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August 01, 2005

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Mackenzie

The time has come for a high-level NON-PARTISAN investigation into the politicization of intelligence. It must be non-partisan rather than bi-partisan because having 2 groups of politicians or retired politicians from the 2 parties will not accomplish anything.

Instead we need a judicial-type review, with full subpoena powers and total access to all governmnent officials and all intelligence reports. We don't need another whitewash like previous Commissions here and in the UK.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has failed to keep its promise to investigate this because its Chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, is under the thumb of the White House. If they start in now it will just be another stall.

Let this review begin now before the country commits to another neocon war based on hyped intelligence.

Tulsan

The neocons scored another victory this morning with the recess appointment of John Bolton. Just last week Bolton was confirmed not as an Ambassador but as a liar when the State Department was forced to admit that Bolton had lied on a form when he stated that he had not appeared before an IG investigation when in fact he had.

Crank

And we know that disgruntled former employees and their lawyers, especially former employees who have been under investigation for multiple forms of misconduct, never make up sensational stories to try to boost the settlement value of their claims.

TexasToast

Whats you point, Tom?

It appears that the CIA and the "neo-cons" are on the same side on this one. The plaintiff's lawyer seems to be trying to augment settlement value by connecting his case to the "news." This is unusual?

How does this relate to critics of neo-cons? Color me confused.


alcibiades

It seems to me that the more important nugget is the fact that the agency had this information, but, for some unmentioned reason, did not share it either with other agencies or with senior policy makers.

Contra Mackenzie above, for one, it's hard for an honest analyst to blame Bush and his administration for acting based on certain assumptions in Iraq, when they didn't have access to the information that might lead them to suspect that that scenario was not correct.

Meanwhile the fact that the Agency is apparently as politicized as the State Department is disastrous.

Al

"Several people with detailed knowledge of the case provided information to The New York Times about his allegations, but insisted on anonymity because the matter is classified."

I eagerly await calls in the left-wing blogosphere for a full, formal investigation of who leaked this classified material. *snicker*

TM

never make up sensational stories to try to boost the settlement value of their claims

Never. And no one has ever wrapped himself in the cause du jour to gain support, either.

Well, if enough Dems rally to his side, maybe the embezzlement and sexual harassment charges will go away - if he was right about Iraq's nukes, the other stuff is irrelevant!

...but insisted on anonymity because the matter is classified."

Good point - I share your outrage.

Syl

What baloney. People believe that THIS informant was to be believed over OTHER informants who said the opposite?

Reality check time. The CIA gets conflicting information all the time. Part of an analyst's job is to sort it out.

If we hadn't taken out Saddam we would STILL be arguing about what he had and how much.

exmaple

"The Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons program, but the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers, a former C.I.A. officer has charged."

"A major element." Crikey. What about the other elements? Did mystery man believe in WMD?

TexasToast

Sorry to be obtuse - now I get it (thanks to your later posters). Because this guy has "... managed to co-opt the CIA into trumping up a sexual harassment case, a counterintelligence case, and an embezzlement case against him ...", we can clearly see that anything he says must be wrong! Its a back door ad hom at the other folks in the news who say the neo-cons heard what they wanted to hear and threw the cognitively dissonant intelligence on Iraqi WMD capability in the trash (thanks Syl!).

Syl

TT

What buttered you on the wrong side this morning?

Analysts don't throw pieces of intelligence in the wastebasket on whims. Was the individual reliable? Had this individual ever given them info before? Did previous info turn out to be true or false? Was he in a position to know? Was it first hand or second hand? Do we have other sources that can corroborate? What other intelligence do we have that meshes with this? Do we have intelligence that runs counter to his statements? Is it more reliable? More recent? Does he have anything besides his word to back it up?

That specific bit was not passed to higher ups because it was obviously deemed bogus. Whether it actually WAS bogus is not the issue. In fact the guy could have been lying through his teeth and it just turned out he was correct.

Puhlease.

TexasToast

I’m sure that weighing suorces of intelligence is exactly what analysts do – which is why they suggested on several occasions the “16 words” not be included in the SOTU.

Actually, I was just thanking you for reminding me of cognitive dissonance – an extraordinarily appropriate concept for the whole WMD brou-ha-ha.

If Richard Clarke is to be believed, GWB had Saddam in his sights on 9/12. If the DSM is to be believed, the evidence was “fixed” around the policy. If Don Rumsfeld is to be believed, we knew the WMD’s are “… around Tikrit, in that area…”. (I could insert the “greatest hits” quotation list here, but we’ve all read it before and it doesn’t seem to change anyone’s mind around here.)

So, I’m not sure that the bona fides of this particular source adds much – except as ad hom cheerleading for administration supporters.

TM

Good point by Syl, and one might note - with a new Admin in power, Saddam might have hoped to put out some useful disinformation and weaken support for sanctions. For example.

The point being, there might have been plenty of reasons, all of which seemed good at the time, to ignore this bit of intel.

James B. Shearer

Where are you seeing "a sexual harassment case"? Agents aren't (normally) supposed to have sex with their contacts because of fear they will be compromised or they will embarrass the agency but not because this is sexual harassment.

Patrick R. Sullivan

'In court documents, the former officer says that he learned in 2003 that he was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation and accused of having sex with a female contact, a charge he denies.'

Ian Fleming...roll...grave.

kim

Pretty Shitty Gang Bang.

My description of the press's attack on Rove.
===============================================

kim

The Magical War.
================

vnjagvet

What do you all make of this passage in an article by Anne Kornblut, New York Times Reporter following up on Novak's latest column today (August 2)? It is in the article's last paragraph.

"In the "Who's Who" directory for 2003, personal information about Joseph Wilson includes his origins in Bridgeport, Conn., and the names of his previous wife and his four children. His current wife is listed as Valerie Elise Plame, and their date of marriage, April 3, 1998. There is no mention of her employer."

The last sentence is a red herring, isn't it? This national publication had already revealed the identity of Mrs. Wilson. It was no secret by then that Mr. Wilson's wife was working at the CIA.

Many on this blog have made much of Rove's confirmation of the revelation that Mrs. Wilson was formerly Ms. Plame, asserting that that was the career ruining factoid.

This article establishes that was not the case by showing that the Wilsons themselves had no problem making that connection, doesn't it?

jukeboxgrad

TM: "with a new Admin in power, Saddam might have hoped to put out some useful disinformation and weaken support for sanctions"

I invite you to consider the contrary perspective, that Saddam had reason to keep his opponents (internal and external) thinking of him as armed and dangerous (until Bush held a gun to his head, which seemed to create a meaningful attitude adjustment).

Aside from that, we all now have an inkling of how Miller and Chalabi et al had their own interests to promote, and how this led to a certain amount of "disinformation" that leaned in a particular direction.

"there might have been plenty of reasons, all of which seemed good at the time, to ignore this bit of intel."

Don't you think it's interesting that most of the intel that was ignored was exactly the intel that didn't support a policy that had already been formulated (even before 9/11)? What an odd coincidence.

Sort of like how numerous election anomalies mostly leaned in one particular direction, as if the normal laws of randomness had taken a day off. What an odd coincidence.

VNJ: "It was no secret by then that Mr. Wilson's wife was working at the CIA."

This assertion is based on what evidence?

Syl

TT
"and it doesn’t seem to change anyone’s mind around here"

Throughout the 90's all I remember hearing about was what a dangerous and bad guy Saddam was and his connections with bin laden. 78% of Americans believed Saddam had something to do with 9/11 on 9/13. If Bush was NOT thinking about doing something about Saddam I would have been very very angry.

Just because some people believe the president was 'selected not elected' is no excuse to drop more than a decade's worth of knowledge down the memory hole.

So, you're right, your "greatest hits" quotation list sure won't change my mind.

Talk about selective.

Further, for those playing the hindsight game, keep in mind that we not only discovered that Saddam had no WMD stockpiles and no active nuclear program, we also discovered the OFF scandal which was eroding sanctions and the A Q Khan network which meant Saddam didn't have to start from scratch.

History did not stop in 2003. If we had not taken Saddam out, the inspectors would have declared Saddam clean and LEFT. The sanctions would be lifted and Saddam would be free to play any games he wished. With Iran going nuclear Saddam would not be sitting idle without a program of his own. With Afghanistan no longer a safe haven for Islamist goons, they would have boogied to Baghdad under Uday's auspices.

And you wonder why people such as I shrug at the WMD issue?

kim

Regard again, JBG, the second paragraph in your last post about a contrary perspective. That perspective is pretty much right on. Saddam did try to get his internal and external opponents to consider him dangerous. This is the way of a thug. Even his own military commanders believed he had WMD until quite late in the game and that he would use it against US troops. Even Joe Wilson believed that in February, right before the war. I'll refer you again to his 2/6/03 op-ed in the LATimes, which you have failed to parse into anything other than a desperately damning record of Joe Wilson's hypocrisy and unethical opportunism.


And just what behavioural changes did Bush's gun to Saddam's head cause? Any memory of what Saddam did after Bush Senior removed the gun from his head?
==============================================

kim

Syl: Well said about what could have happened if we had not taken out Saddam. The elephant in the room in most of the anti-war arguments is that to be anti-war you have to defend Saddam. What is that all about?

And many have fled from Afghanistan to Iraq. But they are not throwing out Russian Imperialists and freeing Afghanistan(for what?) and they are not fighting for Chechen independence. They are succoring the remnants of a tyrants grip and opposing the will of the Iraqis to self-determination. And the liberals have bet on the bay mare. And here comes Stewball a dancin' and a prancin', that Noble Stewball(RiceBush).
==============================================

kim

Actually I think Rice would make a fine Secretary-General after she is President, but only if she and Bush and Bolton can reform it into the body it oughta be.
==============================================

ThomasJackson

Boy I wonder if this poor sap will reveal he knew the WMD were also destroyed after meeting with Saddam's sons. Somehow I doubt he has any evidence that will stand up in court.

jukeboxgrad

SYL: "With Afghanistan no longer a safe haven for Islamist goons, they would have boogied to Baghdad under Uday's auspices."

I wonder if you've noticed that "Islamist goons" have indeed now "boogied to Baghdad." So somehow we've managed to turn a potential problem into an actual problem. I'm glad that makes you feel safer.

And of course shortly after being told that announcing timelines was a terrible idea that would only embolden the enemy, we're now being told that there will be some withdrawals just in time to influence our elections next year. I'm glad that makes you feel safer.

KIM: "Even his own military commanders believed he had WMD"

Trusting Saddam's own hype about WMD was not a smart move on our part. Likewise for trusting Chalabi's hype about WMD.

"what behavioural changes did Bush's gun to Saddam's head cause"

Short answer: letting the inspectors in and giving them lots of access.

"Any memory of what Saddam did after Bush Senior removed the gun from his head"

Holding the gun to his head (this time around) was probably a good idea. Pulling the trigger (when and how and why we did it) was not.

"opposing the will of the Iraqis to self-determination"

English translation: "opposing efforts of the Shia majority to turn Iraq into a client of Iran."

Syl

JBG

"I wonder if you've noticed that "Islamist goons" have indeed now "boogied to Baghdad."

I wonder if you've noticed our military is there to greet them.

As for timelines, they're still dependent on the Iraqi's agreement. It isn't unilateral like those crying for an 'exit strategy' called for.

jukeboxgrad

"I wonder if you've noticed our military is there to greet them."

I've noticed it's 21 fewer of our military, as of the last few days.

I've also noticed a lot fewer of our military will be there to "greet them" next year, as we pursue withdrawals designed to influence our own elections next year.

I've also noticed the "flypaper" theory (to which I think you're alluding) doesn't look so hot anymore.

"As for timelines, they're still dependent on the Iraqi's agreement"

So some claim. We'll see.

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Wilson/Plame