BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fixing the Intelligence

Good morning.

By now, you know the big story:

Report Warned Bush Team About Intelligence Suspicions

Unfortunately, the Bush Team chose to IGNORE that report.

"Why would they do that?"

Uh...
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 - A high Qaeda official in American custody was identified as A LIKELY FABRICATOR months BEFORE the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.

The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda's work with illicit weapons.
Oops.
The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi's credibility.

Without mentioning him by name, President BUSH, Vice President Dick CHENEY, Colin L. POWELL, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi's information as "credible" evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."
Guess Our Kid forgot the rest of the sentence:

"However, that information...is wrong."
Mr. Libi was not alone among intelligence sources later determined to have been fabricating accounts.

Among others, an Iraqi exile whose code name was CURVEBALL was the primary source for what proved to be false information about Iraq and mobile biological weapons labs.
For more info on "Curveball," check out this old Brandoland post, with info from the UK's Guardian (April 3, 2005).

The headline?

"US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify war - 'Crazy' Iraqi spy was full of misinformation, says report"


Can you guys come up with a better name than Curveball?
An alcoholic cousin of an aide to AHMED CHALABI has emerged as the key source in the US rationale for going to war in Iraq.

According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.

The defector, given the code-name CURVEBALL by the CIA, has emerged as the central figure in the corruption of US intelligence estimates on Iraq.

Despite considerable doubts over Curveball's credibility, his CLAIMS WERE INCLUDED in the administration's case for war without caveat.

And American military officials cultivated ties with AHMAD CHALABI, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile group, who has been accused of feeding the Pentagon misleading information in urging war.
Speaking of Chalabi...

"The American Enterprise Institute is planning to host Ahmed Chalabi, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, for his first American speech in 2 1/2 years at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9."

Imagine that.

Dude flat out lied to the Bushies (on more than one occasion) and they're having him speak at the AEI.

"He's the George Washington of Iraq, commie."

Fine.

Back to today's NY Times article:
In an interview on Friday, (Sen.) Levin also called attention to another portion of the D.I.A. report, which expressed SKEPTICISM about the idea of close collaboration between IRAQ and AL QAEDA, an idea that was never substantiated by American intelligence agencies but was a pillar of the administration's prewar claims.
Hey now.

This is a good time to bust out the BRANDOLAND TIME MACHINE.

Set the controls to "March 16, 2003."

Destination? "Meet the Press."

Subject? "Dick Cheney."
We know (Hussein) is out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization.
Right.

"But that was never substantiated by the intelligence agencies."

"So what?"

CUT TO another old Brandoland post:
Leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, CHENEY WORKED WITH Defense Secretary Donald H. RUMSFELD and Rumsfeld's then-deputy, Paul D. WOLFOWITZ, TO CHALLENGE CIA FINDINGS THAT COUNTERED THEIR EXPECTATIONS or that disagreed with information they had received through their own intelligence channels.
Their own intelligence channels.

Which were...

1. Themselves.

2. Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans.

3. Chalabi.

4. Curveball.

5. Libi.

6. And anyone else who told them what they wanted to hear.

Unbelievable.

Downing Street Memo, people.

Downing Street Memo.
C 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.

The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
It all ties together, friends.

Frank Rich does a nice job of adding the "White House Iraq Group" into the mix with this article, dated 10/16/2005:
Very little has been written about the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG. Its inception in August 2002, seven months before the invasion of Iraq, was never announced.

Only much later would a newspaper article or two mention it in passing, reporting that it had been set up by Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff. Its eight members included Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby, Condoleezza Rice and the spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. Its mission: TO MARKET A WAR IN IRAQ.

*

Throughout those crucial seven months between the creation of WHIG and the start of the American invasion of Iraq, there were indications that evidence of a Saddam nuclear program was fraudulent or nonexistent.

Joseph Wilson's C.I.A. mission to Niger, in which he failed to find any evidence to back up uranium claims, took place nearly a year before the president's 16 words. But the truth never mattered.

The Bush-Cheney product rolled out by Card, Rove, Libby & Company had been bought by Congress, the press and the public.

The intelligence and facts had been successfully fixed to sell the war, and any memory of Mr. Bush's errant 16 words melted away in Shock and Awe.

When, months later, a national security official, Stephen Hadley, took "responsibility" for allowing the president to address the nation about mythical uranium, no one knew that Mr. Hadley, too, had been a member of WHIG.
My head hurts.

Finally, Crooks & Liars has a great link to Lawrence Wilkerson's appearance on "The News Hour."

Wilkerson, Colin Powell's fromer Chief of Staff, goes after the Bushies - and their penchant for IGNORING INTELLIGENCE - and never lets up.

Good stuff.

For more on Wilkerson, read this piece: ‘Cheney cabal hijacked US foreign policy’

Get to work...

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