Tuesday, November 08, 2005

US intel on Iraq-Qaeda ties 'intentionally misleading'

WASHINGTON, (AFP) - US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.



Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.

These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.

"This newly declassified information provides additional, dramatic evidence that the administrations pre-war statements were deceptive," said Democrat Carl Levin, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who pushed for partial declassification of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document.

The report provides a critical analysis of information provided by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an Islamic radical and bin Laden associate, who served as senior military trainer at a key Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before it was destroyed by US forces in late 2001.

In captivity, al-Libi initially told his DIA debriefers that Al-Qaeda operatives had received training from Iraq in manufacturing poisons and deadly chemical agents.

But the DIA, according to its assessment, did not find the information credible.

US military intelligence officers concluded that al-Libi lacked "specific details on the Iraqis involved, the... materials associated with the assistance and the location where training occurred," the report said.

"It is possible," the document went on to say, "he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers."

The DIA suggested al-Libi, who had been under interrogation for several weeks, "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."

Just the same, president Bush insisted during an October 2002 trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, that his administration had learned that "Iraq has trained Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."

He repeated the same charge in February 2003.

The administration's drumbeat over alleged Iraq-Qaeda ties reached a crescendo that same month when Powell went before the United Nations to accuse Iraq of hiding tons of chemical and biological weapons and nurturing nuclear ambitions.

His speech, according to congressional officials, even contained a direct reference to al-Libi's testimony, albeit not his name.

"I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al-Qaeda," insisted the secretary of state, who now says he regrets voicing many of the charges contained in that speech.

Well i know that some people will never accept that they were taken to war on a pack of lies so i doubt this report will convince anyone else .Those who have the facts are already convinced amd those that have the rhetoric never will be .
But still the question should be asked , If the Bush administration was being told in February 2002 that the info they had was intentionally misleading and they ignored that advice (from their own military) , who is out that that still thinks this war was about a genuine failure of intelligence and not just a pure and simple lie ?

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