The Telegraph, UK
03 Oct 2004
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader believed to be responsible for the abduction of Kenneth Bigley, is 'more myth than man,' according to American military intelligence agents in Iraq.
Several sources said the importance of Zarqawi, blamed for many of the most spectacular acts of violence in Iraq, has been exaggerated by flawed intelligence and the Bush administration's desire to find "a villain" for the post-invasion mayhem.
US military intelligence agents in Iraq have revealed a series of botched and often tawdry dealings with unreliable sources who, in the words of one source, "told us what we wanted to hear".
"We were basically paying up to $10,000 a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," the agent said.
"Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one. None of which prevented the mainstream media from regaling us with this the other day:
The link to this flash video was removed for security reasonsNumber 3
Iranian-backed forces supplied insurgents attacking coalition troops and devised new forms of suicide vests for al-Qaeda, according to assessments released by Wikileaks.
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