Nothing Like Relying on a Big Liar in Going to War
Doug Jehl reports in today’s NYTimes that a primary intelligence source for Iraqi information was branded a “likely fabricator” months before his information was used by the Administration to gin up sentiments for war. In other words, the Administration knew the guy was a big fat liar, and spread his lies for the truth anyway — which makes them, erm, big fat liars.
The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, â€œwas intentionally misleading the debriefersâ€™â€™ in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaedaâ€™s work with illicit weapons.
The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libiâ€™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. Libiâ€™s information as â€œcredibleâ€™â€™ 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 â€œweâ€™ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.â€™â€™
How many of the WHIG members knew this guy was a liar, and used his information in their media circle jerks, ginning up their support by using each other as sourcing for public anonymous quotes? How many United States soldiers have dies, lost limbs, and had their lives blown apart by this war, ginned up on information that the Administration knew was false at the time?
Additionally, there is some question whether or not the DIA provided their skeptical report to the Senate Intelligence Committee and to the 9/11 Commission when they were reviewing pre-war intelligence information. Neither Committee report mentions anything about this skeptical review, leading Jehl to speculate that the information may have been withheld.
â€œIt is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers,â€™â€™ the February 2002 report said. â€œIbn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.â€™â€™
Hmmm, withholding information that would make the Administration look bad. Who’d a thunk it?
As for blaming the CIA for giving the Administration bad intelligence on this, and using that for cover? Erm…not so much.
Mr. Powell relied heavily on accounts provided by Mr. Libi for his speech to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, saying that he was tracing â€œthe story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al Qaeda.â€™â€™
At the time of Mr. Powellâ€™s speech, an unclassified statement by the C.I.A. described the reporting, now known to have been from Mr. Libi, as â€œcredible.â€™â€™ But Mr. Levin said he had learned that a classified C.I.A. assessment at the time stated â€œthe source was not in a position to know if any training had taken place.â€™â€™
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Levin also called attention to a portion of the D.I.A. report that expressed skepticism about the idea of close collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda, an idea that was never substantiated by American intelligence but was a pillar of the administrationâ€™s prewar claims.
â€œSaddamâ€™s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements,â€™â€™ the D.I.A. report said in one of two declassified paragraphs. â€œMoreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.â€™â€™
Sounds to me like the Democrats’ closing of the Senate last week had a whole lot of teeth to it. And Republicans who are still trying to call it a “stunt” ought to be ashamed of themselves and of the Administration — deliberately lying to the American people, in such a callous and calculating way, to gin up a war that has cost so many American lives and limbs…well, I don’t even need to say it, do I?
Nothing like relying on a big, fat liar to take the nation to war. Oh, I forgot. That should have been liars. There’s always Curveball.
(Graphics love to San Francisco Independent Media Center.)