Wednesday, June 11, 2003

More on the CIA, from an article by Richard M. Barnett on the WMD intelligence scandal in Britain (the JIC is the Joint Intelligence Committee):

"Sources both within the US and British Intelligence communities have however raised considerable doubt over the authenticity and value of the information acquired by the JIC from Iraqi exiles, particularly as the most likely source turns out to the Iraqi National Party of Ahmad Chalabi, a long term asset of the CIA. It has again been forcefully put to me by reliable sources close to MI6 that this additional material which so effectively undermined the more reasoned and questioning stance taken by British Intelligence had been supplied to Chalabi's organization by the CIA themselves and that its veracity was therefore seriously compromised."

NO, NO, NO! Not the CIA! I don't want to be seen as an apologist for the CIA, but this is an example of exactly the same sort of fundamental mistake I see over and over again in analysis of the events of September 11. Chalabi had been sponsored by the CIA and the State Department, but they dumped him because they thought he was taking large amounts of money from them and providing nothing useful in return. They thought he was ripping them off. The Chalabi information was almost certainly at least partly supplied to Chalabi, but not by the CIA. Chalabi is the Pentagon's man to run Iraq, and clearly not the choice of either the State Department or the CIA (the CIA went so far as to kidnap Nizar Al Khazraji, a man who may or may not be still alive, from Denmark for use as a possible CIA candidate to lead Iraq). The knee-jerk reaction to blame everything on the CIA is very misleading in this case, and is misleading for the same reasons in considering the plot behind 9-11. If you blame everything on the CIA, you lose sight of the real culprits.