that: “What happened with the ‘murky paper’ was that I was asking the people who were writing it to lean far forward and do a speculative piece. If you were going to stretch to the maximum the evidence you had, what would you come up with?” 89
In January 2002, the PCEG completed a 150-page briefing and slide presentation for Feith. 90 By then, Maloof had lost his security clearance. And soon after the report’s completion, Wurmser was transferred to the State Department (he subsequently would move to Cheney’s staff). Nevertheless, during their short tenure they briefed Rumsfeld twice, Feith numerous times and Samantha Ravich at least three times. Ms. Ravich was Cheney’s national security adviser for terrorism. 91
Two Naval Reserve officers replaced Maloof and Wurmser. In addition, Ms. Christina Shelton was detailed into Feith’s Policy Support Staff. . Ms. Shelton had been working for the DIA (which, subsequently, rejected her research on Saddam ties to al-Qaeda 92) until Feith specifically requested that she be detailed to his staff. Moreover, Shelton had no sooner arrived at the OUSD(P) before she tore into the CTC’s aggressive report: Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship. Shelton would conclude that the CTC’s “aggressive” reporting wasn’t aggressive enough.
According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Shelton’s analysis stated: “The report provides evidence from numerous intelligence sources over a decade on the interaction between Iraq and al-Qaeda. In this regard, the report is excellent. Then in its interpretation of this information, CIA attempts to discredit, dismiss, or downgrade much of the reporting, resulting in inconsistent conclusions in many instances. Therefore, the CIA report should be read for content only – and CIA’s interpretation ought to be ignored.” 93
Feith sent Shelton’s critique to Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, 94 which might explain the CIA’s subsequent “‘hammering’ by the Bush Administration,” that the CIA’s Ombudsman viewed to be “harder than he had witnessed in his 32-year career with the agency.” 95
Nevertheless, while Shelton was deconstructing the CTC’s report and making a strong pitch for significant interaction between Saddam and al-Qaeda, the DIA had issued a February 2002 report that specifically cast doubt on reports suggesting “that Iraq trained al-Qaeda to use biological and chemical weapons.” 96 The report, DITSUM No. 044-02, stated, “it was probable that the [al-Qaeda] prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi ‘was intentionally misleading debriefers in making claims about Iraqi support for al-Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons.” 97
The report noted, “Mr. Libi’s claims lacked specific details about the Iraqis involved, the illicit weapons used and the location where the training was to have taken place.” 98 And it added: “It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers.” 99 In fact, Mr. Libi recanted his claims after America’s invasion of Iraq. And the CIA withdrew them in March 2004.
Subsequent reporting for The New York Times by Douglas Jehl revealed that the DIA’s doubts about Mr. Libi were based, in part, on its knowledge that he commenced providing “his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002.” 100 In fact, Mr. Libi subsequently claimed that he fabricated claims about Saddam’s ties to al-Qaeda “to escape harsh treatment” 101 at the hands of the Egyptians. So much then for the U.S. policy of rendition/torture.
Equally significant, however, was the DIA’s general skepticism about close cooperation between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Two of the report’s declassified sentences read as follows: (1) “Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements,” and (2) “Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.” 102
Unfortunately, the evidence indicates that the DIA’s February 2002 report — like the September 21, 2001 President’s Daily Brief and October’s CIA (NESA) elaboration on it — was ignored. For example, during Bush’s major speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, he still falsely asserted: “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”
His claim was based upon information provided by Mr. Libi. Yet, the DIA had discounted Mr. Libi’s assertions eight months earlier. Where was Rumsfeld? Wolfowitz? Feith? The incompetent national security adviser? Moreover, one full year after the DIA issued its report, Bush falsely claimed: “Iraq has provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.” 103
What cannot be overemphasized is the fact that evidence to support Bush’s specific claims, as well as his administration’s numerous, generally alarmist assertions about Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda, WAS NOT coming from the Intelligence Community. Neither the September 18, 2002 CIA report, Iraqi Support for Terrorism (which was distributed to but twelve senior Bush administration officials), nor the more widely distributed updated version, dated January 2003, provided any evidence to support such claims.
Instead, note what the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found in these reports:
1 “The Intelligence Community has no credible information that Baghdad had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks or any other al-Qaeda strike.”
2 “This paper’s conclusions – especially regarding the difficult and elusive question of the exact nature of Iraq’s relations with al-Qaeda – are based on currently available information that is at times contradictory and derived from sources with varying degrees of reliability…”
3 “The CIA did not assert in any of its assessments that Iraq had committed to a formal arrangement permitting al-Qaeda members to transit and live within Iraq.”
4 “The CIA refrained from asserting that the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda were cooperating on terrorist operations. DCI Tenet, in his testimony before the Committee, summarized the intelligence reporting on Iraqi-al Qaeda operational cooperation stating: “these sources do not describe Iraqi complicity in, control over, or authorization of specific terrorist attacks carried out by al Qaeda.”
5 Concerning Mohammed Atta’s April 2001 trip to Prague, “the CIA judged that other evidence indicated that these meetings likely never occurred.” The FBI agreed.
6 “Despite four decades of intelligence reporting on Iraq, there was little useful intelligence collected that help analysts determine the Iraqi regime’s possible links to al Qaeda.” 104
Bogus intelligence, however, was percolating up to Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney from what Secretary of State, Colin Powell, called “Feith’s ‘Gestapo office.’” 105
On July 22, 2002, Ms. Shelton sent an email to Mr. Cambone that recounted the events of a meeting held with Feith that day. Feith, it appears, asked an assistant “to prepare an intel briefing on Iraq and links to al-Qaeda for the SecDef and that he was not to tell anyone about it.” 106
During the summer of 2002, a special assistant to Wolfowitz created a set of briefing slides that incorporated Ms. Shelton’s work, as well as the work of the PCEG’s two naval reservists. The intent of the slides was to outline Rumsfeld’s “views of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda.” 107 The slides also “criticized the Intelligence Community…for its approach to the issue.” 108
According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, these briefing slides continued to claim that Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi agent in Prague in April 2001. A “findings” slide summed up the briefing by claiming: (1) “More than a decade of numerous contacts,” (2) “Multiple areas of cooperation,” (3) “Shared interest and pursuit of WMD,” and (4) “One indication of Iraq coordination with al-Qaeda specifically related to 9/11.” 109
Very telling was the slide that criticized the IC’s handling of its Iraq-al Qaeda intelligence. It blamed the IC for “consistent underestimation” of efforts by Iraq and al Qeada to hide their relationship and faulted the IC for its “assumption that secularists and Islamists will not cooperate.” 110 Most telling, however, was the criticism that the IC required “juridical evidence” for its findings.111
Juridical indeed! Who, except for the dishonest and reckless, would refuse to acknowledge the immense moral obligation to get the intelligence right, when contemplating preemptive war (see my article on preemption, http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/preemption.html ).
Consequently, on the matter of ties between Iraq and al Qaeda, who best understood the moral obligation to get it right? The agents of the IC or the scattershot Rumsfeld gang operating under his instructions to “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related, and not?” Then, ask yourself, who actually got it right?
Nevertheless, as we now know, the slides were presented to Rumsfeld in early August 2002. According to Wolfowitz, it “was an excellent briefing. The Secretary was very impressed.” 112 Wolfowitz also recommended that the briefing be presented to the CIA, where, perhaps, “each side might make an assessment” 113 of the evidence.
On August 15, 2002 Feith and staff took their briefing to the CIA, except for the slide critical of the agency. Following the briefing, Mr. Tenet ” requested that the two OUSD(P) briefers speak with the CTC and the NESA experts on Iraq and terrorism.”114 According to one member of the PCEG, “Tenet agreed to postpone the release” of what would become September’s report (Iraqi Support for Terrorism) “until analysts from the CTC, NESA, NSA, and the DIA could meet with the OUSD(P) briefers to discuss the issue.” 115
That meeting took place on August 20, 2002. According to the IC’s analysts, members of Feith’s staff “were concerned about ‘too many caveats in the reporting’ and the ‘tone’ of the draft IC report. Feith’s staff also pressed dubious information, including criticizing the draft IC report for omitting reference to the ‘key issue of Atta.’” 116
Moreover, Senator Carl Levin has obtained documents demonstrating “that Feith’s staff requested, both verbally and in written form, at least 32 changes to the IC draft, including inserting raw intelligence reports that had previously been omitted, deleting others, and altering the characterization of certain issues and raw reporting.” 117 In all, “16 changes were made, 14 were not, and for 2 the outcome is indeterminate.” 118
Thus, Levin concludes, “even though the IC analysts refused to incorporate information which they believed was dubious into their judgments about the Iraq-al Qeada relationship, and the IC analysts remained skeptical of that relationship, nonetheless raw, questionable intelligence reports were incorporated in the IC document because of advocacy of Under Secretary Feith and his staff.” 119
Unbeknownst to the CIA at the time, Feith took his act to the White House on September 16, 2002, where his staffers briefed Condoleezza Rice’s deputy, Stephen Hadley, and Cheney’s chief of staff, the now indicted “Scooter” Libby. The briefing contained the slides presented to Rumsfeld, including the slide criticizing the IC, but with “additional information” about Atta’s alleged meeting in Prague, “potential common procurement intermediaries shared by Iraq and al Qaeda, and other possible connections.” 120
“‘The briefing went very well and generated further interest from Mr. Hadley and Mr. Libby,’ who requested a number of items, including a ‘chronology of Atta’s travels.’” 121
Cheney had long been wired (through Ravich, Libby and Rumsfeld) to Feith’s group. Moreover, as Murray Waas has reported, Cheney wrote in the margins of one of Feith’s reports about ties between Saddam and al Qaeda: “this is very good … Encouraging … Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of the CIA.” 122
Speaking on “Meet the Press” on September 9, 2002, Cheney claimed “We’ve seen in connection with the hijackers of course, Mohammed Atta, who was the lead hijacker, did apparently travel to Prague on a number of occasions. And on at least one occasion, we have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center.” 123
But, if Cheney was not basing his assertions about Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda on the “crap” from the Intelligence Community, but from Feith’s rogue intelligence cell, then Cheney lied when he claimed that evidence of Atta in Prague with “a senior Iraqi intelligence official,” was deemed “credible” by the CIA. 124
Continuing the drumbeat for war on the eve of an October Congressional vote in support of the war, Bush warned on September 25th about the danger “that al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam’s madness.” 125 That same day, National Security Adviser Rice told PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer: “Yes, there clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented. There clearly is testimony that some of these contacts have been important contacts and there’s a relationship here.”126
Finally, who can forget Donald Rumsfeld’s claim, made two days later, “that American intelligence had ‘bulletproof’ evidence of links between al Qaeda and the government of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.” 127 And speaking as though the February 2002 DIA report didn’t exist, Rumsfeld asserted: “We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical- and biological-agent training.”128
“American intelligence” did not have “bulletproof” evidence. In fact, “American intelligence,” construed to mean the established Intelligence Community funded by and responsible to the U.S. Congress, found no “bulletproof” evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda.
Instead it was “un-American intelligence,” that supported the “bulletproof” evidence claimed by Rumsfeld. And it was “un-American intelligence” about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda that was used by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice to beat the drums for war on the eve of the Congressional vote.
The “un-American intelligence” came from a rogue intelligence cell set up by a leading member of the Bush administration’s war party, Saddam-obsessed Paul Wolfowitz, who believed Mossad’s biased intelligence and not American intelligence. And it was headed by Feith, who General Tommy Franks called “the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth,” and whose primary loyalty was to Israel (see Notes number 37 and 66.)
Inspired by Mossad, Feith’s rogue intelligence cell appears to have solicited, reexamined, digested and regurgitated evidence from the programmed liars put forward by Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress – evidence that the Intelligence Community already had considered, before dismissing as unreliable. Then, as Seymour Hersh has noted: “A routine settled in: the Pentagon’s defector reports, classified ‘secret,’ would be funneled to newspapers, but subsequent analyses of the reports by intelligence agencies – scathing but also classified – would remain secret.”129
Perhaps, that explains why even Secretary of State Colin Powell privately referred to Feith’s intelligence cell as “Feith’s Gestapo office.” How ironic! Neocon Jews running a “Gestapo office.” Finally, and most significantly, let’s not forget that this “un-American intelligence” got it wrong!
Can the United States still be called a “democracy,” if a majority of its citizens fails to recognize and redress such “un-American” behavior? (“Un-American,” at least according to our ideals, if not our actual history.)
Unfortunately, some Americans seek to dismiss this shameful episode. Others simply want to “move on.” Still others want to cover it up. Thus, the question: “Do we bring the perpetrators to justice or do we simply let history record their dishonest march to war?”
I, for one, agree with the renowned conservative Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld: “For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C. sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president’s men. If convicted, they’ll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.” 130
1. Mr. Yoshi Tsurumi, who attempted to teach Bush macroeconomic policies and international business during the 1973-74 academic year at the Harvard Business School, has observed that our worst president in American history “showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases.” Mary Jacoby, “The Dunce,” Salon.com, 16 September 2004
2.President Bush, “Information Sharing, Patriot Act Vital to Homeland Security,” April 20, 2004
3.Jonathan S. Landay, “Bush gets intelligence data lawmakers do not,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 16, 2005.
4.Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, pp. 247-49.
5.Ibid. p. 249.
7.Ray McGovern, “Sham Dunk: Cooking Intelligence for the President,” NEOCONNED AGAIN, p. 294.
8.Landay, Inquirer, Dec. 16, 2005
10.The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 66.
11.CNN.com, “Bush insists Iraq, al Qaeda had ‘relationship,’” June 17, 2004
12.ABC News, “Excerpts From Interview With President Bush,” Dec. 16, 2003.
13.Washingtonpost.com, “Text: President Bush on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’” February 8, 2004
14.The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 228.
15.Dana Priest and Glenn Kessler, “Iraq, 9/11 Still Linked By Cheney,” Washington Post, 29 September 2003
16.Part XII. “Iraq’s Links to Terrorism,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq,” July 9, 2004, p. 340. One reaches this conclusion by inference, given the SSCI’s statement that it used the January 203 version of “Iraqi Support for Terrorism,” and noting only when earlier versions differed with it. (See p. 314)
17.Senator Carl Levin, “Report of an Inquiry into Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship,” October 21, 2004, p. 38.
18.Part XII. “Iraq’s Links to Terrorism,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, July 9, 2004, p. 311.
19.Ibid. p. 309. Feith was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, thus his office was the OUSD(P).
20.Senator Carl Levin, “Report of an Inquiry…” p. 17.
21.”The Secret Downing Street Memo,” The Sunday Times UK, 01 May 2005
22.Part IX. “Pressure On Intelligence Community Analysts Regarding Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Capabilities,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, July 9, 2004, respectively p. 276 and p. 275.
23.”Additional Views of Vice Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, Senator Carl Levin and Senator Richard Durbin, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, July 9, 2004, p. 456.
24.James Bamford, A Pretext for War, p.285.
25.Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies, p. 32
28.Bryan Burrough, Evgenia Peretz, David Rose, and David Wise, “The Path to War: Special Report: The Rush to Invade Iraq; The Ultimate Inside Account,” Vanity Faire, May 2004, p. 236.
29.Senator Carl Levin, “Report of an Inquiry…, p 9.
30.Vanity Faire, “The Path to War,” p. 238.
31.Bob Woodward, Bush at War, p. 83.
32.George Packer, The Assassins’ Gate, p. 115.
33.Woodward, Bush at War, p. 83.
34.Ibid., p 99.
35.Col. W. Patrick Lang, USA (Ret.), “Drinking the Kool-Aid: Making the Case for War with Compromised Integrity and Intelligence, neo-CONNED! Again, p. 258
36.Dilip Hiro, Secrets and Lies, p. 40.
37.As James Bamford has written; “It was rather extraordinary for a trio [Perle, Douglas Feith and James Wurmser] of former, and potentially future high-ranking American government officials to become advisors to a foreign government. More unsettling still was the fact that they were recommending acts of war in which Americans could be killed, and also ways to masquerade the true purpose of the attacks from the American public.” Bamford, p. 263
38.Jonathan S. Landay, John Wolcott and Warren P. Strobel, “Faulty intelligence continues to plague U.S. efforts in Iraq,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, March 19, 2004.
39.James Risen, “How Pair’s Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence,” New York Times, April 28, 2004.
40.Col. W. Patrick Lang, USA (Ret), p. 253.
42.Judith Miller, “Threats and Responses: Intelligence; Defectors Bolster U.S. Case Against Iraq, Officials Say,” New York Times, January 24, 2003
43.Seymour M. Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, p. 211.
44.Vanity Faire, “The Path to War,” p. 236.
45.Lang, p. 258
46.Ibid., pp 258-59.
47.Woodward, Bush at War, p. 106.
48.Part XII. “Iraq’s Links to Terrorism,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, July 9, 2004. p. 304.
50.Murray Waas, Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel, National Journal.com, Nov. 22, 2005.
52.Part XII. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, p. 346.
53.Packer, p. 106.
54.James Risen, State of War:The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, p. 72.
56.Ibid., pp. 72-73.
57.Ibid., p. 73.
58.Jane Mayer, “The Manipulator,” The New Yorker, June 7, 2004.
59.Risen, State of War, p. 73.
61.Packer, p. 107
62.Seymour M. Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, p. 193.
63.Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 281. Rumsfeld disagrees.
64.Packer, p. 107
65.Vanity Faire, “The Path to War,” p. 238.
66.Packer, p. 32.
67.Email dated December 5, 2005.
68.Part XII. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, p. 307.
69.Lang, p. 253.
70.Landay, Walcott and Strobel, “Faulty Intelligence…”
71.Mark Hosenball, Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas, “Cheney’s Long Path to War,” Newsweek, November 17, 2003.
72.See Ron Suskind’s book, The Price of Loyalty, and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s assertions about Cheney’s scripted NSC meetings and their obsessive focus on regime change in Iraq. Pp. 70-76, 85-86, 96-97, and 127.
73.Additional Views, Rockefeller, Levin & Durbin, SSCI Report, p. 452 (quoting Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack).
74.The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 204.
76.Risen, State of War, p. 66.
77.Ibid., p. 64.
78.James Risen, “How Pair’s Finding on Terror…” New York Times, April 28, 2004
81.Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, “Threats and Responses: A C.I.A. Rival; Pentagon Sets Up Intelligence Unit,” New York Times, October 24, 2002.
83.Warren Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott, “Some in Bush administration have misgivings about Iraq policy,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, October 27, 2002.
84.Risen, “How Pair’s Finding on Terror…”
85.Part XII. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, p. 304.
86.James Risen, “How Pair’s Finding on Terror….
87.Part XII. P. 305
89.Ibid. pp. 306-307.
92.Part XII. P. 308.
95.See note 11.
96.Douglas Jehl, “Report Warned Bush Team About Intelligence Doubts,” New York Times, November 6, 2005.
100.Douglas Jehl, “Qaeda-Iraq Link U.S. Cited Is Tied To Coercion Claim,” New York Times, December 9, 2005.
102.Jehl, “Report Warned Bush Team… Nov. 6, 2005
103.Carl Levin, “Levin Says Newly Declassified Information Indicates Bush Administration’s Use of Pre-War Intelligence Was Misleading,” November 6, 2005.
104.For each specific quotation, see Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report, respectively p. 322, p. 322, p. 334, p. 338, p. 340 and p. 355.
105.Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 292.
106.Part XII. “Iraq’s Links To Terrorism,” SSCI Report, July 9, 2004 p. 309.
113.Ibid, p. 310
116.Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry into…, Oct. 21, 2004, p. 15.
118.Ibid. p. 16.
120.Part XII. SSCI Report, July 9, 2004. p. 311.
122.Murray Waas, National Journal, Nov. 22, 2005
123.Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry…, Oct. 21, 2004, p. 38
124.See Note 17 above.
125.Eric Schmitt, “Threats and Responses: Intelligence; Rumsfeld Says U.S. Has ‘Bulletproof’ Evidence of Iraq’s Links to Al Qaeda,” New York Times, September 28, 2002.
126.Carl Levin, Report of an Inquiry, p. 34.
127.Eric Schmitt, New York Times, September 28, 2002.
129.Hersh, p. 218.
130.Martin Van Creveld, “Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War,” Forward, November 25, 2005.