CIA blamed for intelligence failures

By Fred Hubler


CIA retiree Dennis Lamb’s May 27 column, “History will be the judge,” makes a pretty convincing case that not only were there no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that it was also well known by all the intelligence agencies and, by implication, the Bush administration. He did however, leave a few questions unanswered.

First, if it was so well known that there were no WMD in Iraq, why did the President Clinton-appointed CIA Director, George Tenant, tell President Bush that it was a slam dunk that Iraq had WMD? And why has there not been a single intelligence analyst, active or retired, come forward since the 2003 Iraq invasion to claim he was pressured to draw false conclusions about Iraqi WMD from intelligence information?

Second, why was Joe Wilson fired as a foreign policy adviser to the Kerry presidential campaign as soon as the Senate Intelligence Committee report came out revealing that Valerie Plame had recommended her husband for the trip to Niger after he (Wilson) vehemently denied his wife had anything to do with his being sent there? Not only was he fired, but he got his wife fired from her CIA job.

Also, the Lord Butler report of the investigation into Niger yellowcake concluded that British intelligence was not based on any forged memo. And how was it that Joe Wilson could go around telling anybody who would listen that the famous memo was an obvious forgery because the names and the dates were wrong — then when asked how he knew the contents of a highly classified memo, he said he misspoke?

Mr. Lamb invokes Scott Ritter to bolster his case, but Ritter was really gung ho about finding WMD in Iraq, and suddenly turned on a dime and became very sympathetic to Saddam Hussein and Iraq — even taking nearly half a million dollars from a Muslim group in Detroit largely funded by Saddam to make a film favorable to Iraq. He also claimed that it would be impossible for U.S. forces to take Bagdad in house-to-house combat. ...

Some have claimed that the CIA was disturbed and embarrassed about being blamed for intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq War, but the CIA had plenty to be embarrassed about with regard to Middle East intelligence in general. They apparently were completely surprised by the discovery of the A.Q. Khan network and the development of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan. They also missed the development of nuclear facilities in Osirak, Iraq, and later in Syria, that were bombed by Israel, as well as the nuclear program in Libya that Muammar Gaddafi abandoned after the Iraq invasion.

Fred Hubler of Cedar Rapids is retired from Rockwell Collins after 29 years as an electrical engineer. Comments: 

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