Friday, February 09, 2007

Quibbles and Bits

Not that the conclusions of this report should be terribly surprising to anyone who's been following the story with any amount of attention, but be sure to file this one in the historical dossier. Consider it ammunition in the coming battle with history's insurgents - who will not be deterred from their tireless work to whitewash this ignominious chapter by a little "official" report:

A "very damning" report by the Defense Department's inspector general depicts a Pentagon that purposely manipulated intelligence in an effort to link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida in the runup to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, says the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"That was the argument that was used to make the sale to the American people about the need to go to war," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. He said the Pentagon's work, "which was wrong, which was distorted, which was inappropriate ... is something which is highly disturbing."

The investigation by acting inspector general Thomas F. Gimble found that prewar intelligence work at the Pentagon, including a contention that the CIA had underplayed the likelihood of an al-Qaida connection, was inappropriate but not illegal.

The perpetrators of this fraud comprise a list of the usual suspects - some of which have a new bridge to sell you in the Tehran bazaar:

At the center of the prewar intelligence controversy was the work of a small number of Pentagon officials from [Douglas] Feith's office and the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz who reviewed CIA intelligence analyses and put together their own report. When they briefed Rumsfeld on their report in August 2002 — a period when Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials were ratcheting up their warnings about the gravity of the Iraq threat — Rumsfeld directed them to also brief CIA Director George Tenet.

Their presentation, which included assertions about links between al-Qaida and the Iraqi government, contained a criticism that the intelligence community was ignoring or underplaying its own raw reports on such potential links.

Right. The treasonous, Clintonista, hippie, peacenick CIA rooting for the enemy again. Lucky for the free world, we had Douglas Feith and the gang to manipulate and fabricate intelligence in order to gin up war fever with Iraq. That's sure turned out well. Surprisingly, the liberal, traitorous CIA myth is still clung to in many historical insurgent camps.

Doug Feith is none too happy about the substance of the report:

Feith called "bizarre" the inspector general's conclusion that some intelligence activities by the Office of Special Plans, which was created while Feith served as the undersecretary of defense for policy — the top policy position under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld — were inappropriate but not unauthorized.

"Clearly, the inspector general's office was willing to challenge the policy office and even stretch some points to be able to criticize it," Feith said, adding that he felt this amounted to subjective "quibbling" by the IG.

Yeah, because only if you "stretched" some points in a "bizarre" fashion could one -most likely preoccupied with subjective "quibbling" - possibly arrive at any criticism of Douglas Feith and his intel chop-shop.

Which is clearly what Tommy Franks was doing when he called Feith: "The F***ing stupidest guy on the face of the earth." That's a stretch. I can think of at least a half a dozen worthier candidates. But who am I to quibble.

[UPDATE: Kevin Drum has more on the Feith follies.]

[UPDATE II: Spencer Ackerman digs deeper into some of the legal niceties at play. See his update as well at the bottom of that post.]

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