CIA declassifies internal review on Iraq ‘intelligence failure’

Report cover pageBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
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. Read more of this post

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Uproar as UK government classifies details of weapon expert’s death

Dr. David Kelly

Dr. David Kelly

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Public speculation over the alleged suicide of UK biological weapons expert Dr. David Kelly is bound to increase, after a senior state official secretly ordered that details of his death be kept secret for 70 years. Dr. Kelly, a British Ministry of Defense scientist, who had been employed by the United Nations as a weapons inspector, caused a major stir by becoming one of the sources of a 2003 BBC report disputing the British government’s claim that Iraq could deploy chemical or biological weapons at 45 minutes’ notice. He was later called to appear before a Parliamentary committee investigating the government’s claims about Iraq’s purported ‘weapons of mass destruction’. But on July 18, 2003, four days after appearing before the committee, Dr. Kelly’s was found dead at a wooded area near his home. Read more of this post

Breaking news: CIA has no clue about what’s going on in Iran

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Amidst all the furor about CIA meddling in the Iranian anti-government demonstrations, an informed voice of reasoning comes from intelligence veteran and current GQ intelligence and security correspondent Jeff Stein. Stein, who does not rule out attempts by the CIA to promote the demonstrators’ agenda in Tehran, wisely cautions pundits that Iran is currently “nearly impervious to Western intelligence –and Israeli intelligence, too”. Consequently, despite allegations to the contrary, “there can be little confidence that [anyone at the CIA] really knows what’s going on in Iran”, says Stein. Read more of this post

CIA, still bitter about Cheney, rejects application to release memos

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On April 20, former US Vice-President Dick Cheney urged the CIA to declassify several internal documents that “showed the success” of the Agency’s torture program against captured members of al-Qaeda. Several weeks earlier Cheney had actually applied to the US National Archives and Records Administration for the release of two internal documents pertaining to the torture controversy. But on Thursday, CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano issued an official letter rejecting Cheney’s application, because “the two memos […] were relevant to pending litigation” against the Agency. The CIA official assured reporters that the decision to reject Cheney’s application was made “[f]or that reason –and that reason only”. But insiders tell intelNews that Cheney’s clout with the CIA has been severely diminished, following his failure to come to the Agency’s rescue after a departing President Bush blamed the CIA for producing “false intelligence” on Iraq. Read more of this post

Waxman sides with CIA on Iraq intelligence dispute

For several years, disgraced former US Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzales, and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, have maintained that the CIA approved the routine use in Presidential speeches of dubious intelligence on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Recently, George W. Bush upheld to these claims by blaming the US intelligence community for the false information on Iraqi WMD. Now the chair of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), has written a memo [pdf] containing the results of his investigation on the matter. In it, Rep. Waxman explains that “the CIA had warned at least four National Security Council officials not to allow Bush, in three speeches in 2002, to cite questionable intelligence that Iraq had attempted to obtain uranium”. Read more of this post

Comment: Bush blaming intelligence for Iraq debacle is cowardice

US President George W. Bush commented on ABC News last week that the biggest regret of his Presidency is “the intelligence failure in Iraq” and that he “wish[es] the intelligence had been different, I guess”. This response by the President to a question concerning his Presidency’s “do-overs” represents the ultimate political cowardice. In blaming the intelligence services for the Iraq invasion debacle, George Bush knows that, as a matter of standard policy, the intelligence community is unable to respond to these allegations. Read Article →