Archive for November 6th, 2005

Bush & Powell, Al Qaeda Collaborators

I’m seeing a lot of buzz about this NYT article here:

A top member of Al Qaeda in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.

The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, “was intentionally misleading the debriefers’’ in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons.

The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility. Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as “credible’’ evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.’’


In outlining reasons for its skepticism, the D.I.A. report noted that Mr. Libi’s claims lacked specific details about the Iraqis involved, the illicit weapons used and the location where the training was to have taken place.

“It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers,’’ the February 2002 report said. “Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.’’Mr. Powell relied heavily on accounts provided by Mr. Libi for his speech to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, saying that he was tracing “the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al Qaeda.’’

The prevailing reaction that I’ve seen to this story is that it proves that the administration knowingly misled the public about the intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq, which is certainly true. But what’s even more disturbing to me is that this article very strongly suggests that al Qaeda wanted us to invade Iraq (presumably because they knew it would become precisely the terrorist recruiting, breeding, and training ground that it now is), the administration knew that they wanted us to invade Iraq, and they went ahead and did it anyway. I for one would be very very wary of doing anything that al Qaeda wanted me to do, but BushCo. was positively enthusiastic about it.

So, so far, we have evidence that the invasion served the interests of Israel, Iran, and now al Qaeda, but no evidence at all that it served the interests of the United States. BushCo. got played by everybody, and by extension, so did we.

3 comments November 6th, 2005 at 01:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Terrorism,War

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