Skip to comments.Book says White House ordered forgery
Posted on 08/05/2008 11:33:10 AM PDT by Alter Kaker
A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.
Suskind writes in The Way of the World, to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery adamantly denied by the White House was designed to portray a false link between Husseins regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.
The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.
The letters existence has been reported before, and it had been written about as if it were genuine. It was passed in Baghdad to a reporter for The (London) Sunday Telegraph who wrote about it on the front page of Dec. 14, 2003, under the headline, Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam.
The Telegraph story by Con Coughlin (which, coincidentally, ran the day Hussein was captured in his spider hole) was touted in the U.S. media by supporters of the war, and he was interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Over the next few days, the Habbush letter continued to be featured prominently in the United States and across the globe," Suskind writes. "Fox's Bill O'Reilly trumpeted the story Sunday night on 'The O'Reilly Factor,' talking breathlessly about details of the story and exhorting, 'Now, if this is true, that blows the lid off al QaedaSaddam.'"
According to Suskind, the administration had been in contact with the director of the Iraqi intelligence service in the last years of Husseins regime, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti.
The White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam, backdated to July 1, 2001, Suskind writes. It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammad Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq thus showing, finally, that there was an operational link between Saddam and al Qaeda, something the Vice Presidents Office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade Iraq. There is no link.
The White House flatly denied Suskinds account. Tony Fratto, deputy White House press secretary, told Politico: The allegation that the White House directed anyone to forge a document from Habbush to Saddam is just absurd.
The White House plans to push back hard. Fratto added: "Ron Suskind makes a living from gutter journalism. He is about selling books and making wild allegations that no one can verify, including the numerous bipartisan commissions that have reported on pre-war intelligence."
Before The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, Suskind wrote two New York Times bestsellers critical of the Bush administration The Price of Loyalty (2004), which featured extensive comments by former Treasury Secretary Paul ONeill, and The One Percent Doctrine (2006).
Suskind writes in his new book that the order to create the letter was written on creamy White House stationery. The book suggests that the letter was subsequently created by the CIA and delivered to Iraq, but does not say how.
The author claims that such an operation, part of false pretenses for war, would apparently constitute illegal White House use of the CIA to influence a domestic audience, an arguably impeachable offense.
Suskind writes that the White House had ignored the Iraq intelligence chiefs accurate disclosure that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.
They secretly resettled him in Jordan, paid him $5 million which one could argue was hush money and then used his captive status to help deceive the world about one of the eras most crushing truths: that America had gone to war under false pretenses, the book says.
Suskind writes that the forgery operation created by the White House and passed to the CIA seems inconsistent with a statute saying the CIA may not conduct covert operations intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies or media.
It is not the sort of offense, such as assault or burglary, that carries specific penalties, for example, a fine or jail time, Suskind writes. It is much broader than that. It pertains to the White Houses knowingly misusing an arm of government, the sort of thing generally taken up in impeachment proceedings.
Habbush is still listed as wanted on a State Department website designed to help combat international terrorism, with the notation: Up to $1 Million Reward.
Former CIA Director George J. Tenet says about the supposed forgery, in a statement: There was no such order from the White House to me nor, to the best of my knowledge, was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort.
NBCs David Gregory reported on Today that Habbush passed his information in secret meetings with British intelligence.
Tenet says about Habbush in the statement: In fact, the source in question failed to persuade his British interlocutors that he had anything new to offer by way of intelligence, concessions, or negotiations with regard to the Iraq crisis and the British on their own elected to break off contact with him.
There were many Iraqi officials who said both publicly and privately that Iraq had no WMD but our foreign intelligence colleagues and we assessed that these individuals were parroting the Baath party line and trying to delay any coalition attack. The particular source that Suskind cites offered no evidence to back up his assertion and acted in an evasive and unconvincing manner.
Asked about Tenet's statement by Meredith Vieira on Today, Suskind said its part of Georges memory issue.
[B]y placing so much on its secret ledger, Suskind writes in his final chapter, the administration profoundly altered basic democratic ideals of accountability and informed consent.
The book (HarperCollins, $27.95) was not supposed to be publicly available until Tuesday, but Politico purchased a copy Monday night at a Washington bookstore.
Suskind, an engaging and confident Washingtonian, writes that the book was one tough project. He won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he worked from 1993 to 2000.
The White House said Suskind received no formal cooperation. He writes in the acknowledgments section at the end of the book: It should be noted that the intelligence sources who are quoted in this book in no way disclosed any classified information. None crossed the line.
Among the 415-page books other highlights:
--John Maguire, one of two men who oversaw the CIAs Iraq Operations Group, was frustrated by what Suskind describes as the tendency of the White House to ignore advice it didnt want to hear advice that contradicted its willed certainty, political judgments, or rigid message strategies.
And Suskind writes that the administration did not want to hear the word insurgency.
--In the first days of his presidency, Bush rejected advice from the CIA to wiretap Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2001 in Vienna, where he was staying in a hotel where the CIA had a listening device planted in the wall of the presidential suite, in need only of a battery change. The CIA said that if the surveillance were discovered, Putins respect for Bush would be heightened.
But Condoleezza Rice, Bushs national security adviser, advised that it was too risky, it might be discovered, Suskind writes. Bush decided against if as a gut decision based on what he thought was a friendship based on several conversations, including during the presidential campaign. The CIA had warned him that Putin was a trained KGB agent [who] wants you to think hes your friend.
--Suskind reports that Bush initially told Cheney he had to "step back in large meetings when they were together, like those at the NSC [National Security Council], because people were addressing and deferring to Cheney. Cheney said he understood, that hed mostly just take notes at the big tables and then he and Bush would meet privately, frequently, to discuss options and action.
--Suskind contends Cheney established deniability for Bush as part of the vice presidents complex strategies, developed over decades, for how to protect a president.
After the searing experience of being in the Nixon White House, Cheney developed a view that the failure of Watergate was not the break-in, or even the cover-up, but the way the president had, in essence, been over-briefed. There were certain things a president shouldnt know things that could be illegal, disruptive to key foreign relationships, or humiliating to the executive.
They key was a signaling system, where the president made his wishes broadly known to a sufficiently powerful deputy who could take it from there. If an investigation ensued, or a foreign leader cried foul, the president could shrug. This was never something he'd authorized. The whole point of Cheneys model is to make a president less accountable for his action. Cheneys view is that accountability a bedrock feature of representative democracy is not, in every case, a virtue.
--Suskind is acidly derisive of Bush, saying that he initially lost his nerve on 9/11, regaining it when he grabbed the Ground Zero bullhorn. Suskind says Bushs 9 p.m. Oval Office address on the fifth anniversary was well along in petulance, seasoned by a touch of self-defensiveness.
Moving on its own natural arc, the country is in the process of leaving Bush his bullying impulse fused, permanently, with satisfying vengeance in the scattering ashes of 9/11, Suskind writes. The high purpose his angry words carried after the attacks, and in two elections since, is dissolving with each passing minute.
--Suskind writes in the acknowledgments that his research assistant, Greg Jackson, was sent to New York on a project for the book in September 2007 and was detained by federal agents in Manhattan. He was interrogated and his notes were confiscated, violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights. The author provides no further detail.
Suskind sounds like the illegitimate lovechild of Gore Vidal and Seymour Hersh.
Bush and Habbush = Gog and Magog?
Why ask the CIA to forge a document when you can simply call up Mary Mapes and CBS to see if they have any ready-made ones in stock?
Is that where Obama got the current copy of his birth certificate?
The CIA forges documents?
Oh really now...
In in 1998, an Arab intelligence officer, who knows Saddam personally, predicted in Newsweek: "Very soon you will be witnessing large-scale terrorist activity run by the Iraqis." The Arab official said these terror operations would be run under "false flags" --spook-speak for front groups--including bin Laden's organization.
Then there were the predictions by an Iraqi with ties to Iraqi intelligence, Naeem Abd Mulhalhal, in Qusay's own newspaper several weeks before the attacks that stated bin Laden would demolish the Pentagon after he destroys the White House and bin Laden would strike America on the arm that is already hurting. (referencing a second IRAQI sponsored attack on the World Trade Center). Another reference to New York was [bin Laden] will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra everytime he hears his songs. (e.g., New York, New York) which identified New York, New York as a target. Mulhalhal also stated, The wings of a dove and the bullet are all but one and the same in the heart of a believer." which references an airplane attack.
The Arabic language daily newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabic also cited the cooperation between Iraq, bin Laden and Al December 1998 editorial, which predicted that President Saddam Hussein, whose country was subjected to a four day air strike, will look for support in taking revenge on the United States and Britain by cooperating with Saudi oppositionist Osama Bin-Laden, whom the United States considers to be the most wanted person in the world. This info is in the link provided below. How could these people have had foreknowledge without Iraq being involved?
Warning...slow loading .pdf file. This was from a lawsuit filed against Iraq after 9/11...the court ruled against Iraq.
There was also another lawsuit filed by the family of John ONeill (a former FBI agent who captured Ramzi Yousef after the 1993 WTC bombings) after he died in the WTC on 9/11. His personal files from his years of traveling around the world investigating al-Qaeda are were used as evidence in the lawsuit. The evidence includes documents unearthed in the headquarters of the Mukhabarat (Iraq's intelligence service) and information gleaned from the interrogation of both al-Qaeda and Iraqi prisoners. (Link below). It also quotes Vincent Cannistraro, the former CIA counter-terrorism chief, who stated in October 2000 that Iraq had been wanting to carry out terrorist attacks, and that the Iraqi military had been in contact with Osama bin Laden.
We know from these IIS documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to Osama bin Laden's request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
List of newspaper article in the 90's which mention the world's concern regarding the growing relationship between OBL and Saddam:
Son of Saddam coordinates OBL activities:
The AQ connection (excellent):
Saddam's link to OBL:
NYT: Iraq and AQ agree to cooperate:
Document linking them:
Iraq and terrorism - no doubt about it:
A federal judge rules there are links:
Wall Street Journal on Iraq and AQ:
Iraq and Iran contact OBL:
Saddam's AQ connection:
What a court of law said about the connections:
Some miscellaneous stuff on connections:
Saddam's Ambassador to Al Qaeda: (February 2004, Weekly Standard)
Yes - it's NewsMax but loaded with interesting bullet points.
Saddam's Fingerprints on NY Bombing (Wall Street Journal, June 1993)
Colin Powell: Iraq and AQ Partners for Years (CNN, February 2003)
The Iraq-Al Qaeda Connections (September 2003, Richard Miniter)
Oil for Food Scandal Ties Iraq and Al Qaeda (June 2003)
Saddam and OBL Make a Pact (The New Yorker, February 2003):
Al Qaeda's Poison Gas (Wall Street Journal, April 2004):
Wolfowitz Says Saddam behind 9/11 Attacks:
Saddam behind first WTC attack - PBS, Laurie Mylroie:
Growing Evidence of Saddam and Al Qaeda Link, The Weekly Standard, July 2003:
Qusay Hussein Coordinated Iraq special operations with Bin Laden Terrorist Activities, Yossef Bodansky, National Press Club
The Western Nightmare: Saddam and Bin Laden vs. the Rest of the World, The Guardian Unlimited:
Saddam Link to Bin Laden, Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 1999
The Al Qaeda Connection, The Weekly Standard, July 2003
Cheney lectures Russert on Iraq/911 Link, September 2003:
No Question About It, National Review, September 2003
Iraq: A Federal Judges Point of View
Mohammed's Account links Iraq to 9/11 and OKC:
Free Republic Thread that mentions some books Freepers might be interested in on this topic:
The Proof that Saddam Worked with AQ, The Telegraph, April 2003:
Saddam's AQ Connection, The Weekly Standard, September 2003
September 11 Victims Sue Iraq:
Osama's Best Friend: The Further Connections Between Al Qaeda and Saddam, The Weekly Standard, November 2003
Terrorist Behind 9/11 Attacks Trained by Saddam, The Telegraph, December 2003
James Woolsey Links Iraq and AQ, CNN Interview, March 2004, Also see Posts #34 and #35
A Geocities Interesting Web Site with maps and connections:
Bin Laden indicted in federal court, read down to find information that Bin Laden agreed to not attack Iraq and to work cooperatively with Iraq:
Case Closed, The Weekly Standard, November 03
CBS - Lawsuit: Iraq involved in 9/11:
Exploring Iraq's Involvement in pre-9/11 Acts, The Indianapolis Star:
The Iraq/AQ Connection: Richard Minister again
Militia Defector says Baghdad trained Al Qaeda fighters in chemical weapons, July 2002
The Clinton View of Iraq/AQ Ties, The Weekly Standard, December 2003
Saddam Controlled the Camps (Iraq/AQ Ties): The London Observer, November 01
Saddam's Terror Ties that Critics Ignore, National Review, October 2003:
Tape Shows General Wesley Clark linking Iraq and AQ:
The Missing Link (What the Senate Ingelligence Report Said about Iraq/AQ Connections)
Credit to Peach for the above info.
Credit to joesbucks for the following links:
Dozens of links here:
Just a few of those links include:
The Clinton Justice Department's indictment against OBL in federal court which mentions the terrorist's connections to Iraq. November 4, 1998. The federal indictment:
Iraq and AQ agree to cooperate. The federal indictment against OBL working in concert with Iraq and Iran is mentioned. November 1998. The New York Times
Saddam reaching out to OBL January 1, 1999. Newsweek
ABC news reports on the Osama/Saddam connections January 14, 1999. ABC News
Western Nightmare: Saddam and OBL versus the World. Iraq recruited OBL. February 6, 1999. The Guardian
Saddam's Link to OBL February 6, 1999. The Guardian
Saddam offered asylum to bin Laden February 13, 1999. AP
Video coverage from drzz:
And kabar submitted these two little gems showing Bin Laden supported Iraq and its struggle against the US and the West.
And to think Paul O’Neill gave classified treasury documents to this treacherous slime.
Leftist Revisionism at work here.
Do you expect the President to respond to this source when taking decisions affecting national security?
I am surprised this isn’t coming out in October to stir up dust in the last couple of weeks.
Better it come out in the Dog Days of August AFAIC.
Well, owing to the digestive power of a bull's four stomachs, you shouldn't expect to see much detail in bull crap.
Maybe something of a resemblance... lol
Look for this crap to be SWALLOWED WHOLE by the LameStream Media.
Another Suskind book deal - the lefties are issuing the new updated preelection talking points to the press from Mt. Oilympuss...
” —In the first days of his presidency, Bush rejected advice from the CIA to wiretap Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2001 in Vienna, where he was staying in a hotel where the CIA had a listening device planted in the wall of the presidential suite, in need only of a battery change. The CIA said that if the surveillance were discovered, Putins respect for Bush would be heightened.
But Condoleezza Rice, Bushs national security adviser, advised that it was too risky, it might be discovered, Suskind writes. Bush decided against if as a gut decision based on what he thought was a friendship based on several conversations, including during the presidential campaign. The CIA had warned him that Putin was a trained KGB agent [who] wants you to think hes your friend. “
This is rather interesting. Like almost all on FR, I have no idea if it is true, but it doesn’t fail the smell test, given the ‘look in his eyes’ stuff with Putin.
Oh’Really won’t do the story on John Edwards’ love child because he has no proof, yet he jumps on this story because he has proof??? What a jerk!!
Did Scott McLellan tell him about this “forged” document?
Paul O’Neill is a PATHETIC person.