The 2003 invasion of Iraq
In order to go to war in Iraq, the Bush administration needed Congress to pass a war resolution. In order to get Congress to vote for an attack Iraq, a nation that had not attacked the United States, a case had to be made that that country posed a threat to the United States. The groundwork for this case had been under construction for the previous 10 years and intensified after 9-11-2001. The Bush administration created a politically-motivated and controlled intelligence and foreign policy system that went around career intelligence analysts, blocked international weapons agreements and inspections in Iraq, and selectively presented to Congress a false depiction of the danger that Iraq represented.
The Bush administration's system for falsely claiming that Iraq had WMD then confronted the problem of how to explain the fact that after the invasion, no WMD could be found in Iraq. As part of "dealing" with this problem, Joe Wilson was attacked for expressing doubts about how pre-war intelligence was handled. The White House needed to limit the perception that lies had been used to take the United States to war. In an effort to depict his mission to Africa as unimportant, it was decided that members of the press should be told that Wilson's wife was involved in selecting Wilson to go to Africa. This quickly led to the realization by reporter Robert Novak that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, a fact that he published. This led to a federal investigation of how the secret CIA identity of Valerie Wilson was leaked.
The investigation revealed that Lewis Libby leaked Valerie Wilson's CIA identity to reporters. During the leak investigation, Libby made statements to investigators that contradicted statements by other witnesses and other evidence. Libby was charged with obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury to a grand jury, and two counts of making false statements. Statements made to the grand jury by both Libby and Karl Rove indicate that they both claimed to have been told of Valerie Wilson's CIA identity by reporters. In Rove's case, he apparently claimed not to know that Valerie Wilson's CIA identity was a secret and this claim was apparently not contradicted by other witnesses and so far he has not been charged.
- 1) Will there be an investigation of pre-war handling of intelligence? In particular, who was responsible for placing mention of uranium in the 2003 State of the Union speech and in general the roles of Libby, John Bolton and Donald Rumsfeld in presenting a false image of Iraq to Colin Powel and Congress.
- 2) Will the investigation of the forged Niger uranium documents reveal who created them? Will it reveal who controlled the timing of them reaching US intelligence and the United Nations?
- 3) Will the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks reveal who was behind the attacks and attempts to link them to Iraq?
- 4) Will Novak reveal how he first learned of the involvement of Wilson's wife in the mission to Niger?
- 5) Will DCIA Tenet ever explain his role in placing the views of political appointees above those of career intelligence analysists?
- 6) What led to Bush's desire to go to war against Iraq? What other political forces combined with Bush's political ambitions to make war a reality.
- 7) Is there a way to get the genie back in the bottle or is this truly the dawn of a century of Neocon Imperialism? Will Bush's dream of converting war "capital" into political victories come true?
- 8) Will Americans react with revulsion to having been manipulated into war or will they just go along for the ride?
Scope of the Fitzgerald investigationEdit
Original authorization for Special Counsel Fitzgerald: "By the authority vested in the Attorney General by law, including 28 U. S .C. §§ 509, 510, and 515, and in my capacity as Acting Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 508, I hereby delegate to you all the authority of the Attorney General with respect to the Department's investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity, and I direct you to exercise that authority as Special Counsel independent of the supervision or control of any officer of the Department." (PDF)
Soon after starting his investigation, Special Counsel Fitzgerald requested from the Justice Department and received confirmation that he had "authority to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal criminal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure, as well as federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, your investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted". (PDF)
WMD in IraqEdit
In 1953 the United States (CIA) and Britain (MI6) over-threw the democratically chosen government of Iran Operation Ajax (see). British interests in the region centered on the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Dwight D. Eisenhower turned the CIA loose and set in motion 25 years of terror against Iranian nationalists, mainly by way of SAVAK. Following the resignation of Nixon and election of Jimmy Carter, the actions of the CIA and puppet dictators like the Shaw of Iran came under scrutiny. As Secretary of Defense for President Ford, Donald Rumsfeld transferred much clandestine intelligence activity from the CIA (for example, see Operation Mockingbird) to the department of defense. Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney helped conceal clandestine projects of the U.S. intelligence community. (U.S. President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States) In 1979 the Shaw was over-thrown and anti-American sentiment in Iran lingered because of the long CIA support for the dictatorial Shaw.
With the fall of the Shaw, war was inevitable between Saddam Hussein and the newly empowered Shi'ites in Iran. The Nixon administration's policy has been to use Iran as a base for operations to counter Soviet influence in Iraq (see) which was under the control of the socialist Ba'ath party and which had taken control of Iraq's oil industry in 1972. From 1920-1922 Britain took control of Iraq by military force, possibly including the use of chemical weapons (see, also). From 1927-1971 the Iraq Petroleum Company (a British company and an important source of oil for Britain) exploited the oil resources of Iraq. The British maintained control in Iraq by supporting the Sunni minority. During World War II, Britain used armed force to maintain control of Iraq. After the failed 1947 UN Partition Plan, the 1948 war of independence for Israel resulted in the destruction of the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline and Iraq's ancient Jewish community. Before the Republican administration lost power in 1977, Henry Kissinger further embroiled Iran in conflict with Iraq over the strategic Arvand/Shatt al-Arab waterway. Khomeini, while exiled from Iran by the Shaw, lived in Iraq, at the Shi'ite city of An Najaf where he encouraged resistance against unfavorable political and religious biases imposed by the Ba'ath party.
In 1981, Israel destroyed the Osiraq 40 megawatt light-water nuclear reactor in Iraq.
During the Reagan administration, the United States allowed Saddam Hussein to develop WMD which were used against the Iraqi dissident population and Iran (source). President Reagan's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Donald Rumsfeld, facilitated oil and arms deals with Saddam Hussein while ignoring Iraq's use of WMD against Iran and Kurds. The U.S. also secretly sold arms to Iran. After the first war in Iraq, the United Nations acted (UN Resolution 687, UNSCOM) to remove the WMD threat in Iraq; inspectors, military strikes and trade sanctions kept Saddam Hussein from developing new WMD.
A number of forces have combined to make Iraq a focus of U.S. policy, including: oil, Israel (see), and other regional issues. With the end of the Cold War many Neocons decided that the time had come to tame the Mideast and the logical place to start was Iraq.
After the end of the first war in Iraq, the Iraqi National Congress tried to carry out an armed revolt in Iraq. After that effort failed, neoconservative strategists (for example, Francis Brooke, see) formulated plans to build on INC efforts to stimulate additional United States intervention in Iraq. Brooke has been tied to CIA front operations such as the Rendon Group (see). They made heavy use of former Iraqis (Iraqi National Congress, particularly Ahmed Chalabi) who were willing and able to invent many claims about continuing efforts in Iraq to develop WMD. In 1998, Saddam Hussein attempted to relieve himself of U.N. WMD oversight. The United States responded with the Iraq Liberation Act. Neocons, including many future Bush administration members, claimed that because of the threat posed by Iraqi WMD, President Clinton should start a war in Iraq that would remove Saddam Hussein from power and put the Iraqi National Congress in control of Iraq (source, also). In December 1999 UN Resolution 1284 established the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission to monitor WMD in Iraq. The U.S. policy of containment of Iraq by enforcement of the "no fly zones" in Iraq continued through the first part of the Bush administration. In 1998, Republican Senator Strom Thurmond stated that "Saddam has established his deadly viruses" and called for the use of "military action" against Iraq (see). The basis for saying that Iraq had WMD (deadly viruses) and that Iraqi WMDs justified military action by the United Staes has never been explained.
A 1995 UNSCOM report claimed that, "In the draft full, final and complete disclosures, Iraq acknowledged that it had produced more VX agent than had previously been declared. Earlier declarations had stated that only 260 kilogrammes were produced in 1988. In the draft, Iraq admitted that 1.8 tonnes had been produced in that year and a further 1.5 tonnes in 1990." UNSCOM complained that there was no evidence to prove that Iraq did not still have large amounts of VX. During the Clinton administration, rumors of Iraqi WMD such as VX drove policy discussions but there was no consensus for an invasion of Iraq. In 1996 Philip Finnegan reported for Defense News that Iraq had a "stockpile of chemical and biological weapons include as much as 300 tons of the highly toxic chemical VX". Richard Butler claimed that tests performed by the United Staes had detected traces of the nerve gas VX on matrials found in Iraq. This claim was never substantiated or reproduced. A report in April 1998 of the United States Air Force claimed that UNSCOM had obtained evidence that "Iraq had enough chemical stockpiles to produce 10 tons of storable VX persistent nerve agents." The report also stated that Iraq had an "Unaccounted VX nerve agent program sufficient to produce 20 to 160 tons of deadly nerve agent". Right through the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the White House website implied (and still states) that Iraq had "500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agents". Right up to the start of the 2003 invasion, the White House justified abandonment of the inspection process not because of what it found but because of what it had not found. As stated by Ari Fleischer, "the weapons of mass destruction that kill even more -- the anthrax, the nerve agent, the VX -- are unaccounted for". The fact that none existed did not matter. In the Bush administration, rumors of WMDs created the case for an invasion of Iraq.
1999 - David Wurmser (American Enterprise Institute) publishes "Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein", outlining why the United States should invade Iraq. Presidential candidate George Bush openly discusses his plans to remove Saddam from power. In private, he expresses confidence that a defeated Iraq would provide him with the "political capital" with which he would have a successful presidency (see).
Upon taking power, members of the Bush administration were still devoted to the idea of taking a tougher approach to Iraq rather than relying on U.N. WMD inspectors. Civilian professional analysists for the Mideast in the Pentagon are replaced by Neocon pro-war activists (see). Undersecretary of State John Bolton worked to prevent further U.N. efforts to bring Iraq under international agreements against WMD (see).
Worlds in collision - April 2001: Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Clarke debate terrorism threats; Clarke argues that Osama bin Laden is the real danger, Wolfowitz says the problem is Iraq (see). Even the Bush administration's energy strategy targets Iraq: Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century. On September 11, 2001, the "attack Iraq" wing of the Bush administration saw an opportunity to include Iraq in the "war on terror" and initiated attempts to justify a new war against Iraq by claiming that Iraq had ties to terrorists and WMD that were an imminent threat to the United States (source).
Walter Pincus November 2005- reports on Senator Carl Levin who was able to have a key piece of "Iraqi terrorist intelligence" declassified. (see)al-Qaida member Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi had once claimed that Iraq had passed WMD information to al-Qaida. Starting in September 2002 this claim was used by the Bush administration to help make their case for an invasion of Iraq. Declassified documents now show that the original Defense Intelligence Agency report on Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi's claims concluded that it was most likely that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi was intentionally misleading because he could provide no details about the claimed Iraq-al-Qaida links. In January 2004 Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi retracted his claims about Iraq. In February 2004 the CIA retracted all intelligence reports based on information from Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. Senator Levin suggested that Bush administration officials knew that the intelligence community did not trust the claims made by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi but decided to present the claimed Iraq-al-Qaida link as fact.
According to CIA Director George Tenet (Tenet's statement), soon after the attacks of 9/11/01, the CIA started getting intelligence reports concerning attempts by Iraq to obtain uranium. At that time, there were existing stockpiles of uranium ore in Iraq that were under the control of the United Nations. It could be argued that if Iraq had wanted to go around the UN WMD monitors and develop radiological weapons, it would have had to obtained new uranium ore that the UN inspectors did not know about. Reports of Iraq obtaining uranium from Africa and other reports about WMD in Iraq were used by the Bush administration to justify a new war against Iraq (March 2003). Later, U.S. government inspectors concluded that Iraq did not have WMD during the period of UN inspections leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq (U.S. Iraq Survey Group Final Report September 30, 2004). During the creation of the 2003 war in Iraq, the Bush administration frequently tried to link Iraq to al Qaeda(see), but the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States eventually concluded that there was no real evidence of such links.
How Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans along with Cheney, Libby, Hadley et al created the war The spies who pushed for war by Julian Borger
The role of the press in creating the 2003 Iraq warEdit
Starting in the 1990s, the "attack Iraq" Neocons nurtured and fed a cadre of sympathetic media voices who were willing to beat the drums of war. In many cases, the reporting that was done was to repeat "news" that had first been constructed by others without questioning its validity.
Trial run: 1997-1998 Iraq has enough deadly biological agents to kill every human being on earth - Martin Sieff.
Round II, pre 9-11: "Iraq never allowed the United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM, to inspect its biological weapons facilities." (see)
Fast out of the gate: pointing to Iraq on 9-11-2001
In the know: even before the Congress voted for war in Iraq, Sieff was publishing descriptions of Pentagon and British plans and troop movements for the invasion based on information from "Well-placed armed forces officers serving in the Pentagon" and "British security sources" (see).
List of published "news" articles containing Iraqi National Congress propaganda (see)
Judy Miller - 1998 "Round One" inspectors have no idea of the whereabouts of some 25 germ warheads made for missiles with a range of 400 miles
"Round Two" - The Bush era: WMD book and reporting on WMD during the creation of the Iraq war.
"Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War" by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad (2002) New York: Simon & Schuster. This was a popular book during the creation of the 2003 war in Iraq, helping to stir up fears of bioterrorism.
Miller served as a media spokesperson for Benador Associates, and along with many other talking heads from inside and outside the Bush Administration, used the print and video media to create the 2003 Iraq war from fabricated WMD "intelligence" (source).
Some of Miller's WMD stories were effectively retracted by the New York Times in its May 26, 2004, confession of errors, "The Times and Iraq" (see). However, the neither Miller or the Times has explained Miller's eagerness to parrot bogus "intelligence" claims fed to her by Iraqi defectors and Bush administration sources and why the editors of the Times eagerly published her bogus stories, leaving it to other reporters to publish corrections of Miller's previously published errors. Miller's Dec. 20, 2001, story "An Iraqi Defector Tells of Work on at Least 20 Hidden Weapons Sites" was partially corrected in a July 9, 2004, article called, "Defectors' Reports on Iraq Arms Were Embellished, Exile Asserts."
President Bush 2002 State of the Union (Axis of Evil): "The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime which has something to hide form the civilized world" (source)
Other Miller articles based on falsified "intelligence" such as the Jan. 24, 2003 "Defectors Bolster U.S. Case Against Iraq, Officials Say" were fully accepted by the Times without adequate editorial over sight. Miller's Sept 8, 2002 article, "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts," (this was the infamous, "The first sign of a `smoking gun,' they argue, may be a mushroom cloud," article), like many Miller articles, was later shown to be based on bogus interpretations of "intelligence". On the same day (September 8) National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on TV, "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud". Miller's article, "Verification Is Difficult at Best, Say the Experts, and Maybe Impossible," Sept. 18, 2002, exaggerated the ability of Iraq to produce nuclear weapons. These articles were part of the "hard sell" by the Bush administration to get Congress to okay the invasion of Iraq (achieved by mid-October). At this time, CIA director Tenet and other intelligence officials were telling members of Congress about the Niger uranium documents and other intelligence that supposedly demonstrated that Iraq posed a threat to U.S. security. Tenet knew that CIA analysts had concluded that the Niger documents were false. President Bush's speech before the Congressional vote for war in Iraq: "we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud" (see).
There has never been an explanation for one of the all time great bioterrorism scare articles, Miller's Dec. 3, 2002, "C.I.A. Hunts Iraq Tie to Soviet Smallpox" in which Iraq was linked to weaponized smallpox. Miller's sources ("senior American officials," "foreign scientists," "American officials," "an administration official," "administration officials," and "an informant whose identity has not been disclosed") have never been identified. However, President Bush went on TV 10 days later to announce a smallpox vaccination program, a new policy he linked to the September the 11th attacks. (source)
Other Miller gems include her April 21, 2003, article "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert" and her Nov. 12, 2002, "Iraq Said To Try To Buy Antidote Against Nerve Gas." Based on information cooked up by Iraqi National Congress operatives and tips from "senior Bush administration officials," Miller's articles played an important part in selling the 2003 Iraq war. Only later did the public learn that the WMD hysteria had been built on cooked and forged "intelligence" and a preconceived desire to go to war (see).
Miller struck a deal with Rumsfeld to report from Iraq on the search for WMD. Miller went to the Mideast with Chalabi and even participated in attempts to have Chalabi installed as puppet ruler. After the fall of Iraq, the search for WMD had to be carefully staged to show that Iraq had time to destroy and hide all of the WMD, and Miller had to carefully report this Rumsfeld-scripted account(see). Barton Gellman crossed paths with Miller and when he was in the same place at the same time and he reported different events (Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq: Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons), pointing up the nature of some of Miller's fabrications. However, existing within an information vacuum, Gellman also reported some of the same fabrications that were provided by their handlers. But it was Miller who had the inside track on every "scoop"; Miller even reported that a new document had been found linking Iraq to Africa and uranium (see). All seemed well, nobody could show that it had been invented WMD "intelligence" that had justified the war and "mission accomplished" Bush seemed to on cruise control for re-election.
2001 anthrax attacks The attempt to link Iraq to the post 9-11 anthrax attacks was foiled by the ignorance of the terrorists who carried out the attacks. Rumors were spread trying to link Iraq to the anthrax strain used in the attacks (see). However, the strain of anthrax used in the attacks (Ames) was different from the anthrax strain that available to Iraq in the 1980s (see). Ultimately, what the 2001 anthrax terrorists accomplished was to show that someone with access to an anthrax strain used in U.S. bioweapons laboratories attempted to implicate Iraq in the 9-11 attacks. However, during the creation of the 2003 war in Iraq, the anthrax attacks played an important role in creating bioterrorism hysteria. The FBI investigation and attempt to identify those involved in the 2001 anthrax attacks continues.
Judy Miller was part of the post 9-11 attempt to link Iraq to the anthrax scare (see).
Other false press reports about Iraq and bioterrorism:
- In the lead up to the 2003 war in Iraq, Audrey Gillan published in Britain some of the same bioterrorism warnings that were published by Judy Miller in the United States. Like Miller, after the invasion of Iraq, Gillian was given "unique access" to invading military units in Iraq, in her case, the British army of occupation in southern Iraq (source). Reporters were used to give an image of independent news while having to accept censorship and restrictions on what was reported.
Examples of pre-war reporting by Gillan:
- "Growing threat of bioterrorist attacks" by Audrey Gillan and Brian Whitaker, Tuesday October 16, 2001 (source). The title says more than the content.
- "Iraq is known to have amassed enough weapons of mass destruction to enable them to wipe out the world's population." <-- from: "Worldwide spread of anthrax panic: Biological weapons link to al-Qaida; FBI seeks evidence to connect hijackers, Iraq and germ warfare fears" by Audrey Gillan, Tuesday October 16, 2001 (source). Reporters accpted the role of repeating unverified "facts" and statements provided by sources who would not allow their names to be used.
False reports about invasion of Iraq:
- "Military sources and diplomats in Washington confirmed Iraq had been taken off a target list in the war on terrorism, despite calls from the Pentagon to use the conflict to eliminate a long-standing foe." <-- from "Iraq removed from US target list" by Audrey Gillan and Julian Borger, Tuesday October 2, 2001 (source). Rather than devlop independent channels of information, some reporters just repeated statements released by the Bush administration. It would be interesting to fully examine the fates of the reporters who did question Bush administration's position and who reported on views that differed from that of the dominant Rumsfeld-Cheney pro-invasion wing of the administration and compare to the reporters who repeated the positions of the Rumsfeld-Cheney pro-invasion wing. Who won the journalism awards? Who lost their jobs?
- In creating the 2003 war in Iraq, Fox News had an endless stream of WMD scare stories such as: "The information about Iraq's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program has caused a "real concern" among defense personnel, senior U.S. officials tell Fox News. They're worried that these vehicles have already been, or could be, transported inside the United States to be used in an attack." (see) This was one of the WMD examples used by Secretary of State Colin Powell as part his presentation to the U.N. Security Council just before the invasion of Iraq.
- After the invasion, WMD were repeatedly "found". Examples:
- After the invasion, WMD were repeatedly "found". Examples:
April 7 - U.S. forces near Baghdad discovered 20 medium-range missiles containing sarin and mustard gas.
April 10 - weapons-grade plutonium found at Al Tuwaitha.
May 2 - "bioweapons lab" found in Mosul.
May 8 - Analyst Major General Paul Valley states that WMDs and mobile weapons labs are buried in the Bakaa Valley.
May 22 - the U.S. has captured Iraq WMD experts "Dr. Germ" and "Ms. Anthrax", more time is needed to convert these assets into WMD leads.
June 2 - Bush is shown in Poland saying that mobile bioweapons labs have been found in Iraq.
The role of the press in outing PlameEdit
Former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow was contacted by Novak before the column was published. Novak had been told that Wilson's wife had arranged for Wilson's trip. Harlow warned Novak that Wilson's wife "had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed". Harlow "did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified".(see)
Who called the reporters?
Two members of the Vice President's staff have been most clearly implicated:
- Lewis Libby
- "We believe that Hannah was the major player in this" (source) John Hannah - senior national security aide, Vice President Cheney's staff
- The involvement of many other "foot soldiers" working for Cheney in the Pentagon or State Department are possible, including David Wurmser. Wurmser worked at the State Department under John Bolton, and was in the right place to have been the one to send to the White House a secret State Department memo that identified Plame as a CIA operative. Wurmser called for replacing the Saddam with an INC puppet government in 1997 (Wall Street Journal, 11/12/97). According to the indictment of Libby, Undersecretary of State John Bolton was contacted by Libby at the end of May and Libby asked for information about Wilson's trip to Africa; over the next few weeks the information was provided. It would we interesting to know how the State Department was able to find out about a CIA mission and why the White House would have to ask the State Department to provide a report on a CIA mission.
Libby and Hannah are part of Vice President Cheney's "government within a government" that controls of U.S. foreign policy. Hannah's neoconservative credentials were forged during the Clinton administration when he was head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that still (2005) tries to blame "destruction of records and the looting of facilities following the fall of Baghdad" for failed attempts to find evidence for WMD in Iraq. Hannah was a key foot soldier in creating the 2003 Iraq war. Hannah was the 'principal point of contact' in the White House for making use of all the false Iraq WMD intelligence being manufactured by members of the Iraqi National Congress (source).
Why Miller sat in jail. With the approach of the date for termination of the Grand Jury, Patrick Fitzgerald caved to Miller's demands and limited the range of her testimony. Will we ever know what she was unwilling to testify about under oath? Editors of the New York Times were allowed to edit Miller's notes so as to hide the identities of some of Miller's sources from the Grand Jury (see).
When did Joe Wilson become a target of the Bush Administration?Edit
In 2002 Wilson had become one of the many commentators on the Bush administration's attempt to create a war against Iraq (see). He appeared on TV along with many pro-war figures who were willing to accept the falsified Iraq WMD "intelligence" as justification for war. Wilson differed from other commentators in that he had inside information about the fake Niger/Iraq uranium "intelligence". Wilson's view was that the U.S. should work with the U.N. and the international community to block Iraq's WMD aspirations, "I'm not against the use of force for the purposes of achieving the objective that has been agreed upon by the United Nations in the international community, disarmament. If and when it becomes necessary. I think that is legitimate." (source). Such a restrained U.S. policy ran counter to the Bush administration's goal of all-out war. In discussing Bush's drive for war, Wilson observed, "I suspect that Saddam understands that this is not about disarmament." If the objective had been to make sure that Iraq did not have WMD, that could have been accomplished without war. Wilson stated that he thought it was more important to get the people of Iraq out from under Saddam, but "The problem really is a war which has us invading, conquering and then subsequently occupying Iraq may not achieve that liberation that we're talking about." Wilson pointed out that the Bush administration strategy was to change governments in the Mideast. "Somehow it's hard for me to imagine that a democratic system will emerge out of the ashes of Iraq in the near term. And when and if it does, it's hard for me to believe that it will be more pro-American and more pro-Israeli than what you've got now." In the end, Wilson came down to the need to trust in Bush, "I hope along with everybody that the President in his assessment is correct. And that I am so wrong that I'm never invited to another foreign policy debate again." Wilson had been giving talks about "The Case against Regime Change" and wrote "Virtually all agree war will spawn more terrorism, not less" (source).
President Bush (2003 State of the Union) - "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." (source)
"Robert Joseph, then the National Security Council staff member supervising preparation of the Iraq weapons material in the speech" (see)
According to Wilson's book (The Politics of Truth, 2004), there was a meeting in Vice President Cheney's office in March, 2003, (before the invasion of Iraq) at which an attempt to discredit Wilson was planned. At this meeting were Libby, John Hannah and David Wurmser. In June the White House may have learned of Wilson's trip to Africa for the CIA. Walter Pincus learned about "a retired U.S. Ambassador's" trip to Africa.
Nicholas Kristof spoke to Wilson and published (6 May, 2003) an Op-Ed in the New York Times reporting that the CIA knew in 2002 that the Iraq/Niger uranium documents were fake (Wilson was not mentioned by name)(see).
The New York Times (David Johnson, Ed Stevenson, Dug Jehl) reported that Libby and Cheney knew as early as June 12 that Valerie Wilson worked for the CIA because Cheney had asked CIA Director George Tenet for information about Joe Wilson. Pincus published a news article (June 13) about the Niger documents being fakes (but not naming Wilson)(see). The Pincus article cites "senior administration officials" and describes the White House "excuse" for the State of the Union uranium statement: the CIA had failed to use their available intelligence to keep mention of uranium out of the speech. However, this excuse has since been refuted; in 2002, the CIA made repeated attempts to keep the Bush administration from including mention of uranium in their speeches (see). Someone between the CIA and Bush made the active choice to include mention of uranium in the speech against the advice of CIA officials. On 23 June 2003, Libby and Miller start having discussions about Wilson and his trip to Africa. It may not have been until July (State Department Memo) that White House staff member(s) were given instructions to tell a group of reporters that Wilson's wife had a role in recruiting Wilson to the CIA for his trip to Africa. At some point, Carl Rove was informed of Plame's CIA connection and when he spoke to Matthew Cooper (July 11), Rove made it clear to Cooper that Wilson's wife was a CIA operative (source). This was a few days before Novak's published article naming of Plame as a CIA operative and repeating the fabricated claim that Wilson was selected by his wife for his fact-finding mission to Africa.
Why did the White House need to discredit Wilson in March of 2003? This was when the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the Niger yellowcake documents were fake (see). Also, early in March of 2003, Wilson's report to the CIA about his trip to Africa was starting to circulate widely within the U.S. government, showing that the Bush Administration's uranium claims were wrong (source). On the eve of war, the White House did not want their house of falsified WMD cards to start collapsing.
After Wilson published his account of his fact-finding trip to Africa (July 6, 2003), Bush administration members told reporters that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Novak published the story on 14 July, 2003. Wilson has said that a few days after Novak's article was published, another reporter called Wilson and said, "I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. He says your wife is fair game." (see)
18 July, 2003 - British WMD inspector David Kelly dies under unusual circumstances after his doubts about British estimates of Iraqi WMD capabilities are made public.
How the war in Iraq was constructedEdit
Bob Woodward claimed in a book (Bush at War) that in November 2001, President Bush gave Rumsfeld orders to prepare the invasion with Iraq. In addition to the war planning group within Vice President Cheney's office, the Bush administration created special offices or used existing entities inside key government agencies to coordinate the creation of a new war in Iraq. Many of the newly created offices came into being after Operation Anaconda failed to find Osama bin Laden and the Bush administration turned the focus of its anti-terrorism war towards Iraq. In June 2002, the Bush administration secretly initiated the war with Operation Southern Focus. Neocon attempts to show that there were WMD in Iraq and Iraq had links to terrorists had been on-going since the mid 1990s. In 2002, these efforts intensified as the White House now worked to obtain Congressional approval for war in Iraq and public support for a war in which the U.S. would attack a country that had not attacked the United States.
- "think tanks" such as the American Enterprise Institute have provided a home for unemployed "blame Iraq for everything" Neocons like Laurie Mylroie (see). Mylroie has been a major Iraq WMD propagandist since 1997 (see). "Iraq and Bin-Laden are working together."
- October 30, 2001 - "Iraq was behind the September 11th attack and Iraq is also behind the anthrax letters." (see)
- Who would believe such a thing? James Woolsey was called upon to float this one in The Wall Street Journal, with other parallel attempts (for example, follow the $$$$$$ to Ziad K. Abdelnour) --> "It appears that the Bush administration is waiting until it has accumulated incontrovertible evidence of Iraqi involvement in terror attacks against the US before shifting the focus of its war on terror." (see also) Former CIA director Woolsey was involved with the Iraqi National Congress Support Foundation, an INC front for channeling U.S. government money to support Iraqi's trying to over-throw Saddam Hussein (see).
- Unable to sell the terror connection, emphasis was shifted to a campaign to manufacture evidence for Iraqi WMD.
- October 30, 2001 - "Iraq was behind the September 11th attack and Iraq is also behind the anthrax letters." (see)
- British connections: Operation Rockingham - helps Neocon efforts to provide falsified Iraqi WMD "intelligence". Also: Operation Mass Appeal (see). Khidhir Hamza, an Iraqi nuclear scientist who defected in 1994 was a source for claims regarding Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program in the lead-up to the 2003 (see, also).
- National Security Council - "Attack first" strategists such as Robert Joseph took control of U. S. policy. Robert Joseph has been implicated as a key force in using false evidence about an Iraqi nuclear program to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq (see, also).
- Inside the White House (established in August 2002) - White House Iraq Group, high level coordinating office for contacts between people like Rove and Libby. Rove has claimed that Liddy "may have" told him the Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Stephen Hadley is another member of the White House Iraq Group whose name has been linked to the Plame identity investigation (see). Stephen Hadley was the Deputy National Security Advisor, when on 9 September 2002, he was reportedly told of problems with the Niger/Iraq/uranium documents. If so, he would have been in a position to prevent President Bush from using the fake documents to make the case for war in Iraq (see). Left the White House at the end of 2002, but testified in the Plame case: Mary Matalin - would have been present when the decision was made to ignore evidence against the Niger/Iraq/uranium rumor and use the falsified Niger uranium documents to get the Congress to vote for war in Iraq.
- In early 2002, convicted Irangate participant John Poindexter was named to head the Information Awareness Office. This audacious military thought control initiative attracted a large amount of negative press and was eventually place under the "untouchable" shield of anti-terrorism programs ("Terrorist Information Awareness").
- The Office of Special Plans was created in October 2002 to handle prewar military propaganda for the invasion of Iraq. Complaints about how Donald Rumsfeld managed military propaganda for the war has come from retiring career Pentagon officials (example). "information collected by this office was in some instances not even shared with established intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was passed on to the National Security Council and the president without having been vetted with anyone other than political appointees" - Dave Obey (see)
Senator Carl Levin's report on this Bush administration system (Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Doug Feith) for pushing fake intelligence to the White House and Congress while avoiding the conventional intelligence community. Another name often mentioned as playing a role in the utilization of fake intelligence is William Luti (see).
- Also frequently mentioned as a person exerting influence over the intelligence vetting process during the creation of the 2003 Iraq war is Newt Gingrich of the American Enterprise Institute. Newt Gingrich has tried to blame Joe Wilson for the fact that his wife's CIA identity was revealed (see). According to Gingrich, "Judith Miller's a very fine reporter with -- who did very outstanding work in Iraq" (see). Gingrich on Plame, "her husband has now turned out to be a consistent liar". Gingrich logic: "The notion of how Mr. Wilson could have imagined that he could start a national story attacking the president of the United States and not have somebody notice his wife was working at the CIA when the CIA hired him to go to Niger strikes me as beyond credibility."
Gingrich associate Clifford May has publicly reported that prior to Novak's article, among Neocons, Plame's identity was "something of an open secret." (see)
- As Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John Bolton took control of flow of information from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and fed selected intelligence information to Secretary of State Colin Powell in order to engineer Powell's support an invasion of Iraq. Powell and Bolton eventually had a mini-war over the handling of intelligence inside the State Department; Powell lost and left the Bush administration while President Bush slipped Bolton past a wall of congressional opposition and made him U.N. ambassador. While most of the United States was upset over the falsified basis for the war in Iraq, Neocon reporters and Bush administration supporters such as William Kristol and Robert Novak wrote news articles in support of Bolton. Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman has indicated that classified documents implicate Bolton in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq had secretly attempted to obtain uranium. (Lawrence B. Wilkerson's account)
- The weak link in the White House's control of propaganda was at the CIA, where all of the career intelligence agents could not be controlled by Bush administration political appointees. In particular, The CIA-sponsored fact finding mission to Africa by Joe Wilson became a major problem for the White House, prompting White House officials to take action against Wilson, his wife, and anyone else who questioned the falsified intelligence that the Bush administration had used to justify war in Iraq. For his failure to contain CIA intelligence, George Tenet was forced out of his position as director of the CIA.
Col. Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff said, "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. And then when the bureaucracy was presented with the decision to carry them out, it was presented in a such a disjointed, incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out." (source)
After prividing Congress with a classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, on Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page public document titled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs." It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as "If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year," underscored the White House's claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq. ("What I Knew Before the Invasion" by Bob Graham, Sunday, November 20, 2005 in the Washington Post).
The fake uranium documentsEdit
October 15, 2001 - The CIA is told by a foreign intelligence source that Niger and Iraq had a uranium deal. It has been reported the faked documents linking Iraq to Niger uranium were produced as early as 2000 (see). However, it has also been suggested that in January 2001, the Niger Embassy in Rome was raided for materials used to produce the forged "yellowcake" WMD documents (see).
Michael Ledeen is associated with Benador Associates, along with Judy Miller and many other Neocons. Ledeen has been implicated in United States knowledge of the Iraq/Niger uranium documents by way of his contacts with Italian intelligence, possibly starting with a December 2001 meeting in Rome involving neocons Larry Franklin, Harold Rhodes and Niccolo Pollari, the head of Italy’s intelligence agency SISMI and Antonio Martino, the Italian defense minister. It was also in December of 2001 the Judy Miller published an article in the New York Times reporting what were later learned to be false claims about WMD from an Iraqi deserter. Ledeen's Neocon credentials were previously forged as a participant in the Irangate scandal. Other names mentioned in connection with the forged documents: Duane Claridge, Wayne Downing and Francis Brooke (source).
5 February 2002 - The CIA is given additional details about the claimed Niger and Iraq uranium deal.
26 February 2002 - The CIA sends Joe Wilson to Niger. After the trip, a CIA report concludes that there is no evidence that Niger had a uranium deal with Iraq.
25 March 2002 - A third round of foreign intelligence about the claimed Niger and Iraq uranium deal reaches the CIA. 9 October 2002 - Niger documents given to U.S. in Italy. 15 January 2003 - In the now familiar pre-Bush speech leak, Robert Maginnis mentioned the secret Niger uranium claims in a published oped article after he was given the secret information by a Bush Administration official, raising the question: is it treason if the secrets you leak are only about forged documents that you created? From October of 2002, retired Colonel Maginnis was part of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Military Analyst Group (see).
Maginnis was also part of the orchestrated campaign to discredit Hans Blix during the creation of the 2003 war in Iraq. In January 2003 it was reported that, "Maginnis says according to some Pentagon documents he obtained from Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, there are "thousands" of mustard gas and GX gas weapons that are unaccounted for. Blix met with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice this week, and reports say she was very tough on Blix" (see). It did not matter if Blix did not find WMD, he did not know what he was doing, "This crew," Maginnis said, "... were vetted only for their technical expertise and not their reliability."
The Niger/Iraq uranium forgeries were first passed to members of the Italian press, but rather than becoming the subject of media reports, they entered into the intelligence community's data stream (see). Harold Rhode went on to work for Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans, the Pentagon propaganda center for the Iraq invasion. Rhode was a liaison for false intelligence from Ahmed Chalabi. Larry Franklin, another of Rumsfeld's foot soldiers, is already the subject of a criminal investigation concerning leaked secret Iraq documents.
In February 2002, the United States attempted to verify the forged uranium documents. Part of this verification process was Joe Wilson's trip the Africa. Based on its investigations, the CIA doubted that Niger had provided uranium to Iraq. However, the "yellowcake forgery" also entered the intelligence stream through British intelligence, and their influence contributed to the climate for war. It was not until March 2003 that the International Atomic Energy Agency publicly disclosed that the Niger yellowcake documents were fake.
In 2002, as the war in Afghanistan wound down, President Bush decided to make the case for invasion of Iraq, based on the danger of Iraqi WMD being used against the United States. The decision for war was made about the time that Iraq again refused to cooperate with additional UN weapons inspection proposals being forced on it at the start of July. The July 23, 2002 "Downing Street Memo" was later leaked; it showed that by that date the Bush administration had made a commitment to invade Iraq and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". Many Republicans such as former President George H. W. Bush publicly stated that war with Iraq would be a mistake. The White House then escalated efforts to raise fears over Iraqi WMD. Judy Miller's famous "aluminum tubes" article was published Sept. 8, 2002, in the "New York Times", citing "American intelligence experts" as interpreting the Iraqi "aluminum tubes" as part of the Iraqi WMD program.
On September 26, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld linked Iraq to al Qaeda terrorists and identified Iraq as having aided al-Qaeda to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Finding a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq was a major part of the Neocon strategy to start a war in Iraq. Cheney led the Bush administration's full court press to show that Mohamed Atta had conspired with Iraqi intelligence in 2001 prior to the attack on the United States. The FBI and CIA concluded that attempts to link Iraq and al-Qaeda were bogus, but Cheney and Neocon-fed media continued to emphasize the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda as providing the basis for an invasion of Iraq. On October 16, Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq became law, authorizing war in Iraq because of, "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region," and "Iraq's connection to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda."
The fake Niger uranium documents figured in intelligence reports given to Congress just before the vote for war. CIA Director George J. Tenet, on Sept. 24, 2002, cited the Niger evidence in a closed-door briefing to the Senate intelligence committee on a national intelligence estimate of Iraq's weapons programs (see). Tenet has claimed that intelligence briefers expressed doubts to Members of Congress about the Niger information and with respect to one particular briefing that Tenet gave, he said, "We did not brief the uranium acquisition" (source).
By October 2002 the fake Niger/Iraq uranium documents were in the hands of the CIA, but they were kept hidden for months from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency that eventually announced to the world that they were fake (see).
The role of Condoleezza Rice in the use of the Niger uranium "evidence" was questioned by Henry Waxman (see). Condoleezza Rice was instrumental in forcing George Tenet to take responsibility for the 2003 State of the Union claims about an Iraqi nuclear WMD program (see). Interestingly, Tenet only said that the Niger-Iraq-uranium connection should not have been in the State of the Union speech. He never explained who put it in over CIA objections. George Tenet's resignation as DCIA in June 2004 allowed him to speak openly with leak investigator Fitzgerald, rapidly leading to President Bush being questioned by Fitzgerald. Up until the Tenet resignation, Fitzgerald's investigation had only gone as high as Vice President Cheney.
The cover up (post invasion)Edit
After the Kristof article was published (Early May, 2003; see above), Libby became involved in trying to find out about Wilson's trip to Africa(see). From early June 2003, Libby knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Libby had repeated contacts with others regarding Wilson's wife from June to July of 2003. By mid-June, Libby knew that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and Libby was taking critical of the CIA for the press becoming aware that CIA analysts had discounted claims that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Niger.
On June 19, 2003 New Republic had an article called, "The First Casualty: the Selling of the Iraq War" by Spencer Ackerman and John B. Judis. In discussing the failed search for WMD in Iraq, Ackerman and Judis wrote, "...it is unlikely to find, as the Bush administration had repeatedly predicted, a reconstituted nuclear weapons program or evidence of joint exercises with Al Qaeda--the two most compelling security arguments for war. Whatever is found, what matters as far as American democracy is concerned is whether the administration gave Americans an honest and accurate account of what it knew." Libby then called his "Principal Deputy". Libby's "Principal Deputy" suggested that, "information about Wilson’s trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson" (see). On 23 June 2003, Libby and Miller discussed Wilson and his trip to Africa. "Libby informed Miller Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA." On July 8, "Libby advised Miller of his belief that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA."
Libby latter claimed that he learned from Tim Russert on or about July 10, 2003 that Plame worked for the CIA and that when told, was surprised to hear that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA. (see)
Who was the senior White House official (called "Official A" by Fizgerald) who on July 10 or July 11, 2003, told Libby about his conversation with Novak?
According to Libby's indictment, "on or about July 7, 2003, Libby had lunch with the then White House Press Secretary and advised that individual that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA". In July, 2003, Communications Director Dan Bartlett advised reporters to look into who sent Wilson to Africa.
Cheney's general counsel, David Addington played a role in the White House decision not to explain the basis of Colin Powell's U.N. claims of WMD in Iraq (see). Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress have suggested that the Bush administration would not have received Congressional approval for a war in Iraq had Congress been given the facts about Iraqi WMD.
November 2005 - Senator Harry Reid's statement on Iraq
David Addington has played an important role in keeping the Congress from investigating pre-war intelligence handling by the White House (see)