Manipulated Intelligence

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Color me unsurprised:

The lengthy account by New York Times reporter Judy Miller about her grand jury testimony in the CIA  leak case inadvertently provides a revealing window into how the Bush administration manipulated  journalists about intelligence on Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

Whatever the implications for special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe, Miller describes a conversation with Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff,  Lewis (Scooter) Libby, on July 8, 2003, where he appears to significantly misrepresent the contents of still-classified material from a crucial prewar intelligence-community document about Iraq. 

With no weapons of mass destruction having been found in Iraq and new questions being raised about the case for war, Libby assured Miller that day that the still-classified document, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), contained even stronger evidence that would support the White House’s conclusions about Iraq’s weapons programs, according to Miller’s account. 

In fact, a declassified version of the NIE was publicly released just 10 days later, and it showed almost precisely the opposite. The NIE, it turned out, contained caveats and qualifiers that had never been publicly acknowledged by the administration prior to the invasion of Iraq.  It also included key dissents by State Department intelligence analysts, Energy Department scientists and Air Force technical experts about some important aspects of the administration’s case

RELATED:  A speech by ex-Powell aide Larry Wilkinson is the talk of the leftosphere.  He spoke at the New America Foundation, delivering a speech excoriating the WH’s pre-war decision-making: "What I saw was a cabal between" Cheney and Defense Sec. Don Rumsfeld, "on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made." As the Financial Times reports, Wilkerson "said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out" with Powell, though Wilkerson still said: "I admire this in him, he is the world’s most loyal soldier."   Tim Dunlop, at The Road to Surfdom says:

"As much as I’m happy to see these high-level people coming out and calling a spade a spade in regard to the Bush administration, it would’ve been nice if they’d had the decency to spill the beans a couple of years back, back when it really mattered."

How true.