CIA declassifies internal review on Iraq ‘intelligence failure’

Report cover pageBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
An internal report on the alleged failure of the Central Intelligence Agency to accurately read the intentions of the Iraqi regime in the run-up to the 2003 invasion by the United States, has been declassified. The report, entitled Misreading Intentions: Iraq’s Reaction to Inspections Created Picture of Deception, was authored in 2006, classified ‘secret’. It was prepared by the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence (DI), the part of the Agency that is responsible for collating and assessing gathered intelligence in order to assist the decisions of US policy-makers on key foreign issues. The report describes what it sees as the DI’s intelligence failure to assess the true state of Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction program in the run-up to the US invasion. It says that invalid predispositions and “analytic liabilities” among CIA analysts prevented the Agency from seeing the issue of weapons of mass destruction from the viewpoint of the Iraqi government. Although heavily redacted, the report seems to state that CIA analysts spent little time examining the view, held by many at the time, that the Iraqi regime had in fact terminated its WMD program by 1995. Furthermore, Agency analysts failed to realize in time that, although it had terminated its WMD program, the Iraqi regime maintained a deliberate policy of ambivalence about the purported existence of the program, in order to save face, deter potential adversaries and appear more dangerous than it actually was. Such a policy of deception was well within the character of the Iraqi regime and should have been detected by American intelligence experts, says the report. However, CIA analysts were far more interested in “what was important to us”, says the report, namely “the hunt for WMD”. As a result, states the document, the Iraqi regime’s deceptions were nominally detected in CIA analyses, but “the reasons for those deceptions were misread”, thus adding to the alleged adventurism of the US invasion of Iraq. The report was publicized by the CIA last week, six years after the National Security Archive at George Washington University filed a Mandatory Declassification Review request for its release. It is available in .pdf format here.

8 Responses to CIA declassifies internal review on Iraq ‘intelligence failure’

  1. Pete says:

    I am hoping all of the following will be considered relevant – as it very much examines intelligence, political background and most importantly consequences:

    The results of the report “Misreading Intentions…” are a no brainer.

    The whole US foreign policy-national security apparatus were given their script by the democratically elected political leadership of the US. eg. the concept of a One percent threat from WMDs justifying the invasion of Iraq and yes a whole threat of one percent did exist…

    CIA and all other information collectors-analysers unsurprisingly concluded what was alreadly prescribed.

    US and broader Western national interest objectives have been acheived – specifically improved energy security. The Saudis and other key energy states in the region (including Iran) are better protected from the long standing Iraqi military threat.

    9/11 was also partially avenged by way of killing Muslims and laying more than one of their countries waste..

    Everybody is happy – though creating plausible war – involves incredible inhumanity by the worlds greatest country (which is usually great in many positive and humanitarian respects).

    Nevertheless, overwelming power on a superpower scale has/does lead to megadeath.

    America’s efforts in Vietnam were of course worse by an order of magnitude – but it was America that did the accounting and most of the publicity.

    Every Empire since time began has used the the same inhuman strategy….for national interests….including advantage…..

    The Americans, and infinitely more Iraqi’s, Afghani’s, who were killed, murdered, maimed, lost loved ones are to be pitied and should be helped more… to rebuild what is left of thier lives. But then again the Israeli righterwingers feel cause to visit megadeath on Iranians in and around Iran’s nuclear sites – which BTW just happens to include much/most of Tehran.

    Tehran has a metro population of 13.4 million people – but perhaps only half of them are at risk of dying, perhaps evening the score…

    (and I’m very pro-American)

  2. TFH says:

    Concur with Pete, the only intelligence failure was playing stupid for the hawks.

  3. TFH says:

    Apologies, got my phrases mixed up, should be; “playing stupid to the hawks” or “acting stupid for the hawks.”
    But the hawks are there in any case.

  4. AlbertE. says:

    NOBODY seems to understand this stuff at all. Saddam was in a high level deception game that worked for a while but then backfired. He sent his doomed defectors with bad info those defectors believing that what they told the Americans and OTHERS was true. I had thought originally that Chalabi was being fed info by the Iranians and then forwarded to the U.S. Iran wanted the American to perceive the WMD threat and take out Saddam. But NO it was Saddam who deceived the west to scare the Iranian but it worked against the man after 9/11 in a way he had never considered.

  5. TFH says:

    AlbertE: Saddam did not send defectors anywhere, he killed off his own body doubles when he got insecure, if not where are those guys? I think you give him too much credit.

    In regards to nine eleven, considering to how small the US intelligence community, army/weapons contracts and overall status of USA in the world had shrunk a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union and comparing to the new heights it has risen now, it is tempting to believe that some high stake shenanigans took place.

    Psychopaths rise fast in certain types of corporate environment (fast profit, damn the rest) and they are not stupid.

  6. Zen says:

    Pure unadulterated Disinformation and utter Hogwash by the usual suspects…
    Oh, and 9/11 was the most Barbaric False Flag attack in History by the utterly corrupt and beyond redemption US ZOG. Pathetic!

  7. intelNews says:

    @Pete: I think a lot of military and political strategists, American or otherwise, sympathize with your point. And there is no question that the CIA –and other intelligence agencies– became part of a broader military-oriented strategy that –after 11 years of testing– can hardly be deemed successful. We should be careful, however, not to overestimate the importance of intelligence agencies in shaping policy and decisions by the Executive. My view is that, no matter what the CIA had told the Executive in 2001, or 2003, it would have made no difference, since decisions had already been made to move to war –some say in as early as 1998, among the neo-conservative core of the Bush Administration. [JF]

  8. Anonymous says:

    Was it some sort of intelligence operation to start a WMD scare just when it was needed? Or just some Wall Street guys betting on war? Or ‘simply’ a lab technician working for the army who just lost it and went postal in a small pox viral way.

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