Skip to comments.Bush's CIA Critic Claim Exposed as Untrue
Posted on 09/13/2006 7:52:05 AM PDT by harpu
WASHINGTON In a "60 Minutes" interview on April 23, Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of the CIA's Europe division, made a sensational charge.
He claimed that President Bush and his White House ignored intelligence before the invasion of Iraq indicating that Saddam Hussein had no had weapons of mass destruction.
On the CBS-TV show, and in subsequent media interviews that appeared throughout the world, Drumheller said that the White House was excited about the fact that the CIA was getting information straight from Naji Sabri, the then Iraqi foreign minister. But when the White House found out this source was reliably saying that Saddam had no WMD, Bush and his White House weren't interested.
"He [Sabri] told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program," Drumheller told correspondent Ed Bradley in a segment called "A Spy Speaks Out."
"So in the fall of 2002, before going to war, we had it on good authority from a source within Saddam's inner circle that he didn't have an active program for weapons of mass destruction?" Bradley asked.
"Yes," Drumheller said, proclaiming himself outraged.
According to Drumheller, Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice brushed aside the CIA report on what Sabri had to say because "the policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy."
Drumheller saw "how the Bush administration time and time again welcomed intelligence that fit the president's determination to go to war and turned a blind eye to intelligence that did not," Ed Bradley said in the introduction to the "60 Minutes" piece.
Now it appears Drumheller's claim was untrue, according to the findings of a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigation. Rather than undercutting the Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq, Sabri's account shows how well-founded the intelligence on Saddam's weapons program appeared to be.
Ironically, just as Drumheller claimed that Bush ignored the truth about Iraq, the media have ignored the documentation in the Senate report demolishing Drumheller's claim.
An addenda to the Senate report on postwar findings about Iraq's WMD program says all the operational documents relating to Sabri indicate he told the CIA just the opposite of what Drumheller claimed. The Senate report refers to Sabri as a source with direct access to Saddam Hussein and his inner circle but does not name him.
"Both the operations cable and the intelligence report prepared for high-level policy-makers [based on interrogation of the source] said that while Saddam Hussein did not have a nuclear weapon, he was aggressively and covertly developing such a weapon,'" the Senate report said.
The documents said "Iraq was producing and stockpiling chemical weapons," according to the addendum, signed by Sens. Pat Roberts, RKan., Orrin G. Hatch, RUtah, and Saxby Chambliss, RGa. Iraq's weapon of last resort was mobile launched chemical weapons, which would be fired at enemy forces and Israel, the CIA documents said.
Moreover, there is "not a single document relating to this case which indicates that the source said Iraq had no WMD programs," the addenda said. "On the contrary, all of the information about this case so far indicates that the information from this source was that Iraq did have WMD programs."
What the source said was consistent with the CIA's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the report said. The report added: "The committee is still exploring why the former chief/EUR's public remarks differ so markedly from the documentation."
At least 134 stories and TV shows have referred to Drumheller's claims and his criticism of the CIA and Bush administration in general. One of the stories ran as the second lead of the June 25, 2006 Washington Post.
"Warnings on WMD Fabricator' Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says," the headline over the Post story said. According to the story, Drumheller was dumbfounded when he saw a classified version of the speech Secretary of State Colin Powell was about to give to the United Nations citing Iraq's biological weapons factories on wheels.
Drumheller claimed he had warned George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence, in a phone call, and John McLaughlin, the deputy director, in a personal meeting that the source for that claim, code-named "Curveball," was a fabricator.
Not until the 32nd paragraph of the Post story did the reader learn that both Tenet and McLaughlin said they had no recollection of warnings Drumheller allegedly gave them. Both men said they would have taken immediate action if he had.
While two former CIA officials said they recalled Drumheller telling them at the time about warnings he allegedly gave McLaughlin, no meeting with Drumheller appeared on McLaughlin's official calendar, according to the report of the Commission on Intelligence Capabilities of the U.S. Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, known as the Silverman-Robb commission.
Carroll & Graf is publishing Drumheller's book, "On the Brink: How the White House Has Compromised American Intelligence," written with Elaine Monaghan, on Sept. 28, according to the Amazon listing. The publisher's Web site lists the publication date as this winter.
Neither Drumheller nor a Carroll & Graf spokesperson responded to messages seeking comment.
So far, no media outlet has run the Senate committee's addendum demolishing Drumheller's claim that Bush and his White House did not want to hear the truth about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
This is exactly the same thing that happened with Joe Wilson....go on 60 minutes...tell the exact OPPOSITE of what you said on record to the CIA....let the press have a field day with it...then be proved wrong. Of course, 60 minutes won't have an interview to correct the falsehoods...
These people continue to play by the same playbook because they think it works...let's hope it doesn't
Regarding the quote identifying VIPS as the source of the leak to IAEA about the Niger forgeries, I tried to substantiate that quote (originally posted on May 17, 2003 by IslamOnline's Hwaa Irfan at http://www.islamonline.net/English/In_Depth/Iraq/2003/03/article05.SHTML) when I was putting together my "Wilsongate" post (where I considered a similar scenario in the "Means" section in Post #2 under "Phase 2: Planting the forgery" and in the "Opportunity" section in Post #3 under "4. Wilsons alibi(s)"). My recollection is that I did not include that quote because I was unable to determine the source of the information (it seemed like it may have been an inference from previously-published articles rather than based on a direct quotation of a source with firsthand knowledge) or find other corroborating details. I do suspect VIPS (possibly in conjunction with CIA personnel in Europe) was involved in the leak but I wouldn't rest the case on that quote.
Thanks, The Source of the forgeries and why Wilson spoke of seeing them when he couldn't have is one of the remaining mysteries, isn't it, fedora? Like you I've a number of good ideas but no proof.
Yes, the new SSCI report says on pdf p. 56 that the FBI is still investigating the origin of the forgeries. Another unresolved question is who first advised the IAEA of the forgeries--my summary of the various discrepancies surrounding this issue:
On February 4, the day before Powells UN speech, someone briefed Baute on the Niger forgeries and provided him with copies. Who provided the briefing and forgeries to him and where they did so have been reportedly differently by different sources. According to Bautes account as reported by Seymour Hersh, he was briefed by the US mission in Austria while aboard a plane en route from IAEA headquarters in Vienna to UN headquarters in New York, and upon reaching New York he was provided with copies of the documents by the US.174 What the Senate Select Committee on Intelligences report says regarding this is censored at a key point, reading, On February 4, 2003, the U.S. Government passed electronic copies of the Iraq-Niger documents to [3/4 line deleted] the IAEA. Because the Director of the IAEAs INVO [Iraq Nuclear Verification Office] was in New York at the time, the U.S. Government also provided the documents to him in New York.175 So far this seems consistent enough. But slightly at variance with these accounts is a July 18, 2003 article by Walter Pincus and Dana Priest which depicts the briefing occurring in Vienna rather than on the plane from Vienna: On Feb. 4, the U.N. inspectors' Iraq team was called to the U.S. mission in Vienna and verbally briefed on the contents of the documents. A day later, they received copies, according to officials familiar with the inspectors' work. A couple weeks earlier, Pincus and Richard Leiby had reported that the copies of the forgeries the inspectors received came from the CIA: In early February, the CIA received a translation of the Niger documents and in early March, copies of the documents, which it turned over to the International Atomic Energy Agency.176 A seemingly different account is found in a March 8, 2003 article by Ian Traynor, stating that Britain provided the documents to the IAEA in Vienna: British officials named the state of Niger as the source of the uranium and passed their evidence to the UN nuclear watchdog, the international atomic energy agency, in Vienna. Hans Blix curiously stated as reported in an April 22, 2003 article by Sally Bolton, The CIA say they got a copy of the document from the UK.177 This is contradicted by a September 2003 British Parliamentary investigation which states, In February 2003 the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) received from a third party (not the UK) documents that the party had acquired in the autumn of 2002 and which purported to be evidence of Iraqs attempts to obtain uranium from Niger. In March 2003 the IAEA identified some of the documents it had received as forgeries and called into question the authenticity of the others. Britains July 2004 Butler Report similarly though somewhat more vaguely states: it was not until early 2003 that the British Government became aware that the US (and other states) had received from a journalistic source a number of documents alleged to cover the Iraqi procurement of uranium from Niger. Those documents were passed to the IAEA. . .178
You are still the best researcher on the planet, fedora.
I remember Erik Mink when he was lead propagandist for the pinko rag Riverfront Times - the paper that wouldn't have any circulation at all if college students didn't need the free paper to serve as coasters for their beer bottles.
Thanks for the ping! :-)
...repeated here in case you didn't come across this. What makes the reporter think she was lined up to get the position in the first place?
LOLOL! So very true, piasa.
A bump since Tyler Drumheller’s involved in Hillary Clinton’s current private email server / Benghazi scandal.
Add to your Drumheller list that he is Sid Blumenthal’s source feeding info to Hillary in the disasterous Libyan arab spring...