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Prewar CIA report questioned al Qaeda-Iraq ties


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http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/10/iraq.intel/index.html

Prewar CIA report questioned al Qaeda-Iraq ties

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A January 2003 CIA report raised doubts about claims that al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weapons -- dramatic assertions that were repeated weeks later by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations in making the case for the invasion of Iraq.

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CNN on Thursday obtained a CIA document that outlined the history of the claim, which originated in 2002 with a captured al Qaeda operative who recanted two years later.

The CIA report appears to support a recently declassified document that revealed the Defense Intelligence Agency thought in February 2002 that the source, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, was lying to interrogators.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week released the DIA report in alleging the administration cited faulty intelligence to argue for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In February 2003, al-Libi, a senior military trainer for al Qaeda in Afghanistan, claimed the terrorist network "sent operatives to Iraq" to acquire weapons. His claim was reported in a CIA paper seven months later entitled, "Iraqi Support for Terrorism."

The January 2003 updated version of the report added a key point: "That the detainee was not in a position to know if any training had taken place."

The document obtained by CNN was provided recently to Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who have been pressing for an investigation into the ways in which the Bush administration used intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war.

In January and February 2003 President Bush and Powell each made dramatic assertions that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and argued for military action to prevent Baghdad from providing its suspected stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

In his speech to the U.N. Security Council, Powell did not name al-Libi, but described the U.S. source as a senior terrorist operative.

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources," Powell told the world body.

He said the al Qaeda operative told interrogators that al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were not capable of manufacturing chemical or biological agents.

"Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq," Powell said. "None of this should come as a surprise to any of us. Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam [Hussein] for decades."

No such stockpiles turned up after the U.S.-led invasion, and the independent commission investigating al Qaeda's 2001 attacks on New York and Washington found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the two entities.

Al-Libi recanted in January 2004 a number of claims he made while in custody, according to the CIA document. His reversal prompted the CIA to order all prior intelligence suggesting Iraq trained al Qaeda personnel in chemical and biological warfare "recalled and re-issued" in February 2004.

A U.S. intelligence official said the information from al-Libi used by the president and Powell in early 2003 was "the best we had at the time" and that the CIA informed policymakers as soon as he recanted his claims.

Another official, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, told reporters Thursday that the intelligence used to support the war had been developed over a "long period of time."

"We all looked at the same intelligence, and most people -- on the intelligence -- reached the same conclusion," Hadley said, referring to the present and previous administrations and to Congress.

A senior administration official said Bush would "directly take on some of these false attacks by some Democratic leaders" during a Veterans Day speech Friday.

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A U.S. intelligence official said the information from al-Libi used by the president and Powell in early 2003 was "the best we had at the time" and that the CIA informed policymakers as soon as he recanted his claims.

They should move that up about 12 paragraphs...

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In February 2003, al-Libi, a senior military trainer for al Qaeda in Afghanistan

Anyone else find taking in intel from a guy named 'Al-libi' a little suspect? :laugh: They should have brought in his co-conspirator

Al-Foolahcrap, or his German girlfriend 'Frau Delant'.

I've never publicly acknowledged it, but I do believe we seriously screwed the pooch on the Intel side during this period (not to state the obvious). One thing I think critics ignore though is the fact that when your intel operations are seriously degraded, its not JUST that the intel you do obtain is highly suspect, but also that theres a great deal of intelligence info out there that you're not getting. In other words, the fact that much of our intel from that period turns out to be nebulous at best proves only one thing - our intel-gathering capabilities sucked during that period. It does not prove that theres no supporting intel.

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A few observations:

1. People in the intelligence field have to distill information from all kinds of often contradictory sources. A report surfacing saying that one source might be questionable should fall into the "so what" category.

2. The Wilson/Plame saga, plus the way this report is being used, makes me wonder if there wasn't a political motivation in writing it. Sad, if true.

3. No mention of the report's classification or lack thereof. Was it classified? If so, will there be an investigation into its release?

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TORTURE the new liberal talking point.

What is it with the un patriotic side of the US?

The military is either child killers, napalming Fallujah (wacko liberal blog) or torturing every terrorist err innocent person in our custody.

Liberals always think we need to be liked by the UN who have pure motives and dont have an agenda unlike us who are destroying the world with aerosal cans and driving Navigators

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TORTURE the new liberal talking point.

What is it with the un patriotic side of the US?

The military is either child killers, napalming Fallujah (wacko liberal blog) or torturing every terrorist err innocent person in our custody.

Liberals always think we need to be liked by the UN who have pure motives and dont have an agenda unlike us who are destroying the world with aerosal cans and driving Navigators

Wrong.

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Anyone else find taking in intel from a guy named 'Al-libi' a little suspect? :laugh: They should have brought in his co-conspirator

Al-Foolahcrap, or his German girlfriend 'Frau Delant'.

I've never publicly acknowledged it, but I do believe we seriously screwed the pooch on the Intel side during this period (not to state the obvious). One thing I think critics ignore though is the fact that when your intel operations are seriously degraded, its not JUST that the intel you do obtain is highly suspect, but also that theres a great deal of intelligence info out there that you're not getting. In other words, the fact that much of our intel from that period turns out to be nebulous at best proves only one thing - our intel-gathering capabilities sucked during that period. It does not prove that theres no supporting intel.

Good point Tarhog, but the question I have is what was given to the press AFTER they knew it was false. I really am not going to blame people for bad intel, but what I will blame people for is using bad intel AFTER they knew it was false in order to bolster their case.

I think this guy shows the problems with torturing people, ie. you get what the tortured THINKS you want to hear, thus it destroys the integ gathering ability.

The intel that really pisses me off is the yellowcake, because they already knew it was false from three different sources, and the Chalibi info he was giving us. He was a known politician, and liar, yet we took his people and put their stories front and center stage. This on bothers me, but not as much as the others. There is a reason why when people are coierced into confessions it is inadmissible in court, this is a good example of why that is.

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Anyone else find taking in intel from a guy named 'Al-libi' a little suspect? :laugh: They should have brought in his co-conspirator

Al-Foolahcrap, or his German girlfriend 'Frau Delant'.

Didn't OJ's Al-libi fall apart under examination, too?

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Still think torture works Bear?

Al-Libi recanted in January 2004 a number of claims he made while in custody, according to the CIA document. His reversal prompted the CIA to order all prior intelligence suggesting Iraq trained al Qaeda personnel in chemical and biological warfare "recalled and re-issued" in February 2004.

I couldnt tell you in this case Chomerics, It seems to me that based on the above he wasn't.

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From the horses mouth...

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/13jul20041400/www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/s108-301/sec12.pdf

Read it all. It's not conclusive either way but only a fool would assume there was no danger of a threat.

The Deputy Director of the Office of

Terrorism Analysis in CTC commented that:

.. .when we started this we had a backdrop that was pretty solid on saying

Saddarn is willing to deal with bad guys and has been doing it for a long time. And he has an intelligence service that has targeted us in the past. We had some information about support for Islamist groups connected with the Arab-Israeli conflict. I think this is significant because I do believe there is a worthwhile debate to have on the ideology of Saddam, but I would also say, coming at this from an aggressiveterrorist perspective, we did have a baseline to tell us that he had tried to work on relationship with groups we would identify as Islamist . . . .

You hear that Chom?

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From the horses mouth...

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/13jul20041400/www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/s108-301/sec12.pdf

Read it all. It's not conclusive either way but only a fool would assume there was no danger of a threat.

The Deputy Director of the Office of

Terrorism Analysis in CTC commented that:

.. .when we started this we had a backdrop that was pretty solid on saying

Saddarn is willing to deal with bad guys and has been doing it for a long time. And he has an intelligence service that has targeted us in the past. We had some information about support for Islamist groups connected with the Arab-Israeli conflict. I think this is significant because I do believe there is a worthwhile debate to have on the ideology of Saddam, but I would also say, coming at this from an aggressiveterrorist perspective, we did have a baseline to tell us that he had tried to work on relationship with groups we would identify as Islamist . . . .

You hear that Chom?

Y'know, I seem to remember someone (I keep forgetting his name. Ritter? The same "lefty whacko" who was saying, publicly, that Saddam had destroyed his WMDs 10 years ago, and that the weapons inspectors were finding evidence to support that.), claiming that after the attempted assasination of Bush 1, Clinton retaliated by sending cruise missiles into Saddam's intel HQ, and telling Saddam that if he ever tried to do anything in the US again, then the next step was going to be attacks while all of his security people were in the building. He claimed that after that attack, Saddam continued to support terrorists against Israel, but that there was evidence that he stopped supporting any operations against the US.

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