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1 7th June 22:37
john manning
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Posts: 1
Default Rumsfeld's 'Office of Special Plans' doctored the pre-war intelligence- CIA (energy speech science agency case)

CIA probe finds secret Pentagon group
manipulated intelligence on Iraqi threat

By Jason Leopold
Online Journal Assistant Editor

July 25, 2003—A half-dozen former CIA
agents investigating prewar intelligence
have found that a secret Pentagon
committee, set up by Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld in October 2001,
manipulated reams of intelligence
information prepared by the spy agency on
the so-called Iraqi threat and then
delivered it to top White House officials
who used it to win support for a war in Iraq.

The former CIA agents were asked to examine
prewar intelligence last year by Rumsfeld
and CIA Director George Tenet. The former
agents will present a final report on their
findings to the Pentagon, the CIA and
possibly Congress later this year. More
than a dozen calls to the White House, the
CIA, the National Security Council and the
Pentagon for comment were not returned.

The ad hoc committee, called the Office of
Special Plans, headed by Deputy Secretary
of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary
of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and
other Pentagon hawks, described the
worst-case scenarios in terms of Iraq's
alleged stockpile of chemical and
biological weapons and claimed the country
was close to acquiring nuclear weapons,
according to four of the CIA agents,
speaking on the condition of anonymity
because the information is still
classified, who conducted a preliminary
review of the intelligence.

The agents said the Office of Special Plans
is responsible for providing the National
Security Council and Vice President ****
Cheney, National Security Adviser
Condoleeza Rice and Rumsfeld with the bulk
of the intelligence information on Iraq's
weapons program that turned out to be
wrong. But White House officials used the
information it received from the Office of
Special Plans to win support from the
public and Congress to start a war in Iraq
even though the White House knew much of
the information was dubious, the CIA agents

For example, the agents said the Office of
Special Plans told the National Security
Council last year that Iraq's attempt to
purchase aluminum tubes were part of a
clandestine program to build an atomic
bomb. The Office of Special Plans leaked
the information to the New York Times last
September. Shortly after the story appeared
in the paper, Bush and Rice both pointed to
the story as evidence that Iraq posed a
grave threat to the United States and to
its neighbors in the Middle East, even
though experts in the field of nuclear
science, the CIA and the State Department
advised the White House that the aluminum
tubes were not designed for an atomic bomb.

Furthermore, the CIA had been unable to
develop any links between Iraq and the
terrorist group al-Qaeda. But under Feith's
direction, the Office of Special Plans came
up with information of such links by
looking at existing intelligence reports
that they felt might have been overlooked
or undervalued. The Special Plans office
provided the information to the Pentagon
and to the White House. During a Pentagon
briefing last year, Rumsfeld said he had
"bulletproof" evidence that Iraq was
harboring al-Qaeda terrorists.

At a Pentagon news conference last year,
Rumsfeld said of the intelligence gathered
by Special Plans, "Gee, why don't you go
over and brief George Tenet? So they did.
They went over and briefed the CIA. So
there's no there's no mystery about all this."

CIA ****ysts listened to the Pentagon team,
nodded politely, and said, "Thank you very
much," said one government official,
according to a July 20 report in the New
York Times. That official said the briefing
did not change the agency's reporting or
****ysis in any substantial way.

Several current and former intelligence
officials told the Times that they felt
pressure to tailor reports to conform to
the administration's views, "particularly
the theories Feith's group developed."

Moreover, the agents said the Office of

programs, removing caveats such as
"likely," "probably" and "may" as a way of
depicting the country as an imminent
threat. The agents would not identify the
names of the individuals at the Office of
Special Plans who were responsible for
providing the White House with the wrong
intelligence. But, the agents said, the
intelligence gathered by the committee
sometimes went directly to the White House,
Cheney's office and to Rice without first
being vetted by the CIA.

In cases where the CIA's intelligence
wasn't rewritten the Office of Special
Plans provided the White House with
questionable intelligence it gathered from
Iraqi exiles from the Iraqi National
Congress, a group headed by Ahmad Chalabi,
a person who the CIA has publicly said is
unreliable, the CIA agents said.

More than a dozen CIA agents responsible
for writing intelligence reports for the
agency told the former CIA agents
investigating the accuracy of the
intelligence reports they were pressured by
the Pentagon and the Office of Special
Plans to hype and exaggerate intelligence
to show Iraq as being an imminent threat to
the security of the U.S.

The White House has been dogged by
questions for nearly a month on whether the
intelligence information it had relied upon
was accurate and whether top White House
officials knowingly used unreliable
information to build a case for war. The
furor started when George W. Bush said in
his January State of the Union address that
Iraq had tried to purchase uranium ore from
Africa. Bush credited British intelligence
for the claims, but the intelligence was
based on forged do***ents. The Office of
Special Plans is responsible for advising
the White House to allow Bush to use the
uranium claims in his speech, according to
Democratic Senators and a CIA agent who are
privy to classified information surrounding
the issue.

CIA Director George Tenet took
responsibility last week for allowing Bush
to cite the information, despite the fact
that he had warned Rice's office that the
claims were likely wrong. Earlier this
week, Stephen Hadley, an aide to Rice, said
he received two memos from the CIA last
year, before Bush's State of the Union
address, alerting him to the fact that the
uranium information should not be included
in the State of the Union. Hadley, who also
took responsibility for failing to remove
the uranium reference from Bush's speech,
said he forgot to advise Bush about the
CIA's warnings.

Hawks in the White House and the Pentagon
seized upon the uranium claims before and
after Bush's State of the Union address,
telling reporters, lawmakers and leaders of
other nations that the only thing that can
be done to disarm Saddam Hussein is a
preemptive strike against his country.

The only White House official who didn't
cite the uranium claim is Secretary of
State Colin Powell. According to Greg
Thielmann, who resigned last year from the
State Department's Bureau of Intelligence
and Research—whose duties included tracking
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
programs—he personally told Powell that the
allegations were "implausible" and the
intelligence it was based upon was a
"stupid piece of garbage."

Patrick Lang, the former head of worldwide
human intelligence gathering for the
Defense Intelligence Agency, which
coordinates military intelligence, said the
Office of Special Plans "cherry-picked the
intelligence stream" in a bid to portray
Iraq as an imminent threat. Lang said in
interviews with several media outlets that
the CIA had "no guts at all" to resist the
allegedly deliberate skewing of
intelligence by a Pentagon that he said was
now dominating U.S. foreign policy.

Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA
counter-terrorist operations, said he has
spoken to a number of working intelligence
officers who blame the Pentagon for playing
up "fraudulent" intelligence, "a lot of it
sourced from the Iraqi National Congress of
Ahmad Chalabi."

In an October 11, 2002 report in the Los
Angeles Times, several CIA agents "who
brief Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz on Iraq
routinely return to the agency with a long
list of complaints and demands for new
****ysis or shifts in emphasis."

"There is a lot of unhappiness with the
****ysis," usually because it is seen as
not hard-line enough, one intelligence
official said, according to the paper.

Another government official said CIA agents
"are constantly sent back by the senior
people at Defense and other places to get
more, get more, get more to make their
case," the paper reported

Now, as U.S. military casualties have
surpassed that of the first Gulf War,
Democrats in the House and Senate are
starting to question whether other
information about the Iraqi threat cited by
Bush and his staff was reliable or part of
a coordinated effort by the White House to
politicize the intelligence to win support
for a war.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
is investigating the issue but so far
neither the Senate intelligence committee
nor any Congressional committee has
launched an investigation into the Office
of Special Plans. But that may soon change.

Based on several news reports into the
activities of the Office of Special Plans,
a number of lawmakers have called for an
investigation into the group. Congresswoman
Ellen Tauscher, D-California, who sits on
the House Armed Services Committee, wrote a
letter July 9 to Congressman Duncan Hunter,
R-California, chairman of the Armed
Services committee, calling for an
investigation into the Office of Special Plans.

The Office of Special Plans should be
examined to determine whether it
"complemented, competed with, or detracted
from the role of other United States
intelligence agencies respecting the
collection and use of intelligence relating
to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and
war planning. I also think it is important
to understand how having two intelligence
agencies within the Pentagon impacted the
Department of Defense's ability to focus
the necessary resources and manpower on
pre-war planning and post-war operations,"
Tauscher's letter said.

Congressman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, also
called for a widespread investigation of
the Office of Special Plans to find out
whether there is any truth to the claims
that it willfully manipulated intelligence
on the Iraqi threat. During a July 8
congressional briefing, Obey described what
he knew about Special Plans and why an
investigation into the group is crucial.

"A group of civilian employees in the
Office of the Secretary of Defense, all of
whom are

political employees have long been
dissatisfied with the information produced
by the established intelligence agencies
both inside and outside the department.
That was particularly true, apparently,
with respect to the situation in Iraq,"
Obey said. "As a result, it is reported
that they established a special operation
within the Office of the Secretary of
Defense, which was named the Office of
Special Plans. That office was charged with
collecting, vetting, and disseminating
intelligence completely outside the normal
intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears
that the information collected by this
office was in some instances not even
shared with the established intelligence
agencies and in numerous instances was
passed on to the National Security Council
and the president [sic] without having been
vetted with anyone other than [the
Secretary of Defense]."

"It is further alleged that the purpose of
this operation was not only to produce
intelligence more in keeping with the
pre-held views of those individuals, but to
intimidate ****ysts in the established
intelligence organizations to produce
information that was more supportive of
policy decisions which they had already
decided to propose."

Jason Leopold spent two years covering
California's electricity crisis as bureau
chief of Dow Jones Newswires. He has
written more than 2,000 news stories on the
issue and was the first journalist to
report that energy companies were engaged
in manipulative practices in California's
newly deregulated electricity market. Mr.
Leopold is also a regular contributor to
CNBC and National Public Radio and has been
the keynote speaker at more than two-dozen
energy industry conferences around the country.
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