Daily Kos: Pressuring the CIA to Lie, Calling Result an Accident

David Swanson's diary ::

On October 8, 2002, Knight Ridder reported that various military officials, intelligence employees, and diplomats in the Bush Administration charged "that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Hussein poses such an immediate threat to the United States that preemptive military action is necessary."

Is there any way to fit all of this together with the "Oops, we got it wrong" line? Or the "Congress knew the same things we knew" line? Or the "All the world agreed" line, which always had a major conflict with reality anyway?

Well, maybe if we really stretch our capacity for loyalty and obedience. But what about the spying business? I don't mean the recent scandal over spying on Americans by the NSA. I mean the spying on the National Security Council by the Vice President.

It has been reported that the Vice President's staff monitored the National Security Council staff in such a heavy-handed fashion that some N.S.C. staff "quit using e-mails for substantive conversations because they knew the vice president's alternate national security staff was reading their e-mails now." Col. Lawrence
Wilkerson, as quoted by Maureen Dowd, Fashioning Deadly Fiascos, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 5, 2005.

US Diplomat John Brady Kiesling resigned his post as a diplomat because of the flaws in the intelligence process. In his resignation letter, he cited his opposition to the "distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion." (WASH. POST, Mar. 9, 2003, page B-3.)

A CIA official working on WMD explained: "'[T]here 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 what-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 that - "Remember when [he] said that."'" (From James Bamford's "A Pretext for War.")

Last year's Senate Intelligence Committee report on prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq showed that committee chair, U.S. Marine Pat Roberts, always semper fi to the party, had acquiesced in White House instructions to cover up the rampant politicization. Roberts proudly insisted - disingenuously -- that no intelligence analysts had complained about attempts to politicize their conclusions. What outsiders do not realize is that each of those analysts was accompanied by a "minder" from Tenet's office, minders reminiscent of the ubiquitous Iraqi intelligence officials that Saddam Hussein insisted be present when scientists of his regime were interviewed by U.N. inspectors.

The hapless Democrats on Roberts' committee chose to acquiesce in his claim that political pressure played no role -- this despite the colorful testimony by the CIA's ombudsman that never in his 32-year career with the agency had he encountered such "hammering" on CIA analysts to realign their judgment regarding ties between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to make them more compatible with Cheney's. Subsequently the President's own commission (Silberman-Robb) parroted the Roberts' committee's see-no-evil findings regarding politicization, even though that commission's report is itself bizarrely replete with examples of intelligence analysts feeling the intense political heat--the "hammering."

Daily Kos: Pressuring the CIA to Lie, Calling Result an Accident


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