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February 12, 2004

Eating Your Own Garbage

Bush didn't lie.

He just had faulty intelligence.

And where did that faulty intelligence come from?

Apparently from the Iraqi exiles who fed the intelligence services false information:

In the aftermath of the occupation of Iraq and the apparent failure of the United States to find conclusive evidence of unconventional weapons in Iraq, the role of exile groups in providing prewar intelligence has come under increasing scrutiny...Since occupation of Iraq, many officials in the American intelligence community have said that much of the information provided to Washington by the Iraqi National Congress before the war was suspect, and some have questioned whether the group provided disinformation to the United States. A review of prewar information by the Defense Intelligence Agency has already concluded that much of the information it received from Iraqi defectors, including information provided by the I.N.C., was of little or no use.
Kind of stupid to rely on overzealous exiles who hated Saddam enough to lie to the US government, but that absolves the Bush administration of running a disinformation campaign, right?

Except the exile efforts were being funded by the US government with an aim to influencing public opinion.

"Defectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed," Entifadh Qanbar, then the director of the Iraqi National Congress's Washington office, wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee staff. The memo, dated June 26, said "the results are reported through the I.N.C. newspaper (Al Mutamar), the Arabic and Western media and to appropriate governmental, nongovernmental and international agencies."...

The document says information that it describes only as "ICP product" meaning information provided by the Iraqi National Congress was cited in more than 100 articles in major English-language news outlets worldwide from October 2001 to May 2002. The news outlets included The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, CNN and Fox News Channel, as well as a number of others.

One State Department official complained that, during the time the information collection program was a State Department responsibility, the exile group seemed more interested in providing information to the press than to the department.

"Generally, they were going right to the media with their stuff," the official said in an interview on Wednesday.

So the US government was funding these lies, pumping them into the US media, then using these lies to justify the war. This was hardly unbiased reliance on intelligence but a deliberate manipulation of public opinion on the public dime to promote the war with those lies.

Posted by Nathan at February 12, 2004 08:13 AM