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Iraqi Intelligence Redux II
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A few days ago, everyone was talking about how the Bush Adminstration was apparently pushing bad information about Iraqi intelligence, and the Iraqi effort to acquire nuclear materials from Niger. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth, etc., etc.

Jon's post, for instance, referred to stories here and here. Both stories arose from some apparently damning evidence in the brief that the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, filed in Federal Court.
A review of the records and interviews conducted during and after the crucial period in June and July of 2003 also show that what the aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., said he was authorized to portray as a "key judgment" by intelligence officers had in fact been given much less prominence in the most important assessment of Iraq's weapons capability...

Mr. Fitzgerald, in his filing, said that Mr. Libby had been authorized to tell Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, on July 8, 2003, that a key finding of the 2002 intelligence estimate on Iraq was that Baghdad had been vigorously seeking to acquire uranium from Africa.
Wow! That is a bombshell! Or, rather, it would be, if it were true. Mr. Fitzgerald has had to...ahem...amend that portion of his brief's account.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, Fitzgerald wrote yesterday that he wanted to "correct" the sentence that dealt with the issue in a filing he submitted last Wednesday. That sentence said Libby "was to tell Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium."

Instead, the sentence should have conveyed that Libby was to tell Miller some of the key judgments of the NIE "and that the NIE stated that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium."
Ah. I see. Well, that's a bit different, then. Takes a bit of wind out of the "intentional misrepresentation" argument, I think.

It would've been nice if Mr. Fitzgerald had gotten that right in the first place.
 
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Takes a bit of wind out of the "intentional misrepresentation" argument, I think.
Yes, apparently they were not trying to claim that it was a "Key Judgement". Which is evidence that the item was not, in fact, a key judgement. (ahem, MichaelW) The fact still remains that they were being, shall we say, highly selective in disclosing the state of our intelligence. This revision doesn’t change that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
The fact still remains that they were being, shall we say, highly selective in disclosing the state of our intelligence. This revision doesn’t change that.
Indeed.
The “intentional misrepresentation argument” remains Sailing Large.
From the Niger uranium to the aluminum tubes to the mobile weapons lab… The evidence of the administration’s attempts to SELL the war is overwhelming.

What astounds me about those still defending the administration is that they seem to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of the argument. Whether or not the president can declassify information is irrelevant to their intention on deceiving the public. If the administration had evidence contradicting what Joe Wilson was saying, why not just come out and say it? Why resort to clandestine attempts to manipulate the media?

Those who still defend this administration increasingly appear to be unhinged.
Or should I say, Three Sheets to the Wind.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Isn’t action based on intelligence always selective?

When you’re right in your choices, you’re successful in "selling the war." When you’re wrong, you have an intelligence failure.

The French in 1940 had the choice of believing the intel that said the Germans were going to go around the Maginot Line through the Low Countries (which had been the basis of German war plans through ~January 1940), or that they were going to go through the Ardennes.

The Americans (and Brits) in 1944 had the choice of believing the intel that said the Germans were unable to launch an attack in December for a variety of force and weather reasons, or that they were not only going to attack in bad weather that would run through the Ardennes.

The Israelis in 1973 had the choice of believing the intel that said that the Egyptians were coming, or the choice of believing the intel that said that the Egyptians were simply repeating the same pattern of actions that they had already pursued for much of the "war of attrition."

All these intel failures occurred b/c the decision-makers were selective—-which they must be by definition, b/c the intel is never "obvious," "clear," or "self-evident" until after the fact. Were there folks who advocated the "right" position in each of the aforementioned failures? Yup. Doesn’t mean that it was obvious they were right at the time, nor that they were infallible on other decisions.


BTW, Pogue, isn’t that the point of the "Bush leaked the NIE" stuff? That the Administration did have information that contradicted what Wilson was saying, but the only one to express it was to declassify the NIE?
 
Written By: lurking observer
URL: http://
Come on Man, Joe Wilson continually contradicts himself.

Which Joe Wilson story do you want us to address this week? Because, he will change it again.

And what I find funny is that the Joe Wilson appologists have no problem with the overwhelming contradictions between his 911 commission testimony and what he said else where in his op-ed and his work on John Kerry’s campaign trail.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Yes, apparently they were not trying to claim that it was a "Key Judgement". Which is evidence that the item was not, in fact, a key judgement. (ahem, MichaelW)
Heh. Duly noted, Dr. Henke.

What the hell took you so long!
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Lurking, your samples don’t relate. All of those intelligence failures were regarding military tactics and strategy. The French, Americans, Brits, and Israelis in each of your samples did not selectively deny or hide intelligence to convince the public that war was necessary.
Mistakes are made in war, mistakes are made regarding the decision to go to war. But selectively hiding intel from the public to make your case is another ball of wax.
No?
BTW, Pogue, isn’t that the point of the "Bush leaked the NIE" stuff? That the Administration did have information that contradicted what Wilson was saying, but the only one to express it was to declassify the NIE?
Not my point.
I have never seen this question answered. Why manipulate the media so in that revealing Wilson’s wife to discredit the argument? Why not come out and say, “LOOKIE HERE, look at this stuff from the NIE.”?
BTW, I am not solidified just yet regarding “Plamegate”. I truly would like to know why the administration chose to address Wilson’s claims in that manner.
Until that is satisfied; deceit and manipulation will rule the day. And nuts and bolts aside, an honest and transparent government is all that matters to me. To some, it would seem, defending an increasingly weak argument is all that matters to them.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
"...an honest and transparent government..."
Using oxymorons is not helpful.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
While the "nuts and bolts" aspect might apply to the Ardennes ’44 case, it was strategic as well as tactical decisions that were at play in 1940 and 1973.

It was a strategic decision to deploy your best armored and mobile forces into the Low Countries. It was a strategic decision to not start mobilization and deploy forces to the Bar Lev Line.

To suggest that somehow strategic decisions are not subject, but tactical ones are, to selectivity is mistaken. At the end of the day, neither tactical nor strategic intelligence is clear-cut. You have to choose which pieces to believe and which ones not to.

And, yes, many of those decisions are made without publicly referring to all the information. When Chamberlain chose to believe that Hitler was someone he could deal w/ at Munich, he did not publicly refer to the fact that German forces were in violation of various 1930s arms control measures. Selective, manipulative, and deceptive? Or part of pushing a foreign policy?

How about when LBJ and Nixon both pushed for SALT I? It wasn’t ’til after ratification that folks noticed that the Soviets were accorded a numerical superiority in nuclear warheads. You can argue it doesn’t make a difference, but lo and behold, the Presidents in question didn’t advertise it! Why, you’d almost think that they were being selective, manipulative, and deceptive, all in the service of arms control!

 
Written By: lurking observer
URL: http://
I think if Bush had openly released the information, the media elements suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome would have disputed what he said. They would have considered our enemies more reliable.

Whaddya know? They still do that today.

The only way to get the BDS league to accept the truth uncritically is to portray it as somehow hurting Bush, or without President Bush’s knowledge.

The BDS league set up this screwy situation, and they blame Bush for using it to his advantage. Truly ironic.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
To suggest that somehow strategic decisions are not subject, but tactical ones are, to selectivity is mistaken.
You must have misread, Lurking.
Lurking, your samples don’t relate. All of those intelligence failures were regarding military tactics and strategy.
Anyhow. What are you talkin’ about?
Deciding where you deploy your forces and hiding evidence from the public regarding going to war…
APPLES AND ORANGES. And you know it.
You have to choose which pieces to believe and which ones not to.
Me? Oh, you mean the President, huh?
And he also gets to pick and choose what information to tell the public. Which IS WHAT WE ARE DISCUSSING. Why are you going on about Neville Chamberlain?
When Chamberlain chose to believe that Hitler was someone he could deal w/ at Munich, he did not publicly refer to the fact that German forces were in violation of various 1930s arms control measures. Selective, manipulative, and deceptive? Or part of pushing a foreign policy?
And look how that turned out for everyone. Mr. Observer, no history lesson needed. We know what happens when our leaders choose to disclose certain aspects of intelligence and hide others, don’t we. Or at least most of us do.
Chamberlain chose not to disclose the military strength of Germany to the House of Commons, Bush chose not to disclose the LACK of military strength of Iraq. Same outcome, although a difference in degree, disaster.
You can go on and on about intel failures of the past until you’re blue in the face. It doesn’t change the fact that Bush chose not to disclose information that may have changed our foreign policy. You can also argue that invading Iraq will, eventually, have a positive outcome, and I hope that to be true, but it still doesn’t change anything. Yet there are those who fish the pond of history for red herrings in order to persuade others that, “sometimes it’s a good thing that the public doesn’t know.” Maginot Line, SALT, Munich, 1938??? Huh!? What!?
Oh, that’s right, 9/11 changed everything, huh? Now it’s okay to deceive the public.

Okay, so now what. Well now, Bush has no credibility. And with the recent developments in Iran,… well…, that’s just great. Can you imagine Bush now, “Iran has WMD.” Okay Mr. President, ha ha, whatever you say, dude. What’s that you like,
"There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again."

Nice. And what are we Left with,
LOS ANGELES TIMES/BLUMBERG POLL
“Generally speaking, do you trust George W. Bush to make the right decision about whether we should go to war with Iran, or not?”
TRUST BUSH – 42%
DON’T TRUST BUSH – 54%
But go right ahead, keep denying it. But I warn you, you just might have to get used to hearing the words, “Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.”
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
And in another 6 months as more information comes out, the numbers will be reversed.

2 years after Bush leaves office, he’ll have 60%+ approval rating.
You act like these numbers are carved in stone or something, when in reality they are the result of a coordinated disinformation campaign. Sheesh.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
And in another 6 months as more information comes out, the numbers will be reversed.
And you know this, how? And why would the administration wait six months? And why wasn’t the information made available before? Why suffer through months of humiliation among the American public and the rest of the world? Why would one risk credibility along with the safety of the people of the United States? Why risk the opposition gaining ground in the polls? Why risk losing the majority in Congress?...
????????????????????????????????????????????????????
You act like these numbers are carved in stone or something, when in reality they are the result of a coordinated disinformation campaign.
Hmm.
Coordinated disinformation campaign…, now why does that sound familiar?

Sheesh.

If the administration is as innocent as you suggest, then they are just as grossly incompetent with public relations as they were/are with the Iraq war.

Nathan, you’re tired, go to bed.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Pogue,
So how do you know these numbers will be the same forevermore?

Coordinated disinformation campaign: start with Howard Dean’s statements, mix in a little Sen. Kerry and Rep. Murtha. Add a dash of Democrat/liberal punditry. Stir in some defense of obvious-liar Joseph Wilson. Then have talking heads mis-characterize official classification as a leak, criticize it when it benefits President Bush but defend it when it helps sell newspapers... Voila! You have a coordinated disinformation campaign.

Why wait 6 months? Who said anything about waiting? Iraq will be more clearly a success in 6 months, and more of Saddam’s documents will be translated, which I predict will provide more and more definitive support of the case for war in Iraq.

If so, knowing human nature, will flip those approval numbers right around. Opinion polls are a snapshot, even when they aren’t worded badly and are actually as accurate as the math says they should be (which they aren’t when they are weighted badly, and when people self-elect to not answer, and when they even reach the right people...all aspects which have already been shown to be problematic).

I’m a student of both human nature and history, Pogue.

Me, tired? There’s probably a significant time difference between your location and mine. It’s early afternoon.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
So, what was the intel that was used to "sell" us on Clinton’s Operation Desert Fox, which apparently was striking WMD locations in Iraq that somehow magically disappeared when Bush was elected?

I give both Bush and Clinton the benefit of the doubt on these things, but if it’s time to go get Bush on this stuff, don’t forget Clinton, too.

Hell, I was also "sold" that Kosovo would be liberated to find hundred of thousands of dead Albanians in mass graves...ooops.

Let’s not even go into the aspirin factory.

BTW, I still fondly recall the two or three days after the Bush administration correctly explained that Iraq is not a criminal defendant that is innocent until till proven guilty, but actually the onus was upon them. There was no need for a "smoking gun" etc. Sure, enough the media toyed with that for less than a week before it once again became a criminal case, beyond a shadow of a doubt, evidence must be shown, "smoking gun" situation.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
So how do you know these numbers will be the same forevermore?
Umm. I’m not the one predicting what the numbers will be six months from now, Nathan.
I’m a student of both human nature and history, Pogue.
And part time soothsayer, by the looks of it.
Nuff’ said.
I give both Bush and Clinton the benefit of the doubt on these things, but if it’s time to go get Bush on this stuff, don’t forget Clinton, too.
That’s a nice little distraction you got going there, Harun.
Perhaps we should vote the motherscratcher out of office!!! Oh wait, I know. Let’s impeach the scoundrel.
Hold the phone…, wait.., it’s been six years and two wars since Bill Clinton was in office. But let’s not cut him down from the tree just yet, huh? “Look over here…, pay no attention to Bush and his troubles, don’t concern yourself… Remember Clinton, remember how you hated him so?”
Let’s not even go into the aspirin factory.
Yeah, yeah. On and on. You and Lurking must be enjoying yourselves on your little fishing trip through history.

That is not the discussion.
BTW, I still fondly recall the two or three days after the Bush administration correctly explained that Iraq is not a criminal defendant that is innocent until till proven guilty, but actually the onus was upon them.
No, not that either.
Whether or not Iraq had, used, concealed, transported, distributed WMD on one time in history is irrelevant to whether the administration made available some aspects of the intel to the public and concealed other aspects in order to manipulate the people into thinking Iraq was an immediate threat and therefore justified immediate action.

(BTW. No one has yet even attempted to answer the question as to why the administration chose to expose some of the NIE through clandestine meetings with the media rather than have an open conference. Bush apologist avoid it like the plague.)
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://

 
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