WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Friday that he would ask current and former White House aides to testify about a report by the Pentagon’s inspector general that criticizes the Pentagon for compiling “alternative intelligence” that made the case for invading Iraq.
The chairman, Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said that among those called to testify could be Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and I. Lewis Libby, a former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. Both received a briefing from the defense secretary’s policy office in 2002 on possible links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s government.
In its report on Thursday, the acting inspector general, Thomas F. Gimble, found that the work done by the Pentagon team, which was assembled by Douglas J. Feith, a former under secretary of defense for policy, was “not fully supported by the available intelligence.”
The reference to the Pentagon isn’t as explanatory as it could be. It was the Office of Special Plans, a department within the Pentagon specifically created by the Bush administration and headed by Douglas Feith.
The Build-a-War Workshop
It took far too long, but a report by the Pentagon inspector general has finally confirmed that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s do-it-yourself intelligence office cooked up a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to help justify an unjustifiable war.
The report said the team headed by Douglas Feith, under secretary of defense for policy, developed “alternative” assessments of intelligence on Iraq that contradicted the intelligence community and drew conclusions “that were not supported by the available intelligence.” Mr. Feith certainly knew the Central Intelligence Agency would cry foul, so he hid his findings from the C.I.A. Then Vice President Dick Cheney used them as proof of cloak-and-dagger meetings that never happened, long-term conspiracies between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden that didn’t exist, and — most unforgivable — “possible Iraqi coordination” on the 9/11 attacks, which no serious intelligence analyst believed.
The inspector general did not recommend criminal charges against Mr. Feith because Mr. Rumsfeld or his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, approved their subordinate’s “inappropriate” operations. The renegade intelligence buff said he was relieved.
We’re sure he was. But there is no comfort in knowing that his dirty work was approved by his bosses. All that does is add to evidence that the Bush administration knowingly and repeatedly misled Americans about the intelligence on Iraq.
Of course this all gives the Right a chance to bring out their favorite oldy moldy conspiracy theories, circumstantial evidence, and guilt by association doggerel. Powerline has posted a single video from ABC News as proof that Feith and Feith’s OSP were right, but a commenter corrects even that dating the video from 1999. So conservatives want to justify putting boots on the ground in Iraq with an ABC report from 1999. That rationale stretches any moral or strategic reason to get three thousand soldiers killed beyond reason. from the Powerline comment, February 10, 2007, A Trip Down Memory Lane
In any event, Saddam’s response was telling. Just two days after Operation Desert Fox ended he dispatched one of his top intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. As I and others have written, Hijazi was no low-level flunky. He was one of Saddam’s most trusted goons and was responsible for overseeing a good deal of the regime’s terrorist and other covert activities. It was this meeting that led to widespread reporting on the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. I collected a bunch of these reports, including the ABC News report, in “The Four-Day War.” Another, earlier piece also discusses Saddam’s conspicuous response to Operation Desert Fox.
The consensus in the media then was that there was a relationship between the two and that Saddam’s regime was very willing to work with al Qaeda against their common foe: America. And vice versa. Indeed, the reporting indicated that they had been working together even long before Operation Desert Fox.
“The consensus in the media”? Since when is the Right in favor the U.S. taking its foreign policy cues from the broadcast media. Still there is that notorious Faruq Hijazi meeting with an al-Queda representative. Republican blogger and Bush Cult member Captain’s Quarter’s sites the REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE. I guess the theory is that like most readers no one will download the report and see what it says about Hijazi. That Hijazi ever meet with any Iraqi official is all the damning evidence the Right needs. Here’s some highlights of that report that deal with Iraq, al-Queda and Hijazi ( pardon the formatting as its copy and paste from a pdf. All emphasis mine),
(U) Iraqi Support to Terrorism noted that “Sudan-where National Islamic
Front leader Hassan al-Turabi reportedly helped bin Ladin, develop contacts with
Iraq and possibly Iran-was an important venue for early meetings.“ls3 In addition,
the assessment highlighted possible contacts between bin Ladin and a senior IIS
official, Faruq Hijazi, who oversaw sensitive military and intelligence operations
with direct guidance from Saddam Hussein. The CIA noted that foreign
government intelligence service reporting indicated that bin Ladin met with Hijazi
in Khartoum in January 1996. The CIA stated that it lacked information about the
content of their conversation. Reporting of other possible Hijazi meetings with
Bin Ladin were said to be based on weaker evidence than the reporting of the 1996
(U) In its July 2002 Special Analysis, the DIA focused on contacts between
al-Qa’ida and Iraq by examining the activities of Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic
organization based in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. The DIA said that
“Baghdad may have an indirect tie to al-Qa’ida through the militant Islamic
Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam,” but noted various reports alleging regime
complicity with this troublesome organization, “each also has flaws that undermine confidence in thereporting.“*85 The DIA said that al-Qa’ida“‘has
proven ties to Ansar al-Islam” but noted that there were no indications of an Iraqi
government role in these activities. The DIA concluded that:
Should regime support to Ansar al-Islam be proven, this will not
necessarily implicate the regime in supporting al-Qa’ida. Ansar al-
Islam is an independent organization that receives assistance from al-
Qa’ida, but is not a branch of the group. The Iraqi regime seeks to
influence and manipulate political events in the Kurdish-controlled
north and probably has some type of assets in contact with Ansar al-
Islam, either through liaison or through penetration by an intelligence
(U) Postwar debriefs provided information on the 1995 meeting between bin
Ladin and senior Iraq Intelligence Service official Faruq Hijazi. According to the
FBI, Hijazi stated during his debriefing that he met bin Ladin once in Sudan in
early 1995. The meeting came in response to a request to the Iraqi government
through the government of Sudan on behalf of bin Laden. Hijazi told debriefers
that he was selected by Saddam because he was secular, which would make him
less sympathetic to bin Ladin’s radical message. Hijazi also noted that Saddam
gave him explicit instructions that he was “only to listen” and not negotiate or
promise anything to bin Ladin.’
(U) During the meeting in Khartoum, bin Ladin reportedly asked that Iraq
allow him to open an office in the country, provide him with Chinese sea mines,
provide military training and broadcast the speeches of a radical anti-Saudi cleric
Shaykh Salman al-Awdah. Hijazi told debriefers that once he returned to Iraq, he
“wrote a negative report on the meeting with bin Ladin. Hijazi “criticized bin
Ladin for his hostile speech and his insistence on the Islamization of Iraq.” Hijazi
said that he assessed that “working with bin Ladin would damage relations with
Arab countries through the region.“i89
The Right: meeting = collaboration. Reality: the meeting between Hijazi and al-Queda did not result in any kind of collaborative relationship and Iraq feared the radical Islamification of Iraq by al-Queda.
The Right is on the same tin foil path with Iran. This time spreading the propaganda is proving a little bit harder, Al-Qaeda Suspects Color White House Debate Over Iran
Last week, the CIA sent an urgent report to President Bush’s National Security Council: Iranian authorities had arrested two al-Qaeda operatives traveling through Iran on their way from Pakistan to Iraq. The suspects were caught along a well-worn, if little-noticed, route for militants determined to fight U.S. troops on Iraqi soil, according to a senior intelligence official.
The arrests were presented to Bush’s senior policy advisers as evidence that Iran appears committed to stopping al-Qaeda foot traffic across its borders, the intelligence official said. That assessment comes at a time when the Bush administration, in an effort to push for further U.N. sanctions on the Islamic republic, is preparing to publicly accuse Tehran of cooperating with and harboring al-Qaeda suspects.
The Right seems to get up every morning and rather then brush their teeth they try and stop the truth from getting out, Cheney’s Son-In-Law Blamed for Delaying Investigations of Homeland Security Department
The Department of Homeland Security refuses to cooperate on oversight activities, according to testimony offered today by GAO Comptroller General David Walker and Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner. The investigators highlighted the role of Philip Perry — Chief Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security and Vice President Cheney’s son-in-law — as the major stumbling block in their investigations.
These are the people that feel they and they alone possess the real truth. That they are patriots. The evidence week in and week out suggests otherwise.
“Fog and smog should not be confused and are easily separated by color.”