Sunday, April 22, 2007

Defense department disagreement

A recently released Department of Defense report details how the Pentagon linked Saddam Hussein and al Q'aeda. Four months after the 9/11 attacks, the DoD's number three official, the undersecretary of defense, was Douglas J. Feith. He led a year-long Pentagon project intended to convince the most senior levels of the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein and al Q'aeda were linked. His group of Pentagon officials and intelligence analysts from other departments deflected reports contradictory to the findings Feith wanted to end up with. They instead focused on whatever intelligence they could find, no matter how weak, which supported the link. The team persuaded top administration officials that they had powerful evidence of connections between Hussein's regime and al Q'aeda.

Yet, contrary to Feith, a different DoD official, the Pentagon's inspector general, Thomas F. Gimble, tells a different story. He reported that Feith's intelligence report on Iraq was faulted, with "dubious" intelligence which fueled the push for war. The report said that Feith's team "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Q'aeda," ignoring the conclusions of the intelligence community. The inspector general reported that Feith fabricated a link between al Q'aeda and Iraq "that was much stronger than that assessed by the [Intelligence Community] and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the Administration." This is clear evidence that the Bush administration intentionally shaped intelligence to justify invading Iraq.

No comments: