The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, September 06, 2007

CIA officers: Bush knew

Sidney Blumenthal starts the day off with a bang. Or a bombshell. Or some other unfunny play on words, if you prefer. Just add it to the evidence room, along with the Downing Street Memo, the Joseph Wilson smear campaign, et al.

On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

The story also suggests that the rumors about Colin Powell have been right: he knows he was set up by the White House and isn't too happy about his role as dutiful soldier/useful idiot.

Secretary of State Powell, in preparation for his presentation of evidence of Saddam's WMD to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, spent days at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and had Tenet sit directly behind him as a sign of credibility. But Tenet, according to the sources, never told Powell about existing intelligence that there were no WMD, and Powell's speech was later revealed to be a series of falsehoods.