Saturday, October 23, 2004

Politicizing intelligence

Politicizing intel....

Zillions of tax payers' dollars are spent for intel gathering every year with some 15 agencies in the snoopin' business.

Unfortunately, the views of analysts who do not toe the official line are often ignored and/or their views skewed to justify preconceived notions.

Once intel is tailored to the requirements of a given administration to justify its actions, such as dragging our nation into an UNprovoked war, all the money spent is basically wasted.

To this day, Bush-Cheney use DISinformation provided by Douglas Feith's office (read: Sharonites) on the campaign trail that does not accurately reflect the views of intelligence services.

"Neoconservatives" such as Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Libby and others with close ties to Israel's Likud party (Sharonites) have been instrumental in making the case for war on Iraq starting in the mid-nineties.

In fact, their "Project for a New American Century" called not only for removing Saddam but, for restructuring the whole Middle East thereby "cleaning up" Israel's neighborhood.

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld proved receptive to their goals given that they too were interested in removing Saddam to allow their campaign contributors access to an OIL-rich nation.

Thus, the "Bush-Sharon Axis" was born and Americans were dragged into war under false pretenses.

New York Times - October 23, 2004

How to Skew Intelligence

It's long been obvious that the allegations about Saddam Hussein's dangerous weapons and alliance with Osama bin Laden were false. But as the election draws closer, the remaining question is to what extent President Bush's team knew the allegations were wrong and used them anyway to persuade Americans to back the invasion of Iraq.

A report issued Thursday by the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin of Michigan, shows that on the question of an Iraqi-Qaeda axis, Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and others offered an indictment that was essentially fabricated in the office of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy.

Mr. Levin's report does not prove that President Bush knew that the Hussein-bin Laden alliance was fiction. But officials like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz - as well as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff and the deputy national security adviser - knew that Mr. Feith's tailored conclusions were contrary to the views of the entire intelligence community. Mr. Cheney presented them to the public as confirmed truth about Iraq and Al Qaeda.

The Levin report is a primer on how intelligence can be cooked to fit a political agenda. It is another sad reminder of this administration's refusal to hold anyone accountable for the way the public was led into the war with Iraq.

It focuses on the intelligence operation set up by Mr. Rumsfeld, who had been advocating an invasion of Iraq long before Mr. Bush took office and wanted more damning evidence against Baghdad after 9/11 than the Central Intelligence Agency had.

This operation, run by Mr. Feith, tried to persuade the Pentagon's own espionage unit, the Defense Intelligence Agency, to change its conclusion that there was no alliance between Iraq and Al Qaeda. When the Defense Intelligence Agency rebuffed this blatant interference, Mr. Feith's team wrote its own report.

It took long-discredited raw intelligence and resurrected it to create the impression that there was new information supporting Mr. Feith's preordained conclusions. It misrepresented the C.I.A.'s reports and presented fifth-hand reports as authoritative, all to depict Iraq as an ally of Al Qaeda.

Bipartisan reports from the 9/11 commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the intelligence community had been right and Mr. Feith wrong: there was no operational relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and no link at all between Mr. Hussein and the 9/11 attacks.

For those who were confused before the war, and still are, by all the Bush administration's claims - that the hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi official shortly before 9/11, that a member of Al Qaeda set up a base in Iraq with the help of Mr. Hussein, that Iraq helped Al Qaeda learn to make bombs and provided it with explosives - the evidence is now clear. The Levin report, together with the 9/11 panel's findings and the Senate intelligence report, show that those claims were all cooked up by Mr. Feith's shop, which knew that the C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency had already shown them to be false.

We don't know exactly how much of that the White House knew because Mr. Feith tried to confuse things. He eliminated points that the C.I.A. disputed when he showed the intelligence agency his report, and he put them back in when he sent it to the White House.

The Bush administration called Mr. Levin's report pre-election partisan sniping. It is far more than that, but voters, unfortunately, won't get final answers.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which has reported on the C.I.A.'s actions before the war, has delayed a review of the administration's behavior until after the election. We also will not see the C.I.A.'s own report because Mr. Bush's new intelligence chief, Porter Goss, has rebuffed a bipartisan request from Congress to release it.

Voters have to decide whether to hold Mr. Bush accountable for the skewed intelligence cooked up by his administration to justify the war. <<>Intelligence

Pentagon Reportedly Skewed C.I.A.'s View of Qaeda Tie by Douglas Jehl

As recently as January 2004, a top Defense Department official misrepresented to Congress the view of American intelligence agencies about the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to a new report by a Senate Democrat.

The report said a classified document prepared by Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, not only asserted that there were ties between the Baghdad government and the terrorist network, but also did not reflect accurately the intelligence agencies' assessment - even while claiming that it did.

In issuing the report, the senator, Carl M. Levin, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said he would ask the panel to take "appropriate action'' against Mr. Feith. Senator Levin said Mr. Feith had repeatedly described the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda as far more significant and extensive than the intelligence agencies had.

The broad outlines of Mr. Feith's efforts to promote the idea of such close links have been previously disclosed.

The view, a staple of the Bush administration's public statements before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, has since been discredited by the Sept. 11 commission, which concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had "no close collaborative relationship.''

The 46-page report by Senator Levin and the Democratic staff of the Armed Services Committee is the first to focus narrowly on the role played by Mr. Feith's office. Democrats had sought to include that line of inquiry in a report completed in June by the Senate Intelligence Committee, but Republicans on the panel postponed that phase of the study until after the presidential election.

In an interview, Mr. Levin said he had concluded that Mr. Feith had practiced "continuing deception of Congress.'' But he said he had no evidence that Mr. Feith's conduct had been illegal.

Mr. Levin began the inquiry in June 2003, after Republicans on the panel, led by Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, declined to take part. He said his findings were endorsed by other Democrats on the committee, but complained that the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency had declined to provide crucial documents.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the Levin report "appears to depart from the bipartisan, consultative relationship" between the Defense Department and the Armed Services Committee, adding, "The unanimous, bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report of July 2004 found no evidence that administration officials tried to coerce, influence or pressure intelligence analysts to change their judgments."

Senator Warner said, "I take strong exception to the conclusions Senator Levin reaches." He said his view was based on the Intelligence Committee's "analysis thus far of the public and classified records."

Among the findings in the report were that the C.I.A. had become skeptical by June 2002, earlier than previously known, about a supposed meeting in April 2001 in Prague between Mohamed Atta, a leader of the Sept. 11 attacks, and an Iraqi intelligence official. Nevertheless, Mr. Feith and other senior Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, continued at least through the end of 2002 to describe the reported meeting as evidence of a possible link between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. Levin's report drew particular attention to statements by Mr. Feith in communications with Congress beginning in July 2003 about such a link.

A classified annex sent by Mr. Feith to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Oct. 27, 2003, which was disclosed two weeks later by The Weekly Standard, asserted that "Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990's to 2003,'' and concluded, "There can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to plot against Americans.''

In a Nov. 15 news release, the Defense Department said the "provision of the classified annex to the Intelligence Committee was cleared by other agencies, and done with the permission of the intelligence community.'' But Mr. Levin's report said that statement was incorrect, because the Central Intelligence Agency had not cleared release of Mr. Feith's annex.

The Levin report also disclosed for the first time that the C.I.A., in December 2003, sent Mr. Feith a letter pointing out corrections he should make to the document before providing it to Senator Levin, who had requested the document as part of his investigation.

Perhaps most critically, the report says, Mr. Feith repeated a questionable assertion concerning a Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally whose presence in Iraq was cited by the Bush administration before the war as crucial evidence of Mr. Hussein's support for terrorism.

In his Oct. 27 letter, Mr. Feith told Congress that the Iraqi intelligence service knew of Mr. Zarqawi's entry into Iraq. In recommending a correction, the C.I.A. said that claim had not been supported by the intelligence report that Mr. Feith had cited, the Levin report says. Nevertheless, the report says, Mr. Feith reiterated the assertion in his addendum, attributing it to a different intelligence report - one that likewise did not state that Iraq knew Mr. Zarqawi was in the country.

A reassessment completed by American intelligence agencies in September concluded that it is not clear whether Mr. Hussein's government harbored Mr. Zarqawi during his time in Iraq before the war, intelligence officials have said.<<


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