11-06-2005, 07:41 AM
And the unraveling of the Bush lie machine continues.
By DOUGLAS JEHL
Published: November 6, 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 — A top member of Al Qaeda 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.
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 8Qaeda 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.’’
The newly declassified portions of the document were made available by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mr. Levin said the new evidence of early doubts about Mr. Libi’s statements dramatized what he called the Bush administration’s misuse of prewar intelligence to try to justify the war in Iraq. That is an issue that Mr. Levin and other Senate Democrats have been seeking to emphasize, in part by calling attention to the fact that the Republican-led Senate intelligence committee has yet to deliver a promised report, first sought more than two years ago, on the use of prewar intelligence.
An administration official declined to comment on the D.I.A. report on Mr. Libi. But Senate Republicans, put on the defensive when Democrats forced a closed session of the Senate this week to discuss the issue, have been arguing that Republicans were not alone in making prewar assertions about Iraq, illicit weapons and terrorism that have since been discredited.
Mr. Libi, who was captured in Pakistan at the end of 2001, recanted his claims in January 2004. That prompted the C.I.A., a month later, to recall all intelligence reports based on his statements, a fact recorded in a footnote to the report issued by the Sept. 11 commission.
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. 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.
The report issued by the Senate intelligence committee in July 2004 questioned whether some versions of intelligence report prepared by the C.I.A. in late 2002 and early 2003 raised sufficient questions about the reliability of Mr. Libi’s claims.
But neither that report nor another issued by the Sept. 11 commission made any reference to the existence of the earlier and more skeptical 2002 report by the D.I.A., which supplies intelligence to military commanders and national security policy makers. As an official intelligence report, labeled DITSUM No. 044-02, the document would have circulated widely within the government, and it would have been available to the C.I.A., the White House, the Pentagon and other agencies. It remains unclear whether the D.I.A. document was provided to the Senate panel.
In outlining reasons for its skepticism, the D.I.A. report noted that 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.
“It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers,’’ the February 2002 report said. “Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.’’
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
11-07-2005, 04:15 AM
And the unraveling of the Bush lie machine continues.
One more smoking gun to admit as evidence.
Look for the wingnuts to start up with the usual "but 'so-and-so' thought Iraq had WMD too" bullsh!t.
Fact: "So-and-so" didn't know he/she was being presented with deliberately cooked intel by Team Thug.
And, most important of all, "so-and-so" didn't make the decision, based on this same deliberately fixed intel, to invade and occupy Iraq - that was BushCo.
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
11-07-2005, 11:08 PM
US intel on Iraq-Qaeda ties 'intentionally misleading'
Mon Nov 7, 6:50 AM ET
WASHINGTON, (AFP) - US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with
Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.
Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of
Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.
These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state
Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.
"This newly declassified information provides additional, dramatic evidence that the administrations pre-war statements were deceptive," said Democrat Carl Levin, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who pushed for partial declassification of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document.
The report provides a critical analysis of information provided by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an Islamic radical and bin Laden associate, who served as senior military trainer at a key Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before it was destroyed by US forces in late 2001.
In captivity, al-Libi initially told his DIA debriefers that Al-Qaeda operatives had received training from Iraq in manufacturing poisons and deadly chemical agents.
But the DIA, according to its assessment, did not find the information credible.
US military intelligence officers concluded that al-Libi lacked "specific details on the Iraqis involved, the... materials associated with the assistance and the location where training occurred," the report said.
"It is possible," the document went on to say, "he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers."
The DIA suggested al-Libi, who had been under interrogation for several weeks, "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."
Just the same, president Bush insisted during an October 2002 trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, that his administration had learned that "Iraq has trained Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."
He repeated the same charge in February 2003.
The administration's drumbeat over alleged Iraq-Qaeda ties reached a crescendo that same month when Powell went before the
United Nations to accuse Iraq of hiding tons of chemical and biological weapons and nurturing nuclear ambitions.
His speech, according to congressional officials, even contained a direct reference to al-Libi's testimony, albeit not his name.
"I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al-Qaeda," insisted the secretary of state, who now says he regrets voicing many of the charges contained in that speech.
The unveiling of the documents came as Senate Democrats are stepping up pressure on their Republican colleagues, trying to force them to complete a second report on pre-war intelligence that would focus on whether members of the Bush administration had misused or intentionally misinterpreted intelligence findings.
The first report on the role of US intelligence agencies in the run-up to the war was released in June 2004.
Jay Rockefeller, the top Democrat of the Senate intelligence committee, said the case of al-Libi illustrates the need to look into how pre-war intelligence was used.
"He's an entirely unreliable individual upon whom the White House was placing substantial intelligence trust," the senator said of al-Libi Sunday. "And that is a classic example of a lack of accountability to the American people."
Al-Libi formally recanted last year, according to congressional officials.
L.A. BRONCOS FAN
11-08-2005, 05:30 AM
There's faith based intelligence, reality based intelligence...
...and there's another kind.
I've been watching the Bush presidency for the last 5 years and I can say that nothing in my experience matches the desperate, systematic, and pre-emptive obfuscation the Bush administration has applied to the yellowcake brouhaha..
...except the Bush TANG issue of his evasion of military service.
It makes me think that there must be some existential, administration-threatening danger hidden in the Niger story that the Bush White House has marshalled its full intellectual, legal, political, and PR energies to overcome.
The Bush administration knowingly and intentionally recruited Berlusconi's help to generate fraudulent intelligence in Italy about Iraq's nuclear activities that could be laundered through British intelligence, thereby rendering it untraceable and unexaminable - and legitimized by MI6. Then it was stovepiped to the White House national security apparatus, and cynically purveyed to the American public by Bush and his foreign policy team as high quality, actionable intelligence justifying pre-emptive attack on Iraq.
Quite a mouthful, I know. But it is the only scenario I can think of that explains the almost unimaginable scope, multi-level tendentiousness, and attention to detail of the administration's efforts to discredit Joe Wilson.
It wouldn't have seemed to be necessary, let alone difficult, to raise questions in the public mind about Joe Wilson. Just the other day Wonkette was snarking about his showboating ways.
But not only reliable tools such as Max Boot, in the exercise of their normal duties as White House waterboys, are going to enormous lengths to twist Wilson's statements in an attempt to build the case that he is a discreditable liar. Senator Pat Roberts' intelligence committee whitewash also labored mightily the same end. And so did Karl. And Scooter. The British even pitched in with a whitewash of their own, the Butler report. In what appears to be a rolling cluster****, the Italians also seem to be building a shaky edifice of assertion, denial, retraction, and confusion to deflect blame and obscure the true story of their role in the yellowcake affair.
Plamegate. It's not just about abject GOP toadies. The White House decision makers and agenda setters - policy guys, not just pathetic flacks like Fleischer and McClellan - are involved. And within the heart of the White House, the highest-ranking, most powerful staffers - Rove and Libby - are obsessively compiling thick binders on Wilson, composing convoluted, multi-level anti-Wilson talking points, carefully and systematically leaking, creating alibis, and generating complex cover stories (and in the end, perjuring themselves before grand juries) to conceal their interest and involvement. And not only our government. Other governments are recruited into the cover-up.
And for what?
After all, Joe was right. There was nothing to the Niger allegations. Big whoop.
If the story was simply that the White House had drunk deeply and gullibly from the sewers of unreliable intelligence, why waste time on Joe Wilson? Just say oops, we erred on the side of caution, embraced the worst-case scenario out of concern for the safety of the whole ****ing planet, Joe Wilson came up a little bit of non-corroborating intel that didn't make it up to the top of the chain of command, Joe can have his 15 minutes of fame, now get outta here... But if the real story is that the White House crapped in the Italian sewer itself, then hurried downstream for an energizing drink, then sliming Joe Wilson is a desperate attempt to prevent piecemeal exposure of a truly egregious, politically unforgivable crime.
And if it turned out the CIA was never brought into the Niger plot, the pattern of action, circumvention, omission, and duplicity by the White House with relation to the CIA and the yellowcake story might reveal a web of conspiracy.
I don't believe that Cheney was ever interested in having somebody go to Niger. He goes to great lengths to say he didn't send Wilson and didn't read the report on his trip. Cheney never says, as far as I've read, that he ever asked the CIA to send somebody or thought it would be a good idea to check out a story firsthand that, if true, might portend nuclear annihilation for the United States.
I think the CIA sent Wilson on its own initiative. Some CIA apparatchik who wasn't with the program - who didn't understand that Cheney was coming to Langley just to lean on the analysts to provide an ass-covering endorsement of the yellowcake allegations (like "Based on an analysis of Iraqi intentions and activities in Africa, it can be assumed that blah blah blah") - took the dumbass, career-ending risk of trying to acquire actual, objective intelligence on Iraq's WMDs by sending some guy to Niger to talk to someone.
When Cheney found out that the CIA sent someone to Niger - not a reliable member of the neocon team who would be clearly tasked on what was expected and come back with useful misinformation and innuendo to support the yellowcake story, but an informed skeptic with a certain amount of public credibility and reputation - he went ballistic and became convinced that the manufactured story was under threat, not only from Wilson's story but from the CIA. Scooter and Rove were tasked with destroying Wilson's credibility - and viability as a vehicle for further CIA revelations and an alternate narrative for what happened with the yellowcake fiasco.
In other words, the Wilson revelations could not be allowed to become a bolthole from which the CIA version of events emerged.
To deny the CIA the use of Wilson as a credible channel for protecting itself as an institution from being scapegoated for intelligence failures - and to keep attention from being drawn to an alternate scenario in which the administration not only cherry-picked but manufactured and laundered false intelligence - Wilson was attacked comprehensively and intensively and the CIA was thereby discredited by its association with Wilson.
So Wilson is just another "intelligence failure", another example of the sloppiness bordering on dishonesty, incompetence, nepotism, and inbred culture of the CIA.
What should be a CIA triumph - or at least, a legitimate talking point (as in "at least we gathered some real intel through Joe Wilson's trip that pointed to the truth about yellowcake") - instead becomes an enormous political imbroglio in which backing Wilson becomes inextricably and fatally linked to disloyalty to the Bush administration.
As a result, I don't think disgruntled CIA officers are lining up to cry on Porter Goss's shoulder, whistle-blow to Pat Roberts, or blab to the papers about what they know when they know that Dick Cheney and his proxies are ready to drop the same 500-pound ****hammer on their heads that Joe Wilson got. (And, I might add, the same kind of hammer that David Kelly and the BBC got in the UK. Government pushbacks against Wilson and Kelly - and the CIA and MI6 - occurred at the same time, in July 2003. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a piece of Bush and Blair coordinated strategy to make sure their spooks kept their lips zipped about their governments' use of fraudulent intel.)
Again, somehow this all-out campaign against the CIA doesn't seem necessary if the issue is simply faith-based Cheney reading of intelligence vs. CIA reality-based intel. The CIA has been slimed so effectively by the neo-cons and by the rollover of its senior staff during the prelude to the Iraq war that it doesn't seem necessary to go to engage in an intensive pre-emptive assault to forestall what could easily be dismissed as self-serving CIA carping. Being right on one little piece of Iraq isn't going to help the CIA when the world is happy to believe it got the rest wrong.
Unless, as I posited before, that the insignificant crack in the dam represented by Joe Wilson's little trip and op-ed must be repaired, before further revelations spurt out and people start looking at the overall handling of the yellowcake allegations within the intelligence and national security apparatus, connections between the White House and Berlusconi's political and media empire as well as CIA and SISMI, MI6, NSC, WHIG...and VPOTUS, a.k.a. Dick Cheney.
Especially if we're talking about a conspiracy to forge documents that excluded the usual suspects - the CIA - that possess the experience and ability to efficiently, effectively, and clandestinely create and propagate them, and instead was being handled off the books by a high-risk, off-the-books gang of enthusiasts, incompetents, and criminals, supervised by overworked, high-level staffers slumming uncomfortably and amateurishly in a dangerous, unfamiliar environment.
Timelines get assembled, people connect dots, evidence accumulates, somebody blabs...
...and then the White House might face the politically unacceptable suspicion that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence and motive and evidence of predisposition - but no convincing refutation - of the allegation that the White House, through proxies in the US, Italy, and the UK, planted and exploited a yellowcake allegation that it knew was false, for the purpose of stampeding the US people and government into war with Iraq.
That's as close as you can get to treason without betraying this country to its enemies.
If this is the case, the fact that Plamegate is resolving itself in the public eye as simply a story of near pathological vindictiveness, deception, abuse of power, and disregard for national security
...instead of simple treason...
must be source of intense relief to the White House.
- Peter Lee