Cooked Intelligence: Bushís Intel-gate?
Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman)
did he know and when did he know it? Those words were used during
the Watergate hearings to simplify the issues regarding Richard
Nixonís conduct in office before, during, and after the Watergate
break-in. Answers to those two questions led Nixon to resign rather
than face conviction on impeachment charges of obstructing justice.
a short article last week, I claimed that Bush and his neocon Axis
of Deceit were starting to sweat because the public has become aware
that one of the Administrationís main reasons for attacking Iraq that it had and would use a large stock of chemical, biological,
and possibly nuclear weapons weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was based on faulty, most likely deliberately falsified intelligence
reports and/or analyses. Deliberately falsifying intelligence analyses
and estimates are informally known as "cooking the estimates."
the folks at the Washington
Post managed to dig a little deeper into the matter and
were able to cite findings from an Oct. 1, 2002 CIA white paper,
based upon the highly classified government-wide National Intelligence
Estimate on Iraq finished just before that time. As is usual for
such reports and white papers, an executive summary
known as the "Key Judgments" section is presented
up front to save busy political appointees from having to
read the whole report.
the Post authors found out was that the Key Judgments included
such items as "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons"
and "Baghdad has begun renewed production of chemical warfare
agents, probably including mustard, sarin, cyclosarin and VX."
none of these so-called findings were backed up by detail in the
main body of the report. According to the Post reporters, what was
said in the main body of the report was more qualified and included
statements such as: "... gaps in Iraqi accounting and current
production capabilities strongly suggest Iraq has the ability to
produce chemical warfare agents within its chemical industry"
and that Iraq "... has the ability to produce chemical warfare
Bush cited the stronger findings in the Key Judgments section, one
wonders how these findings got so twisted as to grossly mis-characterize
the results of the more detailed assessment. And even more important
is what price will "Dubya" pay for these "cooked
the time honored tradition of Washington politicians, if the results
of intelligence assessments do not show what you want, then apply
lots of political pressure to change the results, that is, cook
the results!! This has taken place for many years and has likely
included such topics as the CIAís "Team B" assessment
of the Soviet Unionís strategic capabilities that was done during
George H.W. Bushís tenure as CIA Director. In this assessment, somehow
the CIA and the Pentagonís various intelligence components were
underestimating the numbers of Soviet strategic weapons that were
actually deployed and the former USSRís ability to ramp up production
of those weapons and thus threaten the U.S. with an overwhelming
nuclear attack. To come up with an unbiased estimate, Bush
brought in an outside set of experts to review the data collected.
The B team did come up with a more frightening spin on the data
but essentially did not say that the data was wrong. Of course,
this latter finding got lost in the shuffle and the results were
used to forestall any nuclear arms reduction treaties being contemplated
by Gerald Ford and later Jimmy Carter.
Carter got his chance to twist an intelligence assessment to his
own political ends. In mid-1976, some of the CIAís economists produced
an analysis of the Soviet Unionís oil production and concluded that
the Russkies would likely experience a major decline in oil production
in the late 1970's 1980's and beyond. Pooh-poohed by the CIAís
Russian economic experts, nonetheless the oil forecast had enough
credible data and analysis behind it to gain attention.
his trademark blue sweater in a "fireside" address to
the nation in early February 1977, Jimmy declared a moral equivalent
of war on energy and used this forecast to frighten Americans and
the unwitting Congress into establishing a Department of Energy,
which continues to this day to waste billions of dollars annually
on a plethora of programs including an emergency oil stockpile,
alternate energy projects, goofy conservation programs, and, of
course, a continuation of Nixon-imposed price controls. After Carterís
infamous address he had not told the CIA he was going to go public
with the conclusions of the report, the oil economists at CIA had
to scramble to put together a "sanitized," that is, unclassified,
version of the report for the public. (Note: eventually Soviet oil
output did decline sharply and for the reasons cited in the original
are other numerous instances of intelligence being twisted, cooked
up or used for purposes that had little to do with it, but the recent
one over the Iraqi WMD and the attempt to claim that Saddam Hussein
was backing al Qaeda is the most egregious. According to a variety
of published reports, Vice President Cheney visited the folks at
CIA on a number of occasions, reportedly putting pressure on the
Langley crew to change their findings, particularly on Iraqi WMD,
namely stating that Iraq had them, could produce more, and would
likely use them.
might have been taking his cue from a special intelligence unit
that was set up within the Pentagon by his buddies Don Rumsfeld
and Paul Wolfowitz. This outfit reportedly did all its own analyses outside of CIA, DIA and intelligence community channels and thus
not subject to what is called "coordination," that is,
the review and commenting by other intelligence community experts
prior to publication or dissemination to senior government officials.
In fact, formal coordination allows for dissenting analysts, in
some extreme cases, to stop publication.
any event, the fact that the Key Judgments cited above were significantly
stronger than the actual facts and analyses presented in the report
indicates that the CIA higher-ups this could not have been done
without CIA Director George Tenetís approval cooked the results
to satisfy Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others criticizing their
misuses of intelligence or the cooking of intelligence estimates
have never gotten anyone into serious trouble, let alone impeached.
this time may be different. In Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair
is facing a hail of criticism for having cooked his version of intelligence
estimates on Iraqi WMD. According to a report in the Daily
Telegraph of London, British "Intelligence chiefs were
asked to rewrite the controversial dossier on Iraqís weapons of
mass destruction at least six times, it was claimed yesterday. A
source told the BBC (authorís note the British government-owned
British Broadcasting Company) that at one point the Prime Minister
was personally involved in the decision to get the Joint Intelligence
Committee (JIC) to redraft the document. One Labour Party
member of the British House of Lords, Lord Healey, called for Tony
Blair to resign if weapons of mass destruction were not found in
Iraq and that Blair could be forced out if it is found out that
Blair is booted out over his lies on Iraqi WMD and make no
mistake, he had the same weak intelligence evidence the U.S.
had on Iraq, expect "Dubya" to break into a real hard
sweat. Most Americans may be too lazy or too stupid to hold
Bush accountable for this lie about Iraqi WMD, but if Bush is found
to have knowingly and deliberately lied that is, ran his
own Intel-gate he could be in real political trouble.
There is enough time before the 2004 election for this issue to
torpedo his re-election bid.
like a baseball manager yanking the starting pitcher for a relief
pitcher, Dubya may lay the blame on some of his minions and fire
them, just as he fired Paul OíNeill and Lawrence Lindsey last fall
for failing him on the economy.
which neocon is willing to fall on his sword and maintain his silence
to preserve Bushís presidency? Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz,
Douglas Feith? Donít count on any of these going quietly, unless
Bush can somehow buy their silence.
tuned for further developments as George begins to really sweat.
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail], formerly an economist with the federal government,
writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
teaches economics part-time at a community college and provides
economic consulting services to the private sector.
© 2003 LewRockwell.com