PNAC the OSP and Iraqs WMDs Essay

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Intelligence in War: Iraq, WMDS, and the Rise of the Policymakers



In 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell testified before the UN Security Council that Iraq had mobile weapons labs and was in possession of uranium, which was being used in the country's WMD program. His testimony was based on faulty U.S. and British Intelligence: the invasion of Iraq that followed found no evidence of such labs or of such a program. Joe Wilson, husband of CIA operations officer Valerie Plame and former U.S. Ambassador to Gabon penned an op-ed for The New York Times entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa" -- a piece that described how neither he nor Ambassador Owens-Kirkpatrick had uncovered any evidence of Niger uranium sales to Iraq.[footnoteRef:1] Both Owens-Kirkpatrick and Wilson, moreover, had submitted briefings to the CIA to this point. Nonetheless, the CIA along with British intelligence stood by as the narrative that Iraq had purchased uranium took hold in the Oval Office. Both British and American intelligence were wrong about Iraq's WMD program in 2003. This paper will explain why, where, when and how the two countries' intelligence agencies were wrong. [1: Joe Wilson, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," The New York Times, 6 July 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/what-i-didn-t-find-in-africa.html]



Donald Rumsfeld's usage of phrases like "known knowns," "known unknowns," and "unknown unknowns"[footnoteRef:2] set the stage for Powell's testimony on mobile weapons but did little to hide the State Department's known connections to the neo-conservative think-tank and now-defunct Project for the New American Century headed by William Kristol (Weekly Standard editor) and Robert Kagan. This group along with Richard Perle -- chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee -- promoted the narrative that Hussein was a threat to the Middle East in their policy papers and their initiatives.[footnoteRef:3] Kagan and Kristol had publicly called for regime change in Iraq since the late 1990s in their own New York Times op-eds.[footnoteRef:4] Kristol, Kagan, Bolton, Perle, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and many other members of PNAC would sign the blueprint for the war on terror in the 2000 policy paper entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," which identified the possibility of a "new Pearl Harbor" serving as a catalyst for "American military preeminence."[footnoteRef:5] [2: David Logan, "Known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns and the propagation of scientific enquiry," Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 60, no. 3 (March 2009), 712. https://academic.oup.com/jxb/article/60/3/712/453685/Known-knowns-known-unknowns-unknown-unknowns-and] [3: David Rose, "Neo Culpa," Vanity Fair (December 2006) http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2006/12/neocons200612] [4: William Kristol, Robert Kagan, "Bombing Iraq Isn't Enough," The New York Times, 30 Jan 1998. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/30/opinion/bombing-iraq-isn-t-enough.html] [5: Donald Kagan, Gary Schmitt, Thomas Donnelly, Rebuilding America's Defenses (DC: Project for the New American Century, 2000), 54.]



Kristol, Perle and others of the PNAC group would go on to sign a letter to President Bush in the wake of 9/11 urging a "war on international terrorism."[footnoteRef:6] In effect, this group was supplanting policy for intelligence -- in other words, the initiative for action in Iraq would be based on a pre-fabricated policy of the PNAC rather than on actual factual intelligence. The "facts" that Powell used did not come from CIA or MI6 officers; and officers within the CIA and MI6 supported the invasion policy of PNAC to the extent that they did little to counter the prevailing opinion. The PNAC members, who aligned themselves with the policy paper of Israel's Oded Yinon, set the agenda and their accomplices (i.e., Libby in the State Department) fabricated the evidence.[footnoteRef:7] As James Pfiffner and Mark Phythian observe, "The CIA and MI6, both of whom realized that policymakers were expressing an unwarranted alarmist stance toward Iraq, stood by mutely for the most part."[footnoteRef:8] Stone and Kuznick report, moreover, that the false claims of a secret meeting in Prague "between the [9/11] hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence official" were trumpeted by Vice-President Dick Cheney and Lewis Libby (Cheney's national security advisor) -- "even though [CIA Director George] Tenet had proved that Atta was in the United States at the time of the alleged meeting.
"[footnoteRef:9] Tenet was not the only one to attempt to put these rumors to rest. [6: John Davis. Presidential Policies and the Road to the Second Iraq War. (VT: Ashgate, 2006), 51. ] [7: Israel Shahak, Oded Yinon, The Zionist Plan for the Middle East (Association of Arab-American University Graduates), 1-26; Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (NY: Gallery Books, 2012), 514.] [8: James Pfiffner, Mark Phythian, Intelligence and National Security Policymaking on Iraq: British and American Perspectives (TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2008), 178.] [9: Oliver Stone, Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States (NY: Gallery Books, 2012), 514.]



As the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace showed, "the 731 inspections conducted by UNMOVIC [United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission] between November 27, 2002, and March 18, 2003, did not reveal any 'evidence of the continuation or resumption of programs of weapons of mass destruction or significant quantities of proscribed items.'"[footnoteRef:10] However, the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October 2002 on Iraq's WMDs (prepared just prior to UNMOVIC's inspections) held that Iraq had mobile weapons laboratories -- the kind that Powell would later cite as justification for invasion. Yet, the October 2002 NIE did not correspond with "prior intelligence assessments"[footnoteRef:11] -- or with the UNMOVIC assessment conducted shortly thereafter. The NIE was offering "intelligence" that no other parties could corroborate. The United States Select Senate Committee on Intelligence noted that the NIE purported that "Iraq continues to circumvent and undermine UN sanctions to enhance its biotechnical self-sufficiency, while advancing its BW program when possible."[footnoteRef:12] The source of this information was "codenamed CURVE BALL" -- the same source who claimed Iraq used mobile weapons labs.[footnoteRef:13] [10: Joseph Cirincione, Jessica Mathews, George Perkovich, Alexis Orton, "WMD in Iraq: Evidence and implications" (DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2004), 35.] [11: Joseph Cirincione, Jessica Mathews, George Perkovich, Alexis Orton, "WMD in Iraq: Evidence and implications" (DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2004), 7.] [12: "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq." United States Select Senate Committee on Intelligence (9 July 2004), 179. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB234/SSCI_phaseI_excerpt.pdf] [13: "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq." United States Select Senate Committee on Intelligence (9 July 2004), 181. http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB234/SSCI_phaseI_excerpt.pdf]



The Carnegie Endowment concluded in its 2004 report that "the dramatic shift between prior intelligence assessments and the October 2002 NIE" indicated an undercurrent of pressure brought into the intelligence community from outside sources.[footnoteRef:14] This undercurrent was identified by the Carnegie Endowment as "an independent intelligence entity at the Pentagon" -- a reference to the Office of Special Plans (OSP), headed by Abram Shulsky, Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy Secretary of Defense) and Douglas Feith (Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy).[footnoteRef:15] Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersch noted by May 2003 that the OSP had "brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community."[footnoteRef:16] Compiling data from other intelligence agencies, including information given them by the Iraqi National Congress (itself headed by Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi), the OSP not only produced the analysis that would….....

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Bibliography

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Cirincione, Joseph; Mathews, Jessica; Perkovich, George; Orton, Alexis. WMD in Iraq: Evidence and implications. DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2004.

Davis, John. Presidential Policies and the Road to the Second Iraq War. VT: Ashgate, 2006.

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Kristol, William; Kagan, Robert. "Bombing Iraq Isn't Enough," The New York Times, 30 Jan 1998. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/30/opinion/bombing-iraq-isn-t-enough.html

Kwiatkowski, Karen. "The New Pentagon Papers," Salon, 10 Mar 2004. http://www.salon.com/2004/03/10/osp_moveon/

Logan, David. "Known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns and the propagation of scientific enquiry," Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 60, no. 3 (March 2009), 712-714. https://academic.oup.com/jxb/article/60/3/712/453685/Known-knowns-known-unknowns-unknown-unknowns-and

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Pfiffner, James; Phythian, Mark. Intelligence and National Security Policymaking on Iraq: British and American Perspectives. TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2008.

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Rose, David. "Neo Culpa," Vanity Fair (December 2006) http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2006/12/neocons200612

Shahak, Israel; Yinon, Oded. The Zionist Plan for the Middle East. MI: Association of Arab-American University Graduates

Stone, Oliver; Kuznick, Peter. The Untold History of the United States. NY: Gallery Books, 2012.

Wemple, Erik. "Judith Millter tries, and ultimately fails, to defend her flawed Iraq reporting." The Washington Post, 9 Apr 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-reporters-defense-of-her-flawed-reporting/2015/04/09/5bf93f14-de15-11e4-a500-1c5bb1d8ff6a_story.html?utm_term=.d4b259628596

Wilson, Joe. "What I Didn't Find in Africa," The New York Times, 6 July 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/what-i-didn-t-find-in-africa.html

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