October 26, 2003

Memo to Central Intelligence Agency

Instead of dithering of its hemline on the 9/11
commission story, the NYTwits could have been
following up on the CIA scape goat story...Here is an
excellent piece from Rivers Pitt...
William Rivers Pitt: " This memo is being written not to tell you about Senator Roberts, for it is sure you know all about him. This memo is being written because of your poor response to these accusations. "


Memo to Central Intelligence Agency
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

From: William Rivers Pitt

To: Central Intelligence Agency

Date: Friday 24 October 2003, 10:30 a.m.

Re: The scapegoating process


This morning’s front page of the Washington Post
carried a story entitled, “Inquiry Faults Intelligence
on Iraq.” The story described statements by the
Republican-dominated Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence. The first two paragraphs read as

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is
preparing a blistering report on prewar intelligence
on Iraq that is critical of CIA Director George J.
Tenet and other intelligence officials for overstating
the weapons and terrorism case against Saddam Hussein,
according to congressional officials.

The committee staff was surprised by the amount of
circumstantial evidence and single-source or disputed
information used to write key intelligence documents
-- in particular the October 2002 National
Intelligence Estimate -- summarizing Iraq's
capabilities and intentions.

The committee is chaired by Senator Pat Roberts,
Republican of Kansas. Some background on Senator
Roberts is noteworthy. On June 26, I did an interview
with 27-year CIA senior analyst Ray McGovern on a wide
array of issues. That interview can be found here.
The discussion turned, at one point, to Senator
Roberts. From the interview:

Take Pat Roberts, the Republican Senator from
Kansas, who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee. When the Niger forgery was unearthed and
when Colin Powell admitted, well shucks, it was a
forgery, Senator Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat
on that committee, went to Pat Roberts and said they
really needed the FBI to take a look at this. After
all, this was known to be a forgery and was still used
on Congressmen and Senators. We’d better get the
Bureau in on this. Pat Roberts said no, that would be
inappropriate. So Rockefeller drafted his own letter,
and went back to Roberts and said he was going to send
the letter to FBI Director Mueller, and asked if
Roberts would sign on to it. Roberts said no, that
would be inappropriate.

What the FBI Director eventually got was a letter
from one Minority member saying pretty please, would
you maybe take a look at what happened here, because
we think there may have been some skullduggery. The
answer he got from the Bureau was a brush-off. Why do
I mention all that? This is the same Pat Roberts who
is going to lead the investigation into what happened
with this issue.

There is a lot that could be said about Pat Roberts.
I remember way back last fall when people were being
briefed, CIA and others were briefing Congressmen and
Senators about the weapons of mass destruction. These
press folks were hanging around outside the briefing
room, and when the Senators came out, one of the press
asked Senator Roberts how the evidence on weapons of
mass destruction was. Roberts said, oh, it was very
persuasive, very persuasive.

The press guy asked Roberts to tell him more about
that. Roberts said, “Truck A was observed to be going
under Shed B, where Process C is believed to be taking
place.” The press guy asked him if he found that
persuasive, and Pat Roberts said, “Oh, these
intelligence folks, they have these techniques down so
well, so yeah, this is very persuasive.” And the
correspondent said thank you very much, Senator.

So, if you’ve got a Senator who is that inclined to
believe that kind of intelligence, you’ve got someone
who will do the administration’s bidding. On the House
side, of course, you’ve got Porter Goss, who is a CIA
alumnus. Porter Goss’ main contribution last year to
the joint committee investigating 9/11 was to sic the
FBI on members of that committee, at the direction of
who? Dick Cheney. Goss admits this. He got a call from
Dick Cheney, and he was “chagrined” in Goss’ word that
he was upbraided by Dick Cheney for leaks coming out
of the committee. He then persuaded the innocent Bob
Graham to go with him to the FBI and ask the Bureau to
investigate the members of that committee. Polygraphs
and everything were involved. That’s the first time
something like that has ever happened.

Be aware, of course, that Congress has its own
investigative agencies, its own ways of investigating
things like that. So without any regard for the
separation of powers, here Goss says Cheney is bearing
down on me, so let’s get the FBI in here. In this
case, ironically enough, the FBI jumped right in with
Ashcroft whipping it along. They didn’t come up with
much, but the precedent was just terrible.

All I’m saying is that you’ve got Porter Goss on the
House side, you’ve got Pat Roberts on the Senate side,
you’ve got John Warner who’s a piece with Pat Roberts.
I’m very reluctant to be so unequivocal, but in this
case I can say nothing is going to come out of those
hearings but a lot of smoke.

Ray McGovern is one of your people, and has been
since the Kennedy administration. He knows that
Senator Roberts is nothing more or less than a shill
for the White House. The Washington Post article
referenced above comes to essentially the same
conclusion in the first sentence of the third
paragraph: “Like a similar but less exhaustive inquiry
being completed by the House intelligence committee,
the Senate report shifts attention toward the
intelligence community and away from White House
officials, who have been criticized for exaggerating
the Iraqi threat.”

This memo is being written not to tell you about
Senator Roberts, for it is sure you know all about
him. This memo is being written because of your poor
response to these accusations. At 9:43 a.m. on
Friday, a story hit the Associated Press wires
entitled, “CIA Rebuffs Senate Criticism of its Prewar
Intelligence.” According to the AP story, your
“rebuff” consisted of the following:

The CIA on Friday rejected Senate criticism of its
prewar reports on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein,
saying it's too soon to conclude the intelligence was
unfounded while the search for weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq continues. "It is hard to
understand how the committee could come to any
conclusions at this point, particularly while the
efforts of (weapons search leader) Dr. David Kay in
Iraq are at an early stage," said CIA spokesman Bill

The rest of the AP story goes on to describe the
argument from the Senate committee’s perspective.
This, simply, is unacceptable, for three reasons.

1. The National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE: This
was referenced in the above-captioned Washington Post
article as follows: “The committee staff was surprised
by the amount of circumstantial evidence and
single-source or disputed information used to write
key intelligence documents -- in particular the
October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate --
summarizing Iraq's capabilities and intentions.”

This description of the NIE does not wed to reality.
A conservative columnist and avowed Bush-voter named
Paul Sperry wrote an article entitled, “Yes, Bush
Lied” on October 6 2003. He writes:

Page 4 of the report, called the National
Intelligence Estimate, deals with terrorism, and draws
conclusions that would come as a shock to most
Americans, judging from recent polls on Iraq. The CIA,
Defense Intelligence Agency and the other U.S. spy
agencies unanimously agreed that Baghdad: 1) Had not
sponsored past terrorist attacks against America, 2)
Was not operating in concert with al-Qaida, and 3) Was
not a terrorist threat to America. "We have no
specific intelligence information that Saddam's regime
has directed attacks against U.S. territory," the
report stated.

Sperry goes on to state:

Now turn to the next page of the same NIE report,
which is considered the gold standard of intelligence
reports. Page 5 ranks the key judgments by confidence
level – high, moderate or low. According to the
consensus of Bush's intelligence services, there was
"low confidence" before the war in the views that
"Saddam would engage in clandestine attacks against
the U.S. Homeland" or "share chemical or biological
weapons with al-Qaida." Their message to the
president was clear: Saddam wouldn't help al-Qaida
unless we put his back against the wall, and even then
it was a big maybe. If anything, the report was a
flashing yellow light against attacking Iraq.

Bush saw the warning, yet completely ignored it and
barreled ahead with the war plans he'd approved a
month earlier (Aug. 29), telling a completely
different version of the intelligence consensus to the
American people. Less than a week after the NIE was
published, he warned that "on any given day" –
provoked by attack or not, sufficiently desperate or
not – Saddam could team up with Osama and conduct a
joint terrorist operation against America using
weapons of mass destruction.

Again, you at CIA know this about the NIE. Your
response to the characterization of this report by
White House defenders, a characterization that has
been ongoing for months now, allows the ones truly
responsible for the shoddy Iraq data to continue to
avoid responsibility. In short, given the facts, your
response was unacceptable.

2. The Office of Special Plans: Paragraphs seven and
eight of the Washington Post article described above
reads as follows: “Sen. John ‘Jay’ Rockefeller IV
(D-W. Va.) said yesterday he had secured a promise
from Roberts to ask one executive agency, the Defense
Department and, in particular, its Office of Special
Plans, for information about the intelligence it
collected or analyzed on Iraq. The office has been
accused by some congressional Democrats and
administration critics of gathering unreliable
intelligence on Iraq that bolstered the
administration's case for war. Those allegations have
not been substantiated, and the director of the
office, William Luti, has denied them.”

Luti’s denials do not wed with reality. Reporter
Julian Borger of the UK Guardian did an extensive
report on the Office of Special Plans in an article
dated July 17 entitled “The Spies Who Pushed For War.”
Portions of this article are below:

According to former Bush officials, all defence and
intelligence sources, senior administration figures
created a shadow agency of Pentagon analysts staffed
mainly by ideological amateurs to compete with the CIA
and its military counterpart, the Defence Intelligence
Agency. The agency, called the Office of Special
Plans (OSP), was set up by the defence secretary,
Donald Rumsfeld, to second-guess CIA information and
operated under the patronage of hardline conservatives
in the top rungs of the administration, the Pentagon
and at the White House, including Vice-President Dick

The ideologically driven network functioned like a
shadow government, much of it off the official payroll
and beyond congressional oversight. But it proved
powerful enough to prevail in a struggle with the
State Department and the CIA by establishing a
justification for war. Mr Tenet has officially taken
responsibility for the president's unsubstantiated
claim in January that Saddam Hussein's regime had been
trying to buy uranium in Africa, but he also said his
agency was under pressure to justify a war that the
administration had already decided on.

The president's most trusted adviser, Mr Cheney, was
at the shadow network's sharp end. He made several
trips to the CIA in Langley, Virginia, to demand a
more "forward-leaning" interpretation of the threat
posed by Saddam. When he was not there to make his
influence felt, his chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter"
Libby, was. Such hands-on involvement in the
processing of intelligence data was unprecedented for
a vice-president in recent times, and it put pressure
on CIA officials to come up with the appropriate
results. Another frequent visitor was Newt Gingrich,
the former Republican party leader who resurfaced
after September 11 as a Pentagon "consultant" and a
member of its unpaid defence advisory board, with
influence far beyond his official title.

Democratic congressman David Obey, who is
investigating the OSP, said: "That office was charged
with collecting, vetting and disseminating
intelligence completely outside of the normal
intelligence apparatus. In fact, it appears that
information collected by this office was in some
instances not even shared with established
intelligence agencies and in numerous instances was
passed on to the national security council and the
president without having been vetted with anyone other
than political appointees."

Far more damning than Borger’s article are the words
of Air Force Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, a career
Pentagon officer who worked with Luti’s office until
her retirement last April. In an article from August
5 entitled, “War Critics Zero In on Pentagon Office,”
Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski makes her feelings clearly

On most days, the Pentagon's 'Early Bird', a daily
compilation of news articles on defence-related issues
mostly from the U.S. and British press, does not shy
from reprinting hard-hitting stories and columns
critical of the Defence Department's top leadership.
But few could help notice last week that the 'Bird'
omitted an opinion piece distributed by the
Knight-Ridder news agency by a senior Pentagon Middle
East specialist, Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski,
who worked in the office of Under Secretary of Defence
for Policy Douglas Feith until her retirement in
April. "What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and
contrary to good order and discipline," Kwiatkowski
wrote. "If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar
bits of 'intelligence' found sanctity in a
presidential speech, or why the post-Saddam (Hussein)
occupation (in Iraq) has been distinguished by
confusion and false steps, one need look no further
than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of
Defence" (OSD).

Kwiatkowski went on to charge that the operations
she witnessed during her tenure in Feith's office, and
particularly those of an ad hoc group known as the
Office of Special Plans (OSP), constituted "a
subversion of constitutional limits on executive power
and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of
the Congress". Headed by a gung-ho former Navy
officer, William Luti, and a scholarly
national-security analyst, Abram Shulsky, OSP was
given complete access to reams of raw intelligence
produced by the U.S. intelligence community and became
the preferred stop, when in town, for defectors
handled by the Iraqi National Congress (INC), led by
Ahmed Chalabi. It also maintained close relations
with the Defence Policy Board (DPB), which was then
chaired by neo-conservative Richard Perle of the
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Feith's mentor in
the Reagan administration.

"I personally witnessed several cases of staff
officers being told not to contact their counterparts
at State or the National Security Council because that
particular decision would be processed through a
different channel," Kwiatkowski wrote.

Again, you at CIA are well aware of the OSP. It was
their data that was used to justify this war, and not
yours. CIA and the intelligence community as a whole
was completely usurped by the OSP, and by its sponsors
Rumsfeld and Cheney, whose ideological motivations
caused the creation of this outsider agency to
manufacture evidence for a decision to go to war that
had already been made. Yet your defense of Friday 24
October did not mention the Office of Special Plans.
Senator Rockefeller said the words. Now, you must.

3. The White House: The Valerie Plame incident
should tell you all you need to know about the people
you are dealing with. The White House destroyed one
of your NOC agents to silence a critic of the war, a
NOC agent who was running a network that worked to
make sure weapons of mass destruction did not fall
into the hands of terrorists. Senator Roberts and the
rest of that Senate committee are doing the bidding of
this White House with the accusations leveled today.

Do not let this stand. Say the words “Office of
Special Plans.” A Washington Post staff writer named
Walter Pincus has been providing an excellent
perspective on these matters since the summer scandal
over the Niger uranium claims about Iraq, another
incident in which the White House tried to pin the
blame on you. Provide Mr. Pincus with the data he
needs. Waiting for vindication from Dr. David Kay is
a dangerous and foolhardy exercise in futility.


William Rivers Pitt is the Managing Editor of
truthout.org. He is a New York Times and international
best-selling author of three books - "War On Iraq,"
available from Context Books, "The Greatest Sedition
is Silence," available from Pluto Press, and "Our
Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism," available in
August from Context Books.

Posted by richard at October 26, 2003 11:25 PM