The document that was used by the United States as its premise for invading Iraq in 2003 is called “The National Intelligence Estimate on Weapons of Mass Destruction,” or NIE. After delays and redactions, a new and cleaner version was finally released in 2015. It can be read here. The details within it bear no resemblance to the claims the Crime Syndicate was asserting leading up to the invasion.
Once again, we are met with the bogus Hanlon’s Razor of incompetence and blunders versus malice. An apologist report issued by the RAND Corporation titled “Blinders, Blunders and Wars” said the NIE “contained several qualifiers that were dropped … As the draft NIE went up the intelligence chain of command, the conclusions were treated increasingly definitively.”
An example of that: According to the declassified NIE, the intelligence community concluded that Iraq “probably has renovated a [vaccine] production plant” to manufacture biological weapons “but we are unable to determine whether [biological weapons] agent research has resumed.” Takeaway: In other words, Iraq had the capability to make medical vaccines.
The NIE also said Saddam Hussein did not have “sufficient material” to manufacture any nuclear weapons. But in an Oct. 7, 2002, speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, then-President George W. Bush simply said Iraq “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons” and “the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.”
One of the most significant parts of the NIE revealed for the first time pertained to Iraq’s alleged links to al Qaeda. In September 2002, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld claimed the U.S. had “bulletproof” evidence linking Hussein’s regime to the terrorist group.
“We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad,” Rumsfeld said. “We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical- and biological-agent training.”
But the actual NIE said its information about a working relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq was based on “sources of varying reliability” — like Iraqi defectors — and it was not at all clear that Hussein had even been aware of a relationship, if in fact there were one. Takeaway: These differences in the new NIE are so stark that one wonders if there ever was an earlier NIE, and if the agencies invented the 2015 version to wash their hands and distance themselves from the whole tawdry affair.
“As with much of the information on the overall relationship, details on training and support are second-hand,” the NIE said. “The presence of al-Qa’ida militants in Iraq poses many questions. We do not know to what extent Baghdad may be actively complicit in this use of its territory for safe haven and transit.”
Later, Congress’ investigation into prewar Iraq intelligence concluded that the intelligence community based its claims about Iraq’s chemical and biological training provided to al Qaeda on a single source, who appeared to have been tortured and ultimately “suicided” in 2009.
Al-Libi was the emir of the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan, which the Taliban closed prior to 9/11 because al-Libi refused to turn over control to Osama bin Laden.
“Detainee Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi — who had significant responsibility for training — has told us that Iraq provided unspecified chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qai’ida members beginning in December 2000,” the NIE says. “He has claimed, however, that Iraq never sent any chemical, biological, or nuclear substances — or any trainers — to al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee released a declassified summary of its so-called Torture Report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program. A footnote stated that al-Libi, a Libyan national, “reported while in [redacted] custody that Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons.”
“Some of this information was cited by Secretary [of State Colin] Powell in his speech to the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” the Senate torture report said. “Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [redacted] 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [redacted], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear.”
Al-Libi reportedly “committed suicide” in a Libyan prison in 2009, about a month after human rights investigators met with him.
The NIE also restores another previously unknown piece of “intelligence”: a suggestion that Iraq was possibly behind the letters laced with anthrax sent to news organizations and senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy a week after the 9/11 attacks. The attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others.
“We have no intelligence information linking Iraq to the fall 2001 attacks in the United States, but Iraq has the capability to produce spores of Bacillus anthracis — the causative agent of anthrax — similar to the dry spores used in the letters,” the NIE said. “The spores found in the Daschle and Leahy letters are highly purified, probably requiring a high level of skill and expertise in working with bacterial spores. Iraqi scientists could have such expertise,” although samples of a biological agent Iraq was known to have used as an anthrax simulant “were not as pure as the anthrax spores in the letters.”
Paul Pillar, a former veteran CIA analyst for the Middle East who was in charge of coordinating the intelligence community’s assessments on Iraq, was quoted in Vice News that he was told by congressional aides that only a half-dozen senators and a few House members read past the NIE’s five-page summary.
The most controversial part of the NIE, which has been picked apart hundreds of times and has been thoroughly debunked, pertained to a section about Iraq’s attempts to acquire aluminum tubes. The Bush administration claimed that this was evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapon.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice stated at the time on CNN that the tubes “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs,” and that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
Takeaway: Here we have an indication that the 2015 version of the NIE was a washing their hands of the affair exercise. Also notice the superficial attempt to invoke the neuro-linguistic programming Hanlon’s Razor (“never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”) and play dumb.
The version of the NIE released in 2004 redacted the aluminum tubes section in its entirety. But the newly declassified assessment unredacts a majority of it and shows that the intelligence community was unsure why “Saddam is personally interested in the procurement of aluminum tubes.” The U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the dimensions of the aluminum tubes were “consistent with applications to rocket motors” and “this is the more likely end use.”
In 2015, CIA mucky muck Micheal Morell had this revealing exchange with Chris Matthews on WMD intel.
The whole affair was treated as a big joke by the Crime Syndicate long before the NIE report came clean. The psychopaths leading the kakistocracy made these shameful remarks to other yucking-it-up psychopaths at the 2005 White House “correspondents” and flying-monkey hacks dinner about missing weapons of mass destruction. A dying Iraqi war veteran, Tomas Young, gives his reaction. This scene just about says it all. As far as Trump and claims about Iran: Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss.
Another important document to the examination: LUNTZ- WEXNER ANALYSIS:
ISRAELI COMMUNICATION PRIORITIES 2003