Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
We Can't Do It Without You!  
     
Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search
   
 
   Headlines  
 

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article
 
 
Intelligence Historian Says CIA 'Buckled' on Iraq
Published on Saturday, June 7, 2003 by Reuters
Intelligence Historian Says CIA 'Buckled' on Iraq
by Jim Wolf
 

WASHINGTON - The CIA bowed to Bush administration pressure to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs ahead of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, a leading national security historian concluded in a detailed study of the spy agency's public pronouncements.


The CIA bowed to Bush administration pressure to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein 's weapons programs ahead of the U.S.-led war in Iraq , John Prados, a leading national security historian concluded in a detailed study of the spy agency's public pronouncements. A CIA spokesman dismissed the conclusions written in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. President Bush is shown receiving an update on the status of military action in Iraq March 20, with Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director George Tenet. (Eric Draper/White House via Reuters)

"What is clear from intelligence reporting is that until about 1998 the CIA was fairly comfortable with its assessments on Iraq," John Prados wrote in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

"But from that time on the agency gradually buckled under the weight of pressure to adopt alarmist views," he said. "After mid-2001, the rush to judgment on Iraq became a stampede."

A CIA spokesman, Mark Mansfield, dismissed Prados' conclusion, saying "The notion that we buckled under and adopted alarmist views is utter nonsense."

The supposedly imminent threat from Iraq's feared chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs was cited by U.S. and British leaders as the chief justification for going to war in March. Eight weeks after Saddam's ouster, U.S. forces have yet to find any chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

Prados is author of 11 books, including "Presidents' Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations from World War II through the Persian Gulf." His biography of the late CIA chief William Colby has been praised as "meticulously researched" by Thomas B. Allen, co-author of "Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage."

In his study of unclassified Iraq intelligence judgments, Prados said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had no need for a specially created intelligence team at the Pentagon to search for terrorist links with Iraq and other countries -- "George Tenet's CIA had already been hounded" into building the case for war.

TENET DENIAL

Tenet, the director of central intelligence, denied last week a rising tide of charges, including from insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity, that intelligence on Iraq had been slanted to buttress President Bush's approach to Saddam.

"The integrity of our process was maintained throughout, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong," Tenet said ahead of a report by a CIA review team examining prewar intelligence judgments.

In an Oct. 7, 2002, letter to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, Tenet said that in response to a U.S.-initiated attack that put Saddam in danger of defeat, the chances of his use of weapons of mass destruction were "pretty high, in my view."

Much of U.S. prewar intelligence findings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was flimsy but policymakers' goals were clear, said Mel Goodman, a professor at the Pentagon's National War College and director of the Intelligence Reform Project at the Center for International Policy in Washington.

"To deny that there was any pressure on the intelligence community is just absurd," said Goodman, who quit in 1990 as a CIA analyst over alleged skewing of intelligence.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, in a classified September 2002 report, said it lacked enough "reliable information" to conclude Iraq was amassing chemical weapons, even as the administration was pushing for war, an official said on Friday.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Ltd

###

Printer Friendly Version E-Mail This Article

 
     
 
 

CommonDreams.org is an Internet-based progressive news and grassroots activism organization, founded in 1997.
We are a nonprofit, progressive, independent and nonpartisan organization.

Home | About Us | Donate | Signup | Archives | Search

To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Copyrighted 1997-2011