• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
March 31, 2005
Oh, If Only Someone In The United States Government Had The Ability To Read
So, the presidential commission on WMD intelligence has released its report:
"We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," the commission said in a report to the president. "This was a major intelligence failure"...
But the commission also said that it found no indication that spy agencies distorted the evidence they had concerning Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction...
Now, no regular, non-cleared citizens can know for certain how thoroughly the commission investigated this issue. Their transmittal letter (pdf) says they conducted "a lengthy investigation, during which we interviewed hundreds of experts from inside and outside the Intelligence Community and reviewed thousands of documents."
However, we can certainly speculate. I suggest you read the below excerpts from the recent books Blowing My Cover by Lindsay Moran and Pretext for War by James Bamford and speculate away. (As you'll see, both books likely describe the same episode.)
And as you speculate, keep in mind something I discussed with Moran and Bamford for an article I'm currently writing: no one from the commission asked either of them about this.
From Blowing My Cover:
During my short tenure in Iraqi Operations, I met one woman who had covered IraqÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s weapons of mass destruction program for more than a decade. She admitted to me, unequivocally, that the CIA had no definitive evidence whatsoever that Saddam HusseinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s regime possessed WMD, or that Iraq presented anything close to an imminent threat to the United States.
Another CIA analyst, whose opinion IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d solicited about the connection between Al-QaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ida and Iraq, looked at me almost shamefacedly, shrugged, and said, "They both have the letter q?" And a colleague who worked in the office covering Iraqi counterproliferation reported to me that her mealy-mouthed pen pusher of a boss had gathered together his minions and announced, "LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face it. The president wants us to go to war, and our job is to give him a reason to do it."
From Pretext for War:
...within a few months [after the September 11 attacks], for many [at the CIA] the morale once again began to drop through the floor as they began getting pressure to come up with Saddam Hussein's fingerprints on 9/11 and Al Qaeda.Posted at March 31, 2005 08:12 AM | TrackBack
One of those who felt the pressure was a DO case officer who spent years running agents overseas, but who had been reassigned to the unit charged with finding weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq... According to the official, the group never found any indications of WMD in Iraq. "Where I was working, I never saw anythingÃ¢â‚¬â€no one else there did either," the person said.
Nevertheless, there was a great deal of pressure to find a reason to go to war with Iraq. And the pressure was not just subtle; it was blatant. At one point in January 2003, the person's boss called a meeting and gave them their marching orders. "And he said, 'You know whatÃ¢â‚¬â€if Bush wants to go to war, it's your job to give him a reason to do so'... He said it at the weekly office meeting. And I just remember saying, 'This is something that the American public, if they ever knew, would be outraged'...He said it to about fifty people. And it's funny because everyone still talks about thatÃ¢â‚¬â€'Remember when [he] said that.'"