Independent Christian Voice

Saturday

Smoking gun on manipulation of Iraq intelligence?

From Editor & Publisher:
Tomorrow, in its print edition, The New York Times starts to answer the question, with reporter Douglas Jehl disclosing the contents of a newly declassified memo apparently passed to him by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. It shows that an al-Qaeda official held by the Americans was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the basis for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002. It declared that it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for al-Qaeda's work with illicit weapons, Jehl reports. “The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi's credibility,” Jehl writes. “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. Libi's information as ‘credible’ evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda 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 ‘we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.’”
Bush apologists continually stand behind their belief that the president and his administration didn't lie, but that the intelligence was faulty. In this case, the intelligence agencies got it right; but the administration continued to maintain that statements from a dubious source (that the intelligence agencies expressed profound doubt about) was "credible" evidence. That is either blind, willful ignorance on their part or a purposeful attempt to manipulate and lie about the intelligence. Given recent revelations about other issues, I lean toward the latter.

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