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Thread: I Tried to Make the Intelligence Behind the Iraq War Less Bogus

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    I Tried to Make the Intelligence Behind the Iraq War Less Bogus

    I Tried to Make the Intelligence Behind the Iraq War Less Bogus | Danger Room | Wired.com

    a fascinating article that covers one facet of the intelligence piece.

    so, was this a case of intelligence failure, or was this a case of political interference in the analysis process? the latter seems to be more clear in the US (i recall well the DIA-CIA intra-agency war in 2002), but what of the other western countries?
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Analysis Process?

    Okay, despite technically everything being said with the above line: What exactly is it you're inquiring about? Whether intelligence in other western countries was hampered by domestic or e.g. US political interference? Some countries, sure. Everyone knew back in '02/'03 that MI6 didn't support what Number 10 was bleating into the world. Whether there was a failure in joint intelligence, e.g. the whole Curveball thing between the CIA and the BND? Was proven to be entirely a fault on the US side at the time, with smug comments on how the CIA clearly was grasping for straws for the sake of politics. Or is about whether there was misdirected intelligence (let's call it that) in other countries?

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    there was the statement that iraq represented the biggest intelligence failure for western intelligence since they failed to predict the fall of the USSR.

    it's pretty clear from the US record that there was a mix of intelligence failure, seriously compounded by political interference/bias. this bias came from the singular desire of the bush administration for regime change. how about the intelligence coming from other western countries? germany and france?

    i recall after the Iraq Survey Group special advisor resigned he mentioned how there was a bad intelligence failure on part of the US, but tried to give himself an out in that the French and Germans all thought Saddam had big stocks of bio/chem weapons. obviously there's less bias on part of their respective governments, so the question remains how Saddam, of all people, could fool so many intel agencies.

    or for that matter, his own generals.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Iraqi Generals do not become Iraqi Generals by asking Saddam too many questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    tried to give himself an out in that the French and Germans all thought Saddam had big stocks of bio/chem weapons.
    The problem with that is that German intel agency BND told the CIA in 2002 that the stuff their informant (Curveball) was blabbing was pure nonsense ("an unreliable source" in agency speak). The CIA took the stuff at face value due to the political exploitability. The ISG proved Curveball's information wrong in review in 2004. Between 2003 and 2005 there was a huge row between the CIA and the BND over this, because the CIA accused the BND of passing them wrong information in exactly this regard, a point refuted by the BND in public (!) citing communications with the CIA. Curveball later, in 2011, even publicly admitted that he had fabricated everything he said, a moment former BND director Hanning took to publicly announce that he had direct contact with CIA director Tenet in 2002 discussing the unreliability of Curveball as a source. The resident chief in Washington (and chief of the BND "procurement" section) back in 2002/2003 went to the extent of having the CIA assure them that Curveball's information would not be used in Powell's speech, an agreement the CIA violated obviously.

    It should be noted in this regard that Hanning also publicized in 2011 that the CIA had requested a full Iraq dossier from the BND at the end of September 2001 *cough*, immediately homing in on Curveball.

    In case you're wondering, Curveball was working with a BND undercover company from 2001 until 2008. His cover was blown in late 2007, and the BND wanted him to vanish, which he refused, with his contract with the agency instead cancelled and him getting German citizenship. He's living about 30 miles from my house.

    Anyway, this probably also fits the topic:
    MI6 and CIA heard Iraq had no active WMD capability ahead of invasion | World news | guardian.co.uk
    Last edited by kato; 18 Mar 13, at 23:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    I Tried to Make the Intelligence Behind the Iraq War Less Bogus | Danger Room | Wired.com

    a fascinating article that covers one facet of the intelligence piece.

    so, was this a case of intelligence failure, or was this a case of political interference in the analysis process? the latter seems to be more clear in the US (i recall well the DIA-CIA intra-agency war in 2002), but what of the other western countries?
    Sadly we had a PM at the time who had publically expressed a desire to be America's 'Deputy Sheriff'. At some points it seemed like we were getting our foreign policy off a fax machine from the US. I'm not sure if we had any significant independent intel on Iraq, but anything that ran counter to the US narrative was buried. Shortly before the war began Andrew Wilkie, a senior analyst at the Office of National Assessments - a government body designed to provide analysis for the PM - resigned. Wilkie claims he was the only such person in western intelligence organisations at the time to publically resign before the war (no way to veryify that). He is now an independent MP in the Federal Parliament & is one of a group of four who hold the balance of power in that Parliament. The ONA would have had access to a lot of the intel being supplied to Australia by the US. You might find this contemporary interview interesting.

    AM Archive - Wednesday, 12 March , 2003 08:00:15

    Reporter: Catherine McGrath

    LINDA MOTTRAM: Unable, he says, to sit and watch in silence as Australia drifts towards war with Iraq, Andrew Wilkie, a senior Australian intelligence officer is this morning jobless at his own hand, after his resignation in protest against the Howard Government's position.

    He says he hopes his public comments will help open debate on the proposed war, which, on the basis of his work at the Office of National Assessments, he says could end in a military or humanitarian disaster, pushing Saddam Hussein, he says, towards the terrorist groups which the world now so fears.

    Mr Wilkie also asserts that war is not about the fight against those groups, but rather about US politics.

    Andrew Wilkie's credentials put him firmly in the camp of the establishment. He was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Australian Army, a Duntroon graduate who spent nearly 20 years in the infantry, before moving to the Office of National Assessments as a civilian, and that underscores the broad community base from which war opposition continues to come.

    So does he expect to be vilified for his stance, a question our Chief Political Correspondent, Catherine McGrath, put to Mr Wilkie in Canberra last night.

    ANDREW WILKIE: ONA's statement to the media yesterday, I think has tried to play down my access to information on the Iraq issue, as I would have expected them to do, and I would expect that sort of management of the issue to continue from within Government.

    CATHERINE MCGRATH: You believe this war is bad policy, why?

    ANDREW WILKIE: In essence, Catherine, I think that invading Iraq at this time would be wrong. For a start, Iraq does not pose a security threat to any other country at this point in time. Its military is very weak, it's a fraction of the size of the military at the time of the invasion of Kuwait. Its weapons of mass destruction program is very disjointed and contained by the regime that's been in place since the last Gulf War. And there is no hard intelligence linking the Iraqi regime to al-Qaeda in any substantial or worrisome way.

    CATHERINE MCGRATH: Now this gets to the key of the problem for the Government with you going public yesterday, because Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, has emphasised this week, but has emphasised for months and months, the link between terrorism and Iraq, his belief that weapons of mass destruction will pass from Iraq to terrorist groups if Saddam Hussein is not stopped. Now you're saying that is completely untrue?

    ANDREW WILKIE: What I'm saying, Catherine, is that the Iraq problem is unrelated to the war on terror, it's more related to US-Iraq bilateral relations, US domestic politics, the issue of US credibility and so on. It's unrelated to the war on terror and yes, Iraq as rogue state should worry us as a potential source of weapons to terrorists, but there are other ways to manage that risk.

    CATHERINE MCGRATH: So do you believe containment of Saddam Hussein is possible, rather than military action?

    ANDREW WILKIE: Yes. I think there should be more time allowed for a, a better, more developed strategy of containment to see how it goes. I mean, it may well be that we have to go to war against Iraq eventually, but we should be exploring better inspections and so on, before we go to that last resort.

    CATHERINE MCGRATH: In terms of weapons of mass destruction, do you believe that if war goes ahead, it's more likely those weapons will end up in the hands of terrorist groups?

    ANDREW WILKIE: What worries me is that a war, an invasion, is the option that's most likely to prompt Saddam to do exactly what we're trying to prevent. A war is what is most likely to force him to act recklessly, to possibly use weapons of mass destruction himself and to possibly play a terrorism card.

    CATHERINE MCGRATH: If war goes ahead, if next week Australia is at war as part of this military coalition led by the United States, how do you think at the moment things are going to play out?

    ANDREW WILKIE: A war at this time is just not worth the risk. I think there is too great a risk of a military or humanitarian disaster and I think there's a real risk that a war now will further inflame popular anti-western opinion in the Middle East and push Saddam closer towards al-Qaeda, and push us all just that little bit closer to the so-called, clash of civilisations, that we've so far managed to stay well clear of.
    AM Archive - Senior intelligence officer, Andrew Wilkie, resigns in protest


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