Thursday, July 24
by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Commondreams.org, July 14, 2003
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Intelligence Unglued
The glue that holds the Intelligence Community together is melting under the hot lights of an awakened press. If you do not act quickly, your intelligence capability will fall apart—with grave consequences for the nation.
The Forgery Flap
By now you are all too familiar with the play-by-play. The Iraq-seeking-uranium-in-Niger forgery is a microcosm of a mischievous nexus of overarching problems. Instead of addressing these problems, your senior staff are alternately covering up for one another and gently stabbing one another in the back. CIA Director George Tenet’s extracted, unapologetic apology on July 11 was classic—I confess; she did it.
It is now dawning on our until-now somnolent press that your national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, shepherds the foreign affairs sections of your state-of-the-union address and that she, not Tenet, is responsible for the forged information getting into the speech. But the disingenuousness persists. Surely Dr. Rice cannot persist in her insistence that she learned only on June 8, 2003 about former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s mission to Niger in February 2002, when he determined that the Iraq-Niger report was a con-job. Wilson’s findings were duly reported to all concerned in early March 2002. And, if she somehow missed that report, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristoff on May 6 recounted chapter and verse on Wilson’s mission, and the story remained the talk of the town in the weeks that followed.
Rice’s denials are reminiscent of her claim in spring 2002 that there was no reporting suggesting that terrorists were planning to hijack planes and slam them into buildings. In September, the joint congressional committee on 9/11 came up with a dozen such reports.
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s credibility, too, has taken serious hits as continued non-discoveries of weapons in Iraq heap doubt on his confident assertions to the UN. Although ... [...]