Friday, May 30, 2003

Are you ready for the new spin?

According to TPM the new spin to explain the lack of found WepsOMassDest
is that it's the fault of Colin Powell and the State Department not Rummy, Wolfy and the other 50 Chicken Hawks. Heaven forbid! Clearly Colin is the one running the show, right? Who do they think we are? We're the American public! We don't fall for disinformation. It's not like 41 percent of Americans either believe that W.M.D.'s have been found, or aren't sure. is it? Is it? What? OH SHIT!!!

READ THIS column by Paul Krugman. It cites recent developments such as:

This week a senior British intelligence official told the BBC that under pressure from Downing Street, a dossier on Iraqi weapons had been "transformed" to make it "sexier" — uncorroborated material from a suspect source was added to make the threat appear imminent.

In England they actually care about this shit--witness this editorial from the Financial Times. Also
from today's NYTimes, Nick Kristoff says that members of the intelligence community are outraged and demoralized by the politicization of the intelligence gathering process. Here's a quote:

Some say that top Pentagon officials cast about for the most sensational nuggets about Iraq and used them to bludgeon Colin Powell and seduce President Bush. The director of central intelligence, George Tenet, has been generally liked and respected within the agency ranks, but in the last year, particularly in the intelligence directorate, people say that he has kowtowed to Donald Rumsfeld and compromised the integrity of his own organization.

That would seem to belie the spun assertion above of the State Dept. being to blame for the WMD strawmanship. Don't believe the spin. Don't trust anyone inside the beltway!

Want more? Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker has been doing some of the most important investigative coverage during this time. His article Selective Intelligence sheds light on the Rummy-led undermining of the established intelligence community; the plan: install your own and only listen to people who tell you what you want to hear. Like Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress. These guys have been getting funding from the CIA for years, except that they've worn out their welcome there, and now Sugar Daddy Rumsfeld has taken them on as a convenient, English-speaking figurehead for pro-American (um, call it pro-Administration) Iraqis. Too bad they have no constituency in Iraq itself. Anyway, here's a stunning quote from Hersh's article:

A former Bush Administration intelligence official recalled a case in which Chalabi’s group, working with the Pentagon, produced a defector from Iraq who was interviewed overseas by an agent from the D.I.A. The agent relied on an interpreter supplied by Chalabi’s people. Last summer, the D.I.A. report, which was classified, was leaked. In a detailed account, the London Times described how the defector had trained with Al Qaeda terrorists in the late nineteen-nineties at secret camps in Iraq, how the Iraqis received instructions in the use of chemical and biological weapons, and how the defector was given a new identity and relocated. A month later, however, a team of C.I.A. agents went to interview the man with their own interpreter. “He says, ‘No, that’s not what I said,’” the former intelligence official told me. “He said, ‘I worked at a fedayeen camp; it wasn’t Al Qaeda.’ He never saw any chemical or biological training.” Afterward, the former official said, “the C.I.A. sent out a piece of paper saying that this information was incorrect. They put it in writing.” But the C.I.A. rebuttal, like the original report, was classified. “I remember wondering whether this one would leak and correct the earlier, invalid leak. Of course, it didn’t.”

Read the whole article. And if you're still hungry, check out this article on Rummy vs. The Men in Uniform, and this earlier piece on Neo-Conservative War Profiteer Richard Perle.

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