Friday, June 13, 2003

The pinning of the blame on the CIA by the Bush Administration for the Bush lies about Iraq continues to develop. The story is now centered on the clumsily forged documents which purported to show that Saddam had arranged to buy uranium from Niger:

  1. In an article dated June 12 in the Washington Post Walter Pincus wrote:

    "A key component of President Bush's claim in his State of the Union address last January that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program - its alleged attempt to buy uranium in Niger - was disputed by a CIA-directed mission to the central African nation in early 2002, according to senior administration officials and a former government official. But the CIA did not pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies, the officials said."

    Pincus is here clearly describing the White House defense - that the CIA knew but didn't tell the Administration.

  2. In an article dated June 13, Pincus sets out the CIA's response to this claim:

    "The CIA, facing criticism for its failure to pass on a key piece of information that put in doubt Iraq's purported attempts to buy uranium from Niger, said yesterday it sent a cable to the White House and other government agencies in March 2002 that said the claim had been denied by officials from the central African country."

    Pincus then goes on to present the White House rebuttal to the CIA defense, which is the rather weak claim that the CIA cable did not refer to the name of the former ambassador that the CIA had sent to Niger to investigate the matter, or to the fact that he had been sent there by the CIA. This is obvious quibbling as the cable was apparently completely clear that the claim had been denied by officials from Niger, thus at the very least making the allegations questionable until they were further researched, but the White House went ahead anyway and used the Niger allegations as one of the key parts of its WMD lie. Pincus, who writes his article as if he was being paid by the White House (one of the keys to understanding the parlous state that the United States is currently in is the simultaneous utter debasement of both the Washington Post and the New York Times), continues:

    "An administration official said yesterday that the CIA report was only one of many such cables received by the White House each day. The official said that other information received after March 2002 supported claims that Iraq was actively attempting to buy uranium. Because of the anonymous nature of the source cited in the CIA report, it was not considered unusual or very important and not passed on to Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, or other senior White House officials."

    Pincus then quotes Rice's denial:

    "Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery."

    How did they not know if the CIA had sent them a warning cable? Who is the gatekeeper who conveniently insulates high-level officials from important CIA intelligence information? We have to look elsewhere than the Washington Post to avoid the heavy White House propaganda spin.

  3. An article entitled "White House was warned of dubious intelligence, official says"
    by Jonathan S. Landay for Knight Ridder Newspapers is more helpful:

    "A senior CIA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the intelligence agency informed the White House on March 9, 2002 - 10 months before Bush's nationally televised speech - that an agency source who had traveled to Niger couldn't confirm European intelligence reports that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from the West African country."


    "Three senior administration officials said Vice President Dick Cheney and some officials on the National Security Council staff and at the Pentagon ignored the CIA's reservations and argued that the president and others should include the allegation in their case against Saddam."

    How could they ignore the CIA reservations if, as Rice claims, they didn't even know about them? A fourth official is quoted as saying that the most recent allegations "were not central pieces of the case illustrating Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and their WMD programs." This is, of course, nonsense: not only were the Niger allegations central to the case, as time goes on it has become clear that these allegations were the only evidence that the Bush Administration had. The CIA sent its warning not only to the White House, but also to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Justice Department and the FBI. In the months before Bush's state of the union address, where he made much of the Niger uranium, the CIA also told its doubts to the State Department, National Security Council staffers and members of Congress (which contradicts Pincus's June 12 article that "the CIA did not pass on the detailed results of its investigation to the White House or other government agencies"). If the White House didn't know, they were practically the only people in the whole U. S. government who didn't know! And finally, the truth:

    "Among the most vocal proponents of publicizing the alleged Niger connection, two senior officials said, were Cheney and officials in the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The effort was led by Robert G. Joseph, the top National Security Council staff official on nuclear proliferation, the officials said."

    Cheney and Rumsfeld. Remember those names (and put Robert G. Joseph in the back of your mind for future reference; nuclear proliferation is important as the main part of the greater Cheney-Rumsfeld conspiracy is the removal of all restrictions on full use by the United States of nuclear weapons on the ground and in space). The grand finale, returning us to now familiar ground:

    "The use of the false evidence despite the CIA warning raises questions about why some officials chose to believe the story despite the widespread skepticism in the intelligence community.

    One possibility, one senior official suggested Thursday, is that some officials at the Pentagon and in the vice president's office were getting their own intelligence from Iraqi exiles who the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency warned couldn't be trusted.

    Exile leader Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress told lawmakers Thursday that his group had turned three Iraqi defectors over to U.S. officials. One of the three, Chalabi said, was an Iraqi scientist who was involved in separating isotopes for Iraq's nuclear weapons program."

    The truth is revealed! We are back to lies concocted by Cheny and Chalabi and Rumsfeld, which is the starting point for understanding the propaganda basis for the attack on Iraq. Note also that this article points out that although the name of the ambassador was not in the CIA cable, the names of all the Niger officials he talked to were included, making it a much more impressive refutation.

  4. The CIA claims (or here) that it has provided documentation to congressional oversight committees which would show it "did not withhold information from appropriate officials" about Iraq's purported attempt to buy uranium in Niger.

This is all very important in understanding the structure of the flow of information in the White House. Knowing where and how the lies originated will not only allow us to understand the lies which led to the attack on Iraq, but also the background to what happened on September 11. Cheney and Rumsfeld are the protagonists, Rice is a professional liar to protect the deep structure of the information flows (information flows are the key to conspiracies), and Bush is essentially irrelevant.