from JeremyrHammond Website
presents the Bush administration’s case for war on Iraq
at the U.N. Security Council
on February 5, 2003
The document, the Archive notes,
Foreign Policy magazine describes it as a “remarkable CIA mea culpa”.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Far
from acknowledging the CIA’s true role, the document does not present any
kind of serious analysis, but only politicized statements rehashing
well-worn official claims designed to further the myth that there was an
“intelligence failure” leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March of
On the contrary, there was an extremely successful disinformation campaign coordinated by the CIA in furtherance of the government’s policy of seeking regime change in Iraq. The language of the document itself reveals a persistent dishonesty.
It speaks of,
Needless to say, however, the Iraq war was not sold to the public on the grounds that government officials and intelligence agencies had “suspicions” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
It was sold to the public with declarations that
it was a known fact that Iraq had ongoing programs and stockpiles of WMD.
The tacit acknowledgment that the actual evidence only supported
“suspicions” that this was so by itself is proof of that the narrative of an
“intelligence failure” is a fiction.
It argues further that the regime’s behavior indicated he was hiding such weapons. Kamal, who returned to Iraq and was killed there in 1996, was the same individual Vice President Dick Cheney referred to in selling the administration’s case for war on August 26, 2002, when he said that “we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
Among other sources, we’ve gotten this from the
firsthand testimony of defectors - including Saddam’s own son-in-law, who
was subsequently murdered at Saddam’s direction.” But the fact is that
Cheney was lying, and the CIA’s persistent adherence to essentially the same
false narrative renders ridiculous the suggestion that this document is some
kind of “mea culpa”.
Yet the examples it lists of Iraq’s “intransigence” and deception do not support the CIA’s earlier judgments that Iraq had ongoing programs and WMD stockpiles.
This is true.
However, the document makes no mention of the fact that it was public knowledge that Iraq’s nuclear program was subsequently completely dismantled.
As former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, pointed out, the Agency had,
The IAEA reported in 1998 that it was “confident
that we had not missed any significant component of Iraq’s nuclear program”.
As worded, this implies that Iraq in 1992 was continuing these programs.
This is disingenuous, because in fact Iraq was at that time trying conceal past programs that it had ended following the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq did not continue these programs, but dismantled them and unilaterally destroyed its WMD in order to hide the fact that it had had such programs in the past.
As the document acknowledges in its “Key Findings” section,
Yet the very next paragraph contradictorily and disingenuously states,
This again implies that Iraq had ongoing WMD
programs at least until 1995, which is false, as the CIA knew perfectly well
at the time this report was written.
The newly released document in fact points out,
Yet apart from that single buried admission, the document is full of statements implying that weapons programs continued.
For example, it states that,
The document acknowledges that Kamal’s defection was,
Following Kamal’s defection, the document states, “the West”, meaning the U.S., judged that Iraq “was determined to retain WMD capabilities.”
In other words, the U.S. continued to claim that
Iraq had ongoing WMD programs and stockpiles, and supposedly based that
assessment on Kamal’s information, even though Kamal in fact had confirmed
that Iraq’s WMD had been destroyed and its programs dismantled in 1991.
The wording here that Iraq was attempting in 1995 “to hold onto” such programs does not merely imply a falsehood, but is an outright lie.
Once again, the CIA was perfectly well aware that until 1995, Iraq was attempting to conceal the existence of its past WMD programs, which it was not attempting “to hold onto” but had dismantled in 1991.
This kind of dishonest use of language to suggest Iraq continued to have ongoing WMD programs, even while contradictorily acknowledging elsewhere in the report that this was not true, is illustrative not of a willingness by the CIA to come clean, but to continue to obfuscate the truth and to persist in the false narrative of “intelligence failure”.
The CIA in the document even tries to spin its acknowledgment that Iraq’s programs were dismantled and its WMD destroyed in 1991 by saying that this unilateral action left Iraq,
shifting the burden onto Iraq to prove that it didn’t have WMD and
attempting to obfuscate the fact that U.S. government officials repeatedly
lied by claiming that the intelligence community had proof that Iraq did
On August 22, 1995, when Hussein Kamal was asked about the work that went on there, and whether it was continuing somewhere else, he replied,
That is to say, there were other sites involved in Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, but this program was ended by 1991.
He also pointed out that the work done on enrichment “were only studies.”
He noted that Iraq already,
Iraq thus had worked on building its own centrifuges to enrich uranium,
The CIA document nevertheless states that Kamal’s defection,
The program referred to would have entailed using enriched uranium from Iraq’s French-built reactor and enriching additional uranium obtained from Russia to weapons-grade in order to produce material for a bomb.
The remarkable dishonesty of this statement is on full display when one compares it with the fact that, when this “crash program” was brought up in his UNSCOM debriefing, Kamal’s actual response was,
He acknowledged that,
In other words, the “crash program” was nothing
more than a hypothetical contingency plan involving a scenario in which Iraq
would make a final desperate effort to produce a nuclear weapon by kicking
out U.N. and IAEA inspectors and enriching its own uranium to weapons-grade
- a capability Iraq did not possess.
The unilateral destruction of WMD, Kamal said,
On the issue of chemical weapons, the discussion turned to Iraq’s development of VX nerve agent during the Iran-Iraq war.
After the war, Kamal told his U.N. debriefers,
(He subsequently clarified, “in the nuclear
area, there were no weapons” - he had meant that the nuclear program was
The propaganda claim that Iraq itself wished to give the impression that it had WMD has been repeated many times over the years.
David Kay, who initially headed up the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), the CIA’s effort to find WMD in Iraq following the invasion, in order to explain why the search had turned up nothing, suggested that Saddam had “bluffed” about having WMD in order to deter Iran.
In January 2008, the media was abuzz with the supposed revelation from Saddam’s interrogation confirming that he had “bluffed”.
His interrogator, FBI agent George Piro, gave an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes in which he recalled telling Saddam,
The 60 Minutes report then inserted the claim,
Piro reinforced that claim when the interviewer asked him why Saddam would put his nation at risk “to maintain this charade” of having WMD, to which Piro replied,
The Associated Press reported that Saddam’s interrogation confirmed that he,
USA Today claimed that Saddam,
The headline in the Christian Science Monitor declared,
The London Telegraph proclaimed,
But in fact the only lie was the claim that Saddam had lied about having WMD.
The simple fact of the matter is that he never
once claimed that Iraq had WMD. On the contrary, he repeatedly,
consistently, and honestly denied this (the CIA document acknowledges in one
place that “what Iraq was saying by the end of 1995 was, for the most part,
That was very far from suggesting any kind of
confession from Saddam that he had “bluffed” about having WMD.
He spoke of how the U.S. had “used the United Nations as a cover” to pursue its own agenda and then added,
He was thus speaking specifically of Iraq’s right to self-defense and of maintaining a capability to exercise that right.
He continued on to say that Iraq would be “most enthusiastic” to limit its weapons, so long as Israel - which had bombed Iraq in 1983, a watershed event that precipitated Saddam’s decision to try to develop a nuclear weapon to deter any further such attacks - did the same:
The condition for this proposed disarmament was,
And while Saddam had used the words “weapons of mass destruction”, he was explicitly referring to long-range ballistic missiles, which, although proscribed for Iraq under United Nations resolutions, were nevertheless conventional weapons - hence his description of them as “so-called” WMD.
The CIA document concludes that intelligence analysts had wrongly assessed Iraq’s WMD capabilities on the grounds that:
But, remarkably, while making vague judgments about the bias of analysts such as this one, the document does not address any of the actual intelligence underlying a single one of the claims made by government officials in their efforts to manufacture consent for the war on Iraq.
An examination of the claims that were made and the actual intelligence underlying them reveals the fact that, for the most part, the intelligence community had not failed in its assessments of Iraq’s WMD capabilities.
On the contrary, the top analysts in their
respective area of expertise on numerous key claims from the Bush
administration in making its case for war had correctly assessed that Iraq
had no such WMD capabilities.
The “evidence” cited to bolster these claims were founded primarily on alleged Iraqi attempts to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger and acquisition of aluminum tubes to manufacture centrifuges to enrich the uranium for a bomb.
Yet both of these claims were false and were
known to be false before the U.S. invaded. And in neither case did the
intelligence community’s assessment support the claims made by
This was a lie.
The British government hadn’t “learned” that; it merely claimed this was so with no credible evidence. In fact, the U.S. intelligence community regarded this claim as so dubious that the CIA had warned the British government against including it in the white paper Bush was referring to.
In fact, the documents underlying the claim were forgeries.
The documents were eventually handed over to the IAEA, and in his briefing to the U.N. Security Council on March 7, 2003, Mohammed ElBaradei announced,
The role of the CIA in controlling the flow of information in the coordinated effort to deceive the public is best illustrated in the case of the aluminum tubes.
Dick Cheney declared that Saddam Hussein,
He went further, suggesting that Iraq may have already obtained a nuclear weapon.
When asked to confirm that Iraq did not at that time have a nuclear weapon, Cheney replied,
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice similarly lied,
President Bush also said,
The same day, the State Department released a report titled “A Decade of Deception and Defiance” that stated,
On October 7, 2002, Bush repeated,
He cited as “evidence” of this the claim that,
Turning to the actual assessments of the U.S.’s intelligence agencies, the first CIA assessment of the tubes was published on April 10, 2001, and stated that they “have little use other than for a uranium enrichment program.”
Yet no explanation for how this conclusion was arrived at was provided, and the report also acknowledged that,
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued their own far more detailed analysis of the tubes the following day, which stated that their “specifications are not consistent with a gas centrifuge end use.”
Additionally, there was no evidence for “related procurement efforts” that would be also required to produce centrifuges, and if the tubes were intended for this purpose, it would be,
The DOE report stated,
Additionally, the lax manner in which Iraq had handled its procurement of the tubes,
After further research, the DOE issued another report on May 9 noting that,
The CIA responded with a report on June 14 acknowledging the error of its initial assessment.
It admitted that the tubes,
Once again, no rationale was offered for its differing assessment from the nation’s top experts on centrifuges at the DOE.
The CIA issued another report on July 2 falsely claiming that they,
It falsely stated that,
The IAEA first became alerted to the tubes issue in the summer of 2001, and immediately recognized that Iraq had previously used tubes with identical dimensions in a conventional rocket program, for which there was extensive documentation.
A CIA analyst from the Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) identified simply as “Joe”, was largely responsible for creating and propagating the argument that the tubes were intended for a centrifuge program.
He travelled to Vienna in July to try to convince the IAEA experts of his position, arguing that after cutting the tubes and machining down the thickness, they could be used in a centrifuge that would then have the same mass as rotors in a Zippe centrifuge design (named after Soviet scientist Gernot Zippe).
The IAEA experts pointed out to him that there
were numerous flaws in his analysis, such as the fact that he had failed to
calculate the mass of end caps and other components of such a design.
The Senate Committee’s report offered useful insight into how the CIA was controlling the flow of information on the tubes, revealing how,
When asked by the Committee why this was so, CIA officials replied that they were written as responses to specific questions and intended for the President.
Apparently relying on the CIA’s false claim that the tubes were a “match” to the Zippe design and being out of the loop about the DOE’s contrary assessment, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) produced a report on August 2, 2001 embracing the CIA’s case with the comment that,
On August 17, the DOE released an additional extensive analysis, once again observing, as had the IAEA, that Iraq had previously used tubes with “the same specifications” to manufacture rockets.
The DOE reiterated that the tubes were not well suited for a centrifuge and that the aluminum used,
Furthermore, the diameter of the tubes was smaller than any known centrifuge and,
In other words, as the Senate Committee later noted,
Moreover, the DOE also noted, the anodized surface,
Apparently still relying entirely upon the CIA’s assessment, the DIA issued a report in November acknowledging that,
The DOE tried to set the record straight yet again in a report in December that stated,
The DOE’s experts pointed out the inefficiency of any centrifuge built using these tubes, concluding,
One analyst later expressed his view to the Senate Committee that if Iraq truly intended these tubes for use in a centrifuge, then,
The CIA was undeterred, publishing another report on August 1, 2002 ignoring the DOE assessment and claiming that the tubes’ supposed high tolerances, high cost, and secrecy in procurement were evidence that they were intended for centrifuges.
The DIA the following month once again repeated the false claim that alternative uses were “possible” but,
Again in September, the CIA repeated as evidence
for an intended centrifuge application its false claims of secrecy in
procurement, high cost, tight tolerances, the anodized coating, and that the
tubes “matched” known centrifuge specifications. It concluded that it was
“unlikely” they were intended for a rocket program.
David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) released a report on September 23, 2002 that noted,
Furthermore, Albright wrote,
In a second later report, Albright relayed that one expert,
The New York Times similarly later reported that on September 13, after the administration had leaked information about the tubes to the press and made their rounds on the talk shows touting their claims,
Albright also made publicly known that the tubes would have to be modified significantly in order to be used for centrifuges, and also that UNSCOM had seen thousands of similar tubes in Iraq - for use in its rocket program.
Further public information contradicting the U.S. government’s claims came when the British government released a dossier on September 24, 2002 admitting that,
The CIA released an unclassified version of its National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraqi WMD in October 2002, which stated that the tubes,
Thus “most intelligence specialists” included
“Joe” and a number of analysts within the CIA and DIA, while excluding the
nation’s top experts on centrifuges who had repeatedly pointed out that the
CIA and DIA assessments were relying on false information.
The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), it also noted,
The NIE included an assessment from the Army National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) that, due to the tubes’ specifications, they were “highly unlikely to be intended for rocket motor cases.”
Yet the IAEA had confirmed that the Iraqis were attempting to reverse engineer an Italian rocket, the Medusa, which used the same material, 7075-T6 aluminum tubes with the same dimensions.
Furthermore, in a written response to the Senate Committee, the NGIC acknowledged that,
The NGIC additionally acknowledged that,
The apparent explanation for the contradiction was once again the CIA’s control of information.
One expert told David Albright “that he did not believe the CIA analysts presented NGIC with complete information about the case” prior to the publication of the NIE.
The Department of Defense (DOD) similarly
confirmed that the information its analysts had relied upon had been
provided by the CIA. One engineer from the DOD told the Senate Committee
that it became clear to him that the CIA “had an agenda” and was trying “to
bias us, to encourage us to come up with [the] answer” that agreed with
their own assessment.
Another engineer agreed,
The DOE observed that this was common practice for inexperienced engineers trying to reverse engineer equipment, and the IAEA also confirmed this explanation.
Further illustrating the dishonesty of the CIA’s assessment, the DOE explained that the tubes used in the U.S. Mark-66 rocket in fact had tolerances that exceeded those of the tubes procured by the Iraqis. As for the supposed “high cost” of the tubes, DOD design engineers responsible for U.S. rocket systems told the Senate Committee that this was “not correct at all”.
On the contrary, high-strength aluminum is,
The CIA claimed in the NIE that it had successfully spun one of the tubes and that its test showed that it was “suitable as a centrifuge rotor”, even though the DOE had written an analysis of the spin test stating that it actually,
The NIE did not repeat the false claim that the
tubes were a “match” to the Zippe design, but did claim their dimensions
were “similar”, and it omitted the fact that they were not consistent with
Iraq’s previous centrifuge designs and the fact that the tubes’
specifications matched perfectly those used in Iraq’s existing rocket
In January 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei briefed the Security Council that Iraq had explained its attempts to acquire the tubes,
In order to verify the Iraqi explanation, the IAEA had conducted an extensive investigation finding that,
The assessment of the DOE, as already noted, had already been made public, and the INR’s agreement with the DOE was also reported by the New York Times in January.
On January 27, ElBaradei briefed the Council again that after extensive investigation, the IAEA had concluded that,
He added that,
President Bush nevertheless claimed two days later that Saddam Hussein,
Secretary of State Colin Powell repeated the administration’s case at the Security Council on February 5, declaring that,
While acknowledging that there “are differences of opinion” about the tubes, Powell claimed that,
The truth was that, as David Albright later observed,
Powell disingenuously and meaninglessly declared that,
As one DOE analyst would later explain to the Senate Committee, you could also theoretically “turn your new Yugo into a Cadillac”.
Retired Oak Ridge nuclear scientist Dr. Houston G. Wood, one of the top experts in the world on centrifuges, similarly explained that,
Powell lied that the tubes “are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets”, even though his own department’s intelligence agency had sent him a memo identifying this claim as a key concern and stating,
He cited the anodized coating as evidence, asking why Iraq would,
In fact, the anodized coating was a clear
indication the tubes were intended for rockets, the coating being to protect
the tubes from the weather; and since the tubes would require machining to
modify them for use in centrifuges, Powell, if he was honest, should have
asked why the Iraqis would go to all that trouble if the coating would soon
be removed to make centrifuges anyways.
Thus, even before the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq ostensibly to rid it of WMD because the world could not wait for the proof of Iraq’s possession of nuclear weapons to come “in the form of a mushroom cloud” (below video), it was public knowledge that the British government, the IAEA, the top U.S. experts on centrifuges at the DOE, and the INR all agreed that the evidence did not indicate that the tubes were intended for use in a nuclear weapons program.
On July 9, 2004, the Senate Committee published its report on pre-war intelligence.
It concluded that,
In the CIA’s final report on the findings of the ISG in September 2004, the agency reluctantly admitted that,
Needless to say, given the actual facts, the narrative that the admittedly false claims that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program were the product of an “intelligence failure” cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny.
This claim is completely fictional. Simply stated, the fact of the matter is that the government lied, and no attempt by individuals or agencies responsible for these lies seeking to obfuscate and deny that fact could possibly be considered a “mea culpa” by any serious and honest analyst.
The failure of journalists to objectively state
the obvious fact that government officials lied and the near universal
willingness to repeat the official fictional narrative of “intelligence
failure” following the invasion is a further reflection of the same
intellectual culture in the U.S. that was witnessed prior to the war, when
the mainstream media uncritically parroted the government’s claims and
reported lies and deceptions as fact.
On February 24, 2001, Colin Powell stated that Saddam Hussein,
When he went before the Security Council two years later to present the administration’s case for war, he knew he was lying.
He knew that the claims he was making were not
supported by the available evidence. He knew that his claims were
contradicted by the available intelligence assessments of the nation’s top
experts in their respective fields.
On October 7, 2002, President Bush declared,
According to Senator Bill Nelson, prior to the Congressional vote on the resolution granting the President the authority to enforce U.N. resolutions through the Security Council - (contrary to popular belief, the invasion of Iraq was a violation of the U.S. Constitution as well as international law) - members of Congress were told that Iraq could deliver anthrax to U.S. cities using UAVs.
In his February 5 presentation before the Security Council, Colin Powell showed a picture of an Iraqi Mirage jet aircraft that he claimed was spraying “simulated anthrax”.
He claimed that spray tanks capable of dispersing chemical or biological weapons were,
After making these allegations, he turned his attention to Iraq’s actual known UAVs, which were smaller and lighter than a jet aircraft.
These, he said,
He argued that,
For this argument, Powell was relying on the ignorance of his audience.
He could not have been unaware that Iraq’s UAVs necessarily functioned by use of a guiding signal that had a limited range. Thus, while the UAVs were shown to be able to carry enough fuel to fly a distance of 500 km, Powell in fact offered no evidence to contradict Iraq’s declaration that its UAVs had a range of 80 km.
This was deliberate sleight-of-hand, a blatant effort to deceive.
He further stated that,
The U.N. inspectors, however, had not arrived at the same conclusions.
In his report to the Security Council on March 7, Hans Blix only briefly mentioned Iraq’s UAVs, saying,
In summing up the matter of Iraq’s UAV’s in the book he later wrote on the inspections process, Blix wrote,
And, as Blix also noted, the Air Force was,
Turning to the actual intelligence underlying the administration’s claims, the Air Force experts had indeed assessed that Iraq’s drone aircraft were not designed or intended to disperse chemical or biological weapons, but for surveillance.
The classified version of the October 2002 NIE stated that Iraq was,
The NIE judged that the UAVs were “probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents”, and even went so far as to declare that,
However, the NIE also made known the “dissent” from these judgments from the nation’s top experts on UAVs.
Air Force analysts agreed that “although CBW delivery is an inherent capability”, they did not believe Iraq’s UAVs were intended for that purpose, but rather had a “primary role of reconnaissance”.
The Air Force judged that,
The CIA relegated this judgment of the nation’s top experts on UAVs to a footnote.
Even more revealing, the NIE’s section on biological warfare disclosed that “we have no information linking the current UAV development with BW delivery” - and recall that their use to deliver chemical weapons was even “less likely”.
Thus, the CIA admitted that no evidence actually
existed to support its own judgments that Iraq’s drones were intended to
DIA analysts also testified that they had also agreed with the Air Force’s judgments, but had similarly declined to make this known in the NIE. Even analysts within the CIA agreed with the experts from the Air Force.
One CIA UAV analyst admitted to the Committee that,
Others revealed that,
The reason offered for this was that,
In other words, information which did not
support the CIA’s judgments was deliberately omitted - or, in the case of
the Air Force’s “dissent”, relegated to a footnote.
The picture begins to emerge that what the CIA described as “dissent” in the October NIE was in fact regarded by all of the top American experts on UAVs as sound analysis.
Once again, it becomes clear that far from there
having been an “intelligence failure”, the government’s claims simply were
not supported by the available intelligence.
Subsequent assessments, however, acknowledged that Iraq,
Part of Powell’s claims regarding Iraq’s UAVs included the allegation that Iraq had weaponized anthrax that it could spray from the drones.
The facts are clear that this claim, too, was not the product of an “intelligence failure”.
Bush told the U.N. General Assembly on September 12, 2002, that,
The official he was referring to, of course, was Hussein Kamal, who had in fact testified that “nothing remained” of Iraq’s biological weapons, that they were “destroyed” in 1991 - a fact Bush could not have been unaware of but deliberately omitted in order to deceive the public.
On September 28, Bush stated,
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said on September 19, 2002, that Iraq had,
Powell claimed that Iraq,
That Iraq had destroyed WMD in 1991 was public knowledge.
The British dossier in September 2002 acknowledged that,
The meaningless use of the adverb “illegally” aside, the relevance of this statement was that it implicitly acknowledged that there was no evidence that Iraq still possessed biological weapons.
It rather shifted the burden of proof so that no such evidence was required; Iraq rather had to prove that it didn’t have such weapons.
The dossier explained the issue regarding anthrax succinctly:
In other words, the Iraqis admitted to having produced 8,500 liters of anthrax before the Gulf War, but they could possibly have produced more.
As Hans Blix similarly explained,
That is to say, there was no evidence Iraq still possessed biological weapons; U.N. inspectors just hadn’t reached the point where they could declare that they had verified that all of Iraq’s WMD had been destroyed, as Iraq claimed.
Blix explained further that,
There was “no convincing evidence for its
destruction”, Blix said, but he added that “Iraq has provided little
evidence for this production” - that is to say, there was no evidence Iraq
had destroyed all of its anthrax, but neither was there any evidence it
still possessed any, and there was “little evidence” Iraq ever actually
produced that much in the first place.
Furthermore, Ritter explained, the anthrax that Iraq had produced had a shelf life that would have rendered it useless many years prior.
Iraq had produced only “liquid bulk anthrax”, which “even under ideal storage, germinates in three years, becoming useless.” Contrary to Powell’s claims, there was no evidence that Iraq had ever successfully produced dried anthrax.
David Kay later admitted in testimony to the U.S. Senate that Iraq had never dried anthrax, but only a “simulant”.
The CIA admitted in its final report that the,
A senior scientist in Iraq’s biological weapons program during the 1980s, Dr. Nissar Hindawi, told the New York Times in April 2003 that Iraq had produced “huge quantities” of liquid anthrax before the Gulf War.
He also confirmed that they had never been able
to make dried anthrax.
This psychological association between Iraq and 9/11 was such successful propaganda that, according to one poll, 70% of Americans believed that Iraq was involved in the attacks.
Thus the country was suffering from a mass delusion resulting from the government’s deceptions, such as Dick Cheney’s lie that it had been “pretty well confirmed” that alleged hijacker Mohammed Atta had met with Iraqi intelligence agents in Prague - the truth being that U.S. intelligence had concluded this meeting had never occurred.
Indeed, the U.S. media had been full of baseless
reports accusing Iraq of being behind the anthrax mailings, a false
perception Powell was deliberately trying to exploit to manufacture consent
Ritter also pointed out that,
The strain used in the post-9/11 anthrax
mailings, on the other hand, was the Ames strain - which had been produced
at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)
at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
A Senate report from 1994 stated that,
The CIA’s final report, popularly known as the Duelfer Report after Charles Duelfer, who replaced David Kay as the head of the ISG, would later admit, after its failure to find WMD in Iraq, that,
Returning to Powell’s claims that Iraq had “mobile production facilities used to make biological agents”, this allegation came from a single source, code-named “Curveball”, whom the CIA had never actually interviewed.
The CIA had rather relied on German reporting, which had come complete with warnings that he was a drunk and that his claims couldn’t be corroborated.
On May 30, 2003, several months after the invasion of Iraq, Bush declared that U.S. forces had,
He answered his own question,
He then made a vain attempt to belittle his critics by saying,
Inconveniently for the administration, a British team investigated the trailers and concluded that nothing of the sort had been found.
One biological weapons expert told The Observer,
As it turned out, it was the U.K. that had sold
the system, known as an Artillery Meteorological System, or “Amets”, to Iraq
The simple fact of the matter is that there was no evidence that Iraq still possessed WMD. The fact of the matter is that top experts in their respective fields within the U.S. intelligence community had correctly assessed that Iraq did not have WMD or ongoing WMD programs.
The CIA’s judgments to the contrary were not the result of a “failure” within the intelligence community to correctly analyze and assess the evidence, but of a systematic effort to control information in order to limit “dissent” and stovepipe products to administration officials that would support the government’s official policy of regime change.
In other words, the policy was not based on the
intelligence, but the CIA’s intelligence products were rather based on the
The narrative of an “intelligence failure” attempts to pin responsibility on analysts within the intelligence community rather than on senior administration officials such as,
It attempts to shift the blame for the lies of senior policymakers onto analysts who supposedly didn’t do their jobs correctly.
But the truth of the matter is that analysts who
did do their job were sidelined and silenced, while assessments from
analysts like “Joe” who dishonestly touted the official line were stovepiped
to policymakers in “intelligence” products containing judgments completely
unsupported by the available evidence.
Seen in this light, it becomes evident that the recently released CIA document is anything but a “mea culpa”.
It is, on the contrary, just more of the same.