Senate "Report" White-Washes "Bad Intelligence" Story for the White House; Former CIA Director Tenet Set Up as "Patsy" as Media Ignore Real Culprits.
By Mike Hersh
The Senate Intelligence Committee "Report" that white-washes the "Bad Intelligence" story for the White House is quickly becoming the only accepted version of reality. The media rush to rubberstamp this story -
"Report: War Rationale Based on CIA Error" - while ignoring the Office of Special Plans and its role producing "bad intelligence."
What error did the CIA make? The AP tells us, "In the unanimously approved report, senators concluded that the CIA kept key information from its own and other agencies' analysts; engaged in "group think" by failing to challenge the assumption that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; and allowed President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to make false statements."
From this, it seems the CIA schemed to trick the Bush and his
administration into misleading Americans and the world in order to scare us into attacking Iraq. Is this true? Of course not. Bush, Cheney and other top Bush officials planned to attack Iraq early in 2001, long before the 9/11 attacks. Before we debunk this facile cover story, let's consider the other key Senate Intelligence verdict, from the same AP story:
Following release of the 511-page review Friday, the panel's top Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said three-quarters of senators would not have voted to authorize the invasion if they had known how weak the intelligence was." See: "Report blames 'group think' for CIA failures on Iraq," Associated Press, July 10, 2004:
Bush, Cheney and others evaluated the "bad" intelligence, which supposedly came from the CIA. Then, these two and the entire Bush national security rushed us in to war. Didn't the Bush team seek a second opinion or even a third before claiming they knew Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Of course they did. But they ignored the warnings from the CIA and others.
They ignored Joe Wilson - the former Bush I Ambassador to Iraq - who told them their "intelligence" claiming Iraq sought "yellow cake"
uranium from Africa was wrong. Even Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice concluded Iraq represented no threat to the USA. How is the CIA to blame for this or for buffaloing a purportedly reluctant warrior Bush and the ostensibly peaceful Cheney into this rash and tragic mistake? The CIA isn't responsible, so who is? Consider this report from Mother Jones
The reports, virtually all false, of Iraqi weapons and terrorism ties emanated from an apparatus that began to gestate almost as soon as the Bush administration took power. In the very first meeting of the Bush national-security team, one day after President Bush took the oath of office in January 2001, the issue of invading Iraq was raised, according to one of the participants in the meeting -- and officials all the way down the line started to get the message, long before 9/11.
Indeed, the Bush team at the Pentagon hadn't even been formally installed before Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense, and Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy, began putting together what would become the vanguard for regime change in Iraq."
See: "The Lie Factory" by Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest in which "Late last year, a special Mother Jones investigation detailed how, only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq [for] the inside story of how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war. Mother Jones magazine, Jan. - Feb. 2004 -
The entire public-relations basis for Bush's rush to war came not from the CIA, but from a hand-picked flock of Neo-Con chicken hawks. If the media were left-leaning, they would have picked over the Bush/Cheney rationale leading up to war rather than stepped into formation to cheerlead for war.
Now that even the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee agree Bush rushed to war without justification, this information should get at least as much attention as Monica Lewinsky. It didn't and still hasn't.
On the day the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a white-washed "report" blaming the CIA for "bad intelligence," the media leave unmentioned the "Office of Special Plans."
The mass media won't tell us about this Pentagon panel established specifically to concoct marketable bases for an Iraq War Bush/Cheney planned long before 9/11/01. The OSP bypassed the CIA and helped plot the war in earnest while the WTC wreckage still smoldered.
The Bush administration rushed into war killing nearly 1000 Americans in uniform (and counting), wounding 1000s more (and counting), costing 100s of $BILLIONS (again, and counting) based on their own made-to-order "intelligence" not on any "bad intelligence" from others. This is not just according to Mother Jones or the (majority Republican) Senate Intelligence Committee. Bush's Secretary of State Colin Powell, the same once-trusted official designated to make the fabricated case to the UN and the world, admitted information he used was "inaccurate."
This is one of the stories of the century. Yet all of the networks - broadcast and cable news alike - ignore the real culprits. Why would a "liberal media" help the Bush team place all blame on the outgoing CIA Director and not even mention the OSP? It's not like no one reported on the OSP. In addition to Mother Jones, Seymour Hersh (no relation) reported about this in-house White House "bad intelligence" factory in
[A]ccording to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community.
These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq.
They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi.
By last fall, the operation rivaled both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush's main source of intelligence regarding Iraq's possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda.
As of last week, no such weapons had been found. And although many people, within the Administration and outside it, profess confidence that something will turn up, the integrity of much of that intelligence is now in question. See: "SELECTIVE INTELLIGENCE" by SEYMOUR M. HERSH, Donald Rumsfeld has his own special sources. Are they reliable? The New Yorker Magazine, 2003-05-12, .
Yes, "experienced expert" Richard Cheney and all the other top Bush national security officials relied on Ahmad Chalabi for "intelligence."
The same convicted felon Chalabi (Jordanian law) currently suspected of spying against America for Iran. Bush/Cheney not only undermine our safety by "outing" our own agents, they actually pay enemy agents and invite them to the White House to undermine our national security!
The Bush team welcomed suspected spy Chalabi into their inner circle and shared with him our most sensitive national security secrets. Not because he offered any real or plausible information about Iraq. Just because he eagerly told the Bush team the lies they wanted to hear and needed to scare America into war. Cheney and the rest even sought to install Chalabi as the new President of Iraq! And they brag of their superior judgment and experience?
Who in the corporate media reports this "intelligence failure" which had nothing to do with the CIA and everything to do with lacking leadership by the Bush White House, Pentagon and State Department? No one. How is any of this the CIA's fault? This is the fault of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, and Rumsfeld - the leaders entrusted with making sound, valid decisions and who knew or should have known the difference between "intelligence" - which can be nothing more than rumor - and evidence.
Top Bush officials rejected sound evidence and advice that did not fit their required template by supporting their rush to war against Iraq. As Richard Clarke testified under oath, he told Bush and Rumsfeld where to attack the al Qaeda enemies who attacked us, but they were intent on attacking Iraq.
Even if the CIA intelligence reports contained errors - and this isn't yet certain - the men and women Bush entrusted to keep us safe did not make sound or sensible decisions. Their prejudice, failure and ambition exacerbated any intelligence errors. Worst of all, and they lied when they assured us they knew exactly where Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were when they knew nothing of the kind.
Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, and Rumsfeld all lied to us about what they knew as opposed to what they suspected. It worked well at first as part of Karl Rove's public relations blitz to help Republicans win seats in Congress. Then the invasion began and Americans started dying. 100s of our troops died due to Bush/Cheney lies and errors. Americans are still dying and top Bush/Cheney officials are still lying. Where is the accountability? Nowhere. Not from the Congress, the 9/11 Commission or the mass media.
It's no mystery how all this happened. Former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill confirms the Bush administration planned to attack Iraq long before 9/11/01. Greg Palast uncovered evidence of detailed plans to seize and sell Iraqi assets to Washington insiders and Bush campaign contributors drafted mere weeks after Bush's tainted inauguration.
All these plans were in the works, and Former Bush Anti-Terror Czar Richard Clarke testified under oath that Bush, Rumsfeld and others pressed him to blame Iraq and Saddam for the 9/11 attacks even though Clarke told them repeatedly al Qaeda was to blame. So Bush fired Clarke, made a half-hearted stab at Osama bin Laden with 11,000 troops in Afghanistan, and sent nearly 200,000 American to kill and die in Iraq.
This is especially damning: "According to the Pentagon adviser, Special Plans was created in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true - that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States." According to the Senate Committee, none of that was true. Again see: "SELECTIVE INTELLIGENCE"
Unfortunately the Senate Committee chose to blame the CIA and ignore the Bush administration's hand-picked intelligence mini-agency, the Office of Special Plans' active participation in this willful deception - at least until after the November 2 election. How convenient. Now reconsider the Senate "report" and the eager beaver media cover-up in lieu of real coverage.
Bush and most of his top-level national security team are guilty of manufacturing lies about Iraqi nuclear and other weapons programs to frighten Americans into backing his war. Bush himself certified dishonest "intelligence" under oath in his presentation to the Congress.
This remains largely unreported, left to small magazines and muckraking books. Not even Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11 mentioned these facts, and of course they have never seen the light of a cathode ray tube. ABC, CBS, NBC and the "Clinton News Network" just blithely blame the CIA and sit back as Bush and Cheney question others' national security credentials.
Anyone who considers the media "liberal" is raving. Bush is in office now - after getting away with his selection rather than election and not impeached for high crimes before and after seizing office - only because the corporate media protect Bush and his corrupt, inept administration.
All while the mass media prevent the public from knowing the truth as the press betrays the people.
By Mike Hersh (c) 2004 ( MikeHersh@MikeHersh.com )
Mike Hersh is a writer, lawyer and activist living in the Washington, DC area. He graduated from Cornell University and the Washington College of Law, founded two small businesses, and then became a full-time writer and activist. He is the webmaster of MikeHersh.com and several political online communities. Originally published by OpEdNews.com