Al-Libi and an al-Lie

By

The New York Times suggests that the Administration knowingly relied on an unreliable source (al—Libi) to strengthen its claim about links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. If so, that fault lies with CIA Director George Tenet, not the White House, and a google check would establish that this is but another Times al—Lie. The Weekly Standard notes:

The Times article cites a claim George W. Bush made in a speech he gave in Cincinnati in October 2002. Bush said: "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."

Why would Bush make such a claim when a DIA report had raised the possibility that al Libi was lying? One possibility: The CIA was saying that al Libi was credible.

On February 11, 2003——a year after the DIA report——CIA Director George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He said: "Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb—making to al Qaeda. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates. One of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful."

In July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee released "Phase I" of its evaluation of prewar intelligence on Iraq. The 511—page document focused on the collection and analysis of intelligence by the U.S. intelligence community. Senate Democrats are pushing now for the completion of "Phase II." They hope to use that report to demonstrate that the Bush administration, in the words of Levin, "went way beyond the intelligence, particularly as it relates to any relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

The Phase I report criticized Tenet for his failure to note that the intelligence on Iraqi training of al Qaeda had come from sources of "varying reliability." It may be a reasonable criticism. But if Levin and his colleagues want to show that statements from senior Bush administration officials went "way beyond the intelligence," this seems like an odd way to do it. The head of the U.S. intelligence community made the same claim Bush did——using almost exactly the same words——some four months after Bush's speech.

Clarice Feldman    11 06 05

The New York Times suggests that the Administration knowingly relied on an unreliable source (al—Libi) to strengthen its claim about links between Iraq and Al Qaeda. If so, that fault lies with CIA Director George Tenet, not the White House, and a google check would establish that this is but another Times al—Lie. The Weekly Standard notes:

The Times article cites a claim George W. Bush made in a speech he gave in Cincinnati in October 2002. Bush said: "we've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases."

Why would Bush make such a claim when a DIA report had raised the possibility that al Libi was lying? One possibility: The CIA was saying that al Libi was credible.

On February 11, 2003——a year after the DIA report——CIA Director George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He said: "Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb—making to al Qaeda. It has also provided training in poisons and gases to two al Qaeda associates. One of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful."

In July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee released "Phase I" of its evaluation of prewar intelligence on Iraq. The 511—page document focused on the collection and analysis of intelligence by the U.S. intelligence community. Senate Democrats are pushing now for the completion of "Phase II." They hope to use that report to demonstrate that the Bush administration, in the words of Levin, "went way beyond the intelligence, particularly as it relates to any relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

The Phase I report criticized Tenet for his failure to note that the intelligence on Iraqi training of al Qaeda had come from sources of "varying reliability." It may be a reasonable criticism. But if Levin and his colleagues want to show that statements from senior Bush administration officials went "way beyond the intelligence," this seems like an odd way to do it. The head of the U.S. intelligence community made the same claim Bush did——using almost exactly the same words——some four months after Bush's speech.

Clarice Feldman    11 06 05