A growing number of U.S. national security professionals are accusing the Bush administration of slanting the facts and hijacking the $30 billion intelligence apparatus to justify its rush to war in Iraq.
A key target is a four-person Pentagon team that reviewed material gathered by other intelligence outfits for any missed bits that might have tied Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to banned weapons or terrorist groups.
This team, self-mockingly called the Cabal, "cherry-picked the intelligence stream" in a bid to portray Iraq as an imminent threat, said Patrick Lang, a former head of worldwide human intelligence gathering for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which coordinates military intelligence.
The DIA was "exploited and abused and bypassed in the process of making the case for war in Iraq based on the presence of WMD," or weapons of mass destruction, he added in a phone interview. He said the CIA had "no guts at all" to resist the allegedly deliberate skewing of intelligence by a Pentagon that he said was now dominating U.S. foreign policy.
Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorist operations, said he knew of serving intelligence officers who blame the Pentagon for playing up "fraudulent" intelligence, "a lot of it sourced from the Iraqi National Congress of Ahmad Chalabi."
The INC, which brought together groups opposed to Saddam, worked closely with the Pentagon to build a case for the early use of force in Iraq.
"There are current intelligence officials who believe it is a scandal," he said in a telephone interview. They believe the administration, before going to war, had a "moral obligation to use the best information available, not just information that fits your preconceived ideas."
CHEMICAL WEAPONS REPORT 'SIMPLY WRONG'
The top Marine Corps officer in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway, said on Friday U.S. intelligence was "simply wrong" in leading military commanders to fear troops were likely to be attacked with chemical weapons in the March invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam.
SHAPED 'FROM THE TOP DOWN'
Greg Thielmann, who retired in September after 25 years in the State Department, the last four in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research working on weapons, said it appeared to him that intelligence had been shaped "from the top down."
"The normal processing of establishing accurate intelligence was sidestepped" in the runup to invading Iraq, said David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security and who deals with U.S. intelligence officers.
Anger among security professionals appears widespread. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group that says it is made up mostly of CIA intelligence analysts, wrote to U.S. President George Bush May 1 to hit what they called "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions."
"In intelligence there is one unpardonable sin -- cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy," it wrote. "There is ample indication this has been done with respect to Iraq." more
And Bill Clinton was impeached for a blow job?
Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims
Jack Straw and his US counterpart, Colin Powell, privately expressed serious doubts about the quality of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programme at the very time they were publicly trumpeting it to get UN support for a war on Iraq, the Guardian has learned.
Their deep concerns about the intelligence - and about claims being made by their political bosses, Tony Blair and George Bush - emerged at a private meeting between the two men shortly before a crucial UN security council session on February 5. more
Too late, Colin! See what working for these fascist assholes does for you? Your only hope of maintaining any credibility now is to RESIGN!