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September 29, 2006

Yet More Again From Hubris Additionally

Here's more from Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn. Something like this apparently appears in Bob Woodward's new book as well.

As Hubris recounts it, one night after Kay had arrived in Iraq on his fruitness fruitless WMD hunt, he was woken up in the middle of the night with a message from Cheney's office. They'd sent him:

...a highly sensitive communications intercept that had captured a snippet of conversation between two unidentified people. Cheney's aides were reading raw transcripts straight from the National Security Agency. And a Cheney staffer who had gotten hold of this piece of unanalyzed intelligence thought that it contained a reference to a WMD storage site in Iraq, even though the captured exchange didn't specifically mention weapons. What made this intercept most promising was that it had come with geographic coordinates for one of the unidentified persons...The next morning, [Kay's] analysts checked the coordinates and discovered they referred to a site in the Bekka Valley in Lebanon—not anywhere in Iraq. This was no lead...[j]ust as Cheney and Libby had done before the war, the vice president's aides were rummaging through top secret, unprocessed intelligence in the hope of discovering what everyone else in the U.S. government had missed.

...The signals intercept was not the only intelligence tip Cheney's office urgently passed on to Kay. On another occasion, the vice president's aides sent a message to Kay and the ISG: check out this overhead photograph. It showed what looked like the opening of a tunnel on the side of a hill in Iraq. This could be where the WMD were hidden, Cheney's office said—in caves.

When Kay and several of his analysts took a look at the photo, they burst out laughing. They knew exactly what was in the picture. It was a common practice for local farmers to use bulldozers to dig trenches into the sides of hills. Because the water table was fairly high, these trenches would fill with water and become sources of drinking water for cows..."Anyone who has spent any time on the ground in Iraq immediately would recognize these as cuts that the local population made to get to ground water for their animals," Kay said later. "We reported back that we had looked at it and it was not what you thought it was. There was no point humiliating them."

Here's a rule about governments that will never steer you wrong: whenever people claim to be hard-headed realists with no illusions (in contrast to their weak-willed, fuzzy-minded opponents), you can be sure they are dangerous lunatics living in a fantasy world.

Posted at September 29, 2006 06:09 PM | TrackBack

Henry Kissinger also fancied himself a crack analyst, and once threatened Cuba with dire consquences if it didn't expel the Russian troops he was sure he had detected because satellite photos showed a soccer field, and as everyone knows, Cubans don't play soccer but Russian do. Except Cubans do actually play soccer.

Posted by: whateveritisimagainstit at September 30, 2006 02:36 AM

"arrived in Iraq on his fruitness WMD hunt"

Perhaps you meant "fruitless" ?

Posted by: Dilapidus at September 30, 2006 12:11 PM