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Excusing Torture, Again

By       Message Ray McGovern     Permalink
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In Sunday's article, the Post notes that the piece by Rodriguez was "written with former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow," but again we get no help regarding Harlow's credibility or how his readiness to mislead the American people helped clear the way for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Just weeks before the invasion, Newsweek ran a story based on the text of the official U.N. debriefing of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamel when he defected in 1995. Here's the lede of the article by John Barry on Feb. 24, 2003:

"Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein's inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the gulf war, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them. Kamel ... had direct knowledge of what he claimed: for 10 years he had run Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs."

In a classic understatement, Barry commented, "The defector's tale raises questions about whether the WMD stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist." Barry added that Kamel had been interrogated in separate sessions by the CIA, British intelligence, and a trio from the U.N. inspection team, that Newsweek had been able to verify that the U.N. document was authentic, and that Kamel had told the same story to the CIA and the British. After all that, Barry noted the initial non-reaction from the CIA: "The CIA did not respond to a request for comment."

Barry's story was, of course, completely accurate. And it was about something the CIA in 2003 knew with 100 percent certainty -- i.e., what Hussein Kamel had said in 1995. So what happened to this story? Remember, Newsweek had the transcript of Kamel's debriefing and had done its homework in checking the story out.

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The CIA issued a strong denial of the story. Spokesman Bill Harlow stated: "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue." And the rest of the mainstream media said, in effect, "Oh, Gosh. Thanks for letting us know. We might have run something on it."

Aren't you glad that newspapers like the Washington Post still give folks like Rodriguez and Harlow prominent space to tell their lies?

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)

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