In an effort to avoid another ‘intelligence failure’, the CIA recently leaked an assessment of the Iraqi insurgency to the Philadelphia Inquirer. They also leaked the motive behind the leak. Apparently, they had taken note that POTUS, the president of the United States, does not watch TV or read newspapers. The worldview of POTUS is determined by what he gets second hand from his neocon advisers. In an effort to avoid a watering down of CIA findings by these Likudnik operatives, the agency was in effect leaking their assessment to Bush.
This has to be one of the more bizarre developments surrounding the myth of ‘intelligence failures’. It is a clear sign that the intelligence community wants to reach the president over the heads of his closest advisers. The agency wanted to avoid the usual ‘filtering’ process by the Office of Special Plans; a rogue intelligence operation set up by Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. One way or the other, the mainstream intelligence community wanted to be certain that Bush was fully exposed to the reports of the CIA station in Baghdad.
Next thing you know, Bremer was hastily summoned to the White House for a series of meetings with Bush. America’s paramount leader in Baghdad had already endorsed the CIA assessment. Bremer’s endorsement was also leaked to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The essence of the leaked intelligence report was that the situation in Iraq was hardly as rosy as the pronouncements from the White House. The insurgency was growing and the Iraqi resistance was becoming more popular among the average Iraqi citizen. The Iraqi Governing Council had very little public support and some of its members were not even bothering to show up for scheduled meetings. In all, the picture painted was nothing like Rummy’s finite dead enders who would be taken care of in mop up operations.
As if to endorse the Agency’s findings, even as Bremer was meeting POTUS, the Iraqis launched a devestating attack against the Italian troops in Nasseryah, deep in the supposedly secure southern zone occupied by the British.
After a few days of consultation, Bremer was back in Baghdad implementing a new policy of handing over sovereignty to Iraqis at an accelerated pace. The previously scorned ideas of European allies like France and Germany were now official American policy.
The CIA leak was more proof that there is another insurgency going on right in the heart of the Beltway by the mainstream intelligence community against the Likudnik cabal that has hijacked American foreign policy. We are now witnessing the post-Plame era of the Iraqi ‘intelligence failure’ saga.
The dirty little secret in Washington is that there was never any intelligence failures. Solid findings by the CIA and DIA had been cherry picked by the over-zealous Israel Firsters of the war party. Their attempt to unload the disastrous results of their meddling in intelligence gathering on the CIA is now meeting stiff resistance from the Agency’s rank and file. The leak was an attempt by the CIA to go on record as having fully advised the administration of their assessments.
One of the most interesting things about this leak is that it was not made to the usual recipients. The Philadelphia Inquirer was first to report on the CIA findings. This was not a random choice. It indicates that the agency was snubbing the Washington Post and the New York Times. Both papers had been actively involved in the cherry picking operations of the Office of Special Plans (OSP). Judith Miller of the Times and Charles Krauthammer of the Post were for all practical matters OSP operatives who participated in the dumbing down of pre-war intelligence assessments. Moreover, the outing of Plame by Novak was done on the pages of the Washington Post. Last but not least, both papers have used their media muscle to avoid any probe of the Plame affair, the mother of all Watergates.
At this point, it is worth taking another look at the anatomy of the so-called pre-war ‘intelligence failures’ engineered by the Office of Special Plans, under the auspices of Cheney, Libby, Wolfowitz and Feith.
The following is from an earlier article titled “This Ain’t your Mama’s Watergate”.
Perhaps, the most damning result of any investigation into the deliberate OSP ‘intelligence failures’ will be the discovery of excessive reliance on sources like Ahmed Chalabi’s National Congress (INC). The mainstream intelligence community dismissed the INC for very sensible reasons. Chalabi, a creature of the American Enterprise Institute, had old associations with neo-cons like Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. His ‘intelligence’ was an echo of their ‘intelligence’ which was an echo of Israeli ‘intelligence’. Judith Miller, Sulzberger’s in-house WMD ‘expert’ at The New York Times, also found it convenient to use Chalabi as a ‘reliable’ source.
It was all a ‘circular’ intelligence scam. First you concoct intelligence using operatives like Chalabi and the INC. Next you discover the intoxicating concoction on the menu at Chalabi’s place. Using his recipe you dismiss the findings of the CIA and DIA as too timid and unworthy of master chefs. You than selectively practice the art of the leak by contacting fellow travelers like Murdoch’s minions at FOX to come over for a taste of Chalabi’s soup de jour. For good measure, Charles Krauthammer and Judith Miller also get invited for the main course. Last, for a final coup de grace, Judith Miller’s WMD stories are put on the OSP lunchroom menu as a new item made of fresh leaks.
For a full account of the OSP scam, you should read ‘The Spies who Pushed for War’ – By Julian Borger, the Guardian, July 17, 2003.
It is unclear whether Bush welcomed the CIA initiative to circumvent the neocon rose colored filter. What is certain is that the intelligence community will probably continue to leak their assessments to the President. POTUS will than have to adjust his policy to match realistic assessments of the situation in Iraq. The OSP officially went out of business a few weeks ago and the cherry picking season is almost over.