Pentagon/OSP manipulated intelligence to link Hussein to al-Qaeda

I expect some mod to lock this zombie thread from '03 in short order, as is the usual procedure, so we’ll need a fresh thread to continue the discussion.

Story reported in:

The Washington Post

The New York Times

AP/Editor & Publisher

It might be worth mentioning that, the OSP having done its job so well WRT Iraq, they’ve set up another one (with the same director and some other personnel) for Iran.

Anyone care to speak in the OSP’s defense?

What will be the fallout? It seems to be the consensus that the OSP acted “inappropriately” but not illegally.

Links to PDF files of the DoD inspector Generals unclassified report, and today’s open testimony at the senate armed services committee are here. Of course there’s also a classified report, and closed testimoney on this. It’d probably be worth a medal of freedom for someone to post links to those bad boys here.

Or a term at Leavenworth . . .

Can someone explain to me what’s new about this that we didn’t learn from the 9/11 Commission Report published in 2004?

IIRC, the 9/11 Commission simply concluded there was no credible evidence of a Hussein-al-Qaeda link, without clearly assigning blame for the deception. This new testimony shows us exactly whodunnit.

If not the 9/11 Report explicitly, it was still reported at about the same time. From this 2004 Slate article:

OTOH, everyone on the SDMB who was not a True Believer recognized the perfidy that originated from that office even before the 9/11 Commission Report (with several posters noting its prominent and deceitful purpose and actions long prior to the 9/11 Commission report).

I think the “news” in this regard has been that the GOP had refused to engage in any active examination of the activities of the OSP and when the Democrats came to (Congressional) power, they decided it was to their political advantage to re-open some of the testimony and make public just how deliberately deceitful the OSP had been, This will, (if we are lucky), mean that the same 14 -17 people, assigned to rationalize a war on Iran, will have a much tougher time finding a willing audience for their distortions.

You have a point?
Slate is one thing, but has the DoDIG ever said anything like this before?

The Republicans didn’t just ‘refuse to engage’, they actively worked against any sort of engagement, and foisted blame for the problems that they couldn’t cover up over onto the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
Sure John, it’s old news, but it’s coming out through official channels for the first time.

Well, I’d call the 9/11 Commission Report an “official channel”. It’s no secret who headed up the Pentagon’s efforts to link Saddam and al Qaeda. So, OK, we have another “official channel” reporting it. What do you think will happen now that we have this “new” information?

Do you have a cite for “manipulated”? In the links you provided that is clearly Levin’s assessment. That doesn’t make it factual. From your link to the NYTime’s article: (emphasis mine)

Some folks’ll call it old news and try to push it under the rug. Maybe they’ll get away with it, or maybe someone’ll get a real investigation going and find some criminal activity to prosecute. The security interests of the US have taken a hell of a beating over the Iraq war, and I think anyone who intentionally mislead us during the lead up ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of all applicable laws. Of course, YMMV.

:dubious: We shall see what we shall see. I would have used the word “falsified” in the thread title, except that “manipulated” was the strongest word used in the linked stories. Note that even Gimble called the OSP’s actions “inappropriate”.

I’m calling it old news because it is old news. I said nothing about sweeping it under the rug.

Well, if you can find a law that this guy broke, then have at it. Proving the he “intentionally mislead us” into war will be virtually impossible.

If the Dems are enjoying this little exercise, then good for them. That’s a perq of power. Too bad they didn’t ask these kinds of question before we went to war.

OK then, and if nothing comes of it, we can use the old news to wrap up some fish or something.

Some of us did, as I recall. The wild approval with which our views were greeted still rings in my ears, the glad cries of “Hear! Hear!” and “Huzzah!”

http://www.dodig.osd.mil/IGInformation/archives/OUSDP-OSP%20Brief.pdf

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy [OUSD§] developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision makers.

While such actions were not illegal or unauthorized, the actions were, in our opinion, inappropriate given that the products did not clearly show the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community and were, in some cases, shown as intelligence products.

It seems they showed senior decision makers “some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community” “as intelligence products” when they were not.
Here’s the rub, these actions were not unauthorized.

Who authorized the OSP to show “senior decision makers” “alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaida relationship” as though they were products of the intelligence community?

Oh, absolutely. It certainly is the Democrats fault that we got into this war. Good on you for pointing that out. Wrong-thinking people might think that the blame lies with the Republicans and the administration in power.

In all honesty, John, the actual play this gets is the paranoia that we’re in a run up to another military adventure, of whatever stripe, in Iran. The marginal value I’m seeing to these hearings is to make it more difficult for another set of questionable intelligence reports out of the administration to lead the American people down the path to that military action.

Never said it was. Don’t you wish they had asked these kinds of questions before we went to war? I, and most Americans, do now and did so in 2002, as well (see below).

I’m surprised you’re falling for that canard. We’re not going to war with Iran.

Funny thing is, it was Congress that was too chicken-shit to stop the president, not the American people. Somehow the meme that Americans were itching for war has worked it’s way into out collective memory. In fact, we wanted a go-slow approach, and we were absolutely clear (by a margin of 70%) that Bush needed approval of Congress before acting. Do you think those numbers are lower now?

If you go back and look a the polls immediately prior to the vote on the AUMF, there was support for getting rid of Saddam, but not the way Bush did it. And American’s weren’t buying the linkage of Iraq to terrorism, either. From CBS, one week before the vote for the Iraq AUMF (emphasis added):

About the only thing the American people got wrong was that Bush wanted to work with the UN. They weren’t buying the link to terrorism and they weren’t buying the WMD talk.

No, I’m not worried about the American people at all. If it were up to us, we would’ve gotten it right. We won’t be fooled again, because we weren’t fooled the first time.

And yet, he did it anyway. This suggests to me and mine that the situation in re Iran is not as cut and dried as you seem to believe. If the consensus of American public opinion and that of Congress isn’t sufficient, what do you think might be?

My dark suspicion is that The Leader is seeking a confrontation with Iran of one form or another. He is hoping for a triumph that will vindicate him, something so glorious that it will erase all his minor misdeeds. He wants to throw the long bomb, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And then be seen as The Leader who stuck to his guns, defied public opinion and a defeatist Congress, and carried the day, huzzah!

Its *deja voodoo * all over again. ThinkProgress has an excellent take on this, with all appropriate links and cites (Warning! Lefty site, tighty righty advisory Shields Up!)

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/02/10/iran-cooked-intel/

“Evidence Grows That White House Planned To Release Cooked Intel On Iran”