June 04, 2003
PLACING BLAME....Via Tim Dunlop comes this stunner from Newsday:
the behest of Congress, a handful of CIA analysts are investigating
whether the agency and its sister organizations buckled under
administration pressure and produced exaggerated estimates to
policy-makers about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or its alleged
links to al-Qaida.
But these officials will not be able to review the performance of a
small office inside the Pentagon that critics claim routinely distorted
the CIA's intelligence to support a policy to invade Iraq: the Office of
Special Plans and Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
Is this unbelievable or what? It's the Office of Special Plans that everyone thinks cooked the reports.
Is Congress really going to let the Bush administration get away with
making the CIA the scapegoat for this? Apparently so: Republican
Senator John Warner is in charge of the Senate investigating committee,
and as Newsday says:
But, this source said,
Warner may not be inclined to press the Pentagon for its information.
"The question is how much of a [Bush administration] loyalist he really
is," he said.
It's hard to believe, but I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the CIA these days.
UPDATE: Here is my post about the OSP from last month, and here is Seymour Hersh's New Yorker story about the whole CIA-OSP shootout. It's a must read if you want to know what this is all about.
Posted by Kevin Drum at June 4, 2003 10:15 AM
I'm reading this differently: ...a small office inside the
Pentagon that critics claim routinely distorted the CIA's intelligence
to support a policy to invade Iraq...
The charge is that the Pentagon--presumably under pressure from
Rumsfeld and Co.--DISTORTED the CIA analysis. I'm skeptical of this,
but it's one hell of a charge if it can be proven.
It's pretty widely believed. Of course, there's no way to prove it one way or another if you don't even investigate them....
"It's pretty widely believed" is rather vague. I don't see
throngs of people marching on the White House. Or even Tom Daschle or
Howard Dean shouting from the rooftops.
"The charge is that the Pentagon--presumably under pressure from
Rumsfeld and Co.--DISTORTED the CIA analysis. I'm skeptical of this,
but it's one hell of a charge if it can be proven."
Skeptical? Rumsfeld *specifically created* a group at the Pentagon,
presumably staffed by hand-picked individuals, to 're-evaluate' the
intelligence from the CIA, because the CIA wasn't drawing conclusions
In other words, if the CIA had some evidence that it had marked as
'highly questionable', but which happened to support Rumsfeld's desired
conclusion, his special group would 're-evaluate' it as being credible.
ie, if some Iraqi defector claimed that Saddam had a thriving nuclear
program, and the CIA evaluated it as being not trustworthy (for example
if it was outlandish and not backed up with any information),
Rumsfeld's people could come along and decide it was good intelligence,
even though it was outlandish and not backed up with evidence.
It seems Rumsfeld thought the CIA was being too 'conservative' with their analysis, playing it too 'safe'.
Because, you know, when it comes to risking lives, and billions of
dollars, and a nation's credibility... why bother being conservative?
James wrote: ""It's pretty widely believed" is rather vague. I don't
see throngs of people marching on the White House. Or even Tom Daschle
or Howard Dean shouting from the rooftops."
First, the 'liberal' media hasn't really covered the OSP much.
Second, if Daschle spoke up he'd be torn apart by that same 'liberal'
media, in a pile-on fed by faxes from the RNC. Odds are they'd say he
was being a paranoid conspiracy theorist kook. The Democrats have
learned to keep their heads down like good submissives.
Third, if Howard Dean was complaining about it, nobody would pay any attention.
Clinton was convinced that Saddam had WMD's.
RI Joel writes: "Clinton was convinced that Saddam had WMD's."
Yeah, well in 1998, people were convinced the New Economy would keep
growing forever, too; people were writing books like "Dow 36,000";
people were investing in sock puppets.
Things change in 5 years.
We *know* he had WMD in the Reagan/Bush era. He *may* have had them
in 1998. It looks like he didn't bother spending money on them since
1998, and probably got rid of them.
then maybe we should ask Clinton where they are.
Clinton didn't think -- or try to make the American people think --
that the danger of Saddam's WMDs was so great as to necessitate war.
It's fine to think that something may be true; the problem is when you
take an extreme measure in response. I think cars contribute to
environmental problems, but that belief hasn't caused me to try to walk
to work and dodge the traffic getting on and off the Beltway.
The greatest likelihood is that Saddam got rid of WMDs between the
last time inspectors found any, and the end of the war. At least I hope
The alternative is that the WMDs may be in the hands of someone who's even more of a loose cannon than Saddam.
I surprised that you're surprised, Calpundit. The whole reason
the small "intelligence" group was hand-picked by Rumsfeld and run from
inside the Pentagon is to protect it from any possible accountability
After all, not only is the CIA a bunch of worry-warts and grandmas,
so is congress, and so are the American people. Only Rumsfeld and those
in his immediate circle have the fortitude and historical perspective
to make these bold decisions.
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