Veteran intelligence pros on Bush\’s case for war

August 1, 2003 at 2:43 pm
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Dated March 15, this is pretty old news. Still, I thought it worth
forwarding, because it shows a couple of interesting things. One, veteran
intelligence professionals called out the administration’s lies before the war,
and well before the media did, though it got no play here in the days before the
war (this is from a German TV program). Two, it’s clear that people who know
what’s really up in the world–intelligence professionals past and present–have
put their careers, their personal advancement, even their lives on the line, in
order to, as the article
puts it, “put principle and conscience before obedience and personal
advancement.” These are not small stakes. The fact that these men and women are
willing to do it highlights the great risk at which our administration has put
our country, and indeed, the world.




—–Original Message—–

March 15, 2003

Memorandum for Confused
Cooking Intelligence for War
by Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity

Two members of Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
appeared on German TV’s equivalent of a 60
Minutesa on March 6 to
discuss the use/abuse of intelligence to support the
administration’s case for attacking Iraq. Ray McGovern and David

MacMichael were among the former CIA officers interviewed by Channel

One’s Panorama, whose interviewers were asking questions seldom heard
American media. As a service to confused Americans, we have
translated the
German portions of the program and append the complete

would note that the interviews were taped before the latest
regarding US intelligence came to light–the forged
letters earlier adduced
as proof that Iraq was seeking to obtain
uranium from Africa for its nuclear
program, for example. Our
embarrassment is actually too painful to dwell at
any length on other
recent indignities:

UN inspector ElBarade’s
preliminary finding that Iraq has no nuclear
weapons program, the gaffes
made by Secretary of State Colin Powell
in his debut as imagery analyst
before the UN Security Council, and
his praising as “exquisite;” and a
graduate school paper masquerading
as top secret intelligence from the UK,
to name just a few.

Embarrassments of this kind receive little play among
those American
TV commentators who are helping the administration beat the
drums for
war. Such stories usually hit the cutting room floor. Similarly,
airtime in this country is provided to veterans of the US

Intelligence Community, unless some can be ferreted out who march to
same drumbeat. Some of us have had the extraordinary experience
of been
erased at the last minute from the op-ed page of the Wall
Street Journal and
invited-then-disinvited to/from TV programs like
Jim Lehrer and Fox

Ordinarily, we would not mind being marginalized; we are used to
But our country seems to be just days away from a fateful decision to

go to war. And many of our former colleagues and successors are
facing a
dilemma all too familiar to intelligence veterans–the
difficult choices
that must be faced when the demands of good
conscience butt up against
deeply ingrained attitudes concerning
secrecy, misguided notions of what is
true patriotism, and
understandable reluctance to put careers–and
mortgages–on the line.

In the face of impending catastrophe we feel a
responsibility to
speak out–if only to remind the present generation of
officers that they do have choices and that in the longer run
consciences will rest easier if they face squarely into those

As the transcript below indicates, the situation in the media is

quite different in Europe, where TV is open and hospitable to various

viewpoints, pointed questions, and rigorous analysis. We have no

illusions that American TV would host a no-holds-barred discussion of
intelligence performance regarding Iraq–or regarding September
11, for that
matter. We do sense, however, that there are millions
who crave more than
the mantras sung by the administration and,
sadly, now echoed by the
Director of Central Intelligence. It is
primarily for them that we make
available below the Panorama

We appeal to those still
working inside the Intelligence Community to
consider turning state’s
evidence. Daniel Ellsberg, one who knows,
recently noted that truth telling,
in time, can stop a misguided
march to war. Ellsberg and our former CIA
colleague, Sam Adams, spoke
out courageously to expose the lies of the
Johnson administration and
to put the brakes on the war in Vietnam–but,
sadly, not in time. Sam
is now deceased, but Ellsberg recently appealed to
insiders at
intelligence agencies “to tell the truth and save many, many
We Veterans Intelligence Professionals for Sanity join in that

We are encouraged to learn that just yesterday a
long-time Australian
intelligence officer resigned in protest against the
handling of US
intelligence and his government’s support of US policy on
Iraq. So it
is indeed possible for intelligence officers to join Foreign
counterparts like John Brady Kiesling and John H. Brown who already

put principle and conscience before obedience and personal
in choosing to resign from the Department of State.
Further encouragement is
taken from FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley’s
courageous decision to call
public attention to the severe threat to
domestic security that would
inevitably come in the wake of a US
attack on Iraq–a threat involving
critical dangers that have been
soft-pedaled by the administration. Ms.
Rowley is less than two years
short of eligibility for

Richard Beske, San Diego
Kathleen McGrath Christison,
Santa Fe
William Christison, Santa Fe Patrick Eddington, Alexandria, VA

Raymond McGovern, Arlington, VA
Steering Committee Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity

The VIPS can be reached at: vips@c…

Panorama German TV (ARD/Erstes Programm)
8:15 PM, March
6, 2003

Cooking the Books:
Falsifying the Evidence: How Bush is
Mobilizing for War

Moderator: Anja Reschke

Welcome to

While many Americans listen submissively to George Bush’s
regarding plans for war against Iraq, he is having a rather
time with his own government workers, particularly his

The Central Intelligence Agency is responsible
for collecting and
analyzing evidence relating to Saddam Hussein’s weapons
of mass
destruction and his relationship to al-Qaeda. But CIA analysts

apparently are not doing their job to the satisfaction of the
Indeed, as Bush keeps coming up with new claims about
Iraq’s weapons and its
plans for terrorist attacks, one thing is
certain: The information is not
coming from the CIA. Here is a
president who no longer trusts his own
intelligence service.

The Media Prepare for War on American

Every day the media warn about Saddam Hussein’s chemical and

biological weapons. American audiences also hear again and again:
and bin Laden work together. The only hope’war!

The continual propaganda
is effective. Virtually everyone feels
threatened by Saddam, even as they go
about their daily lives.
Indeed, the majority of Americans believe that
Saddam Hussein was
personally behind the attacks of September 11,

We asked Americans the question: Did Saddam Hussein play a role in

the 9/11 attacks?

Man: Saddam Hussein and all the rest of those
terrorists played a
role in a lot of things. People forget in this country
what happened
in New York. Let’s not forget that.

Woman: I hope that
Saddam Hussein wasn’t the one behind the 9/11
attacks, but I believe he was

Woman: I think he probably had a lot to do with it. I don’t know
he was actually the spearhead for it, but I think he supported

This complete nonsense is the result of a successful disinformation


Ray McGovern, veteran of a 27-year CIA career, for several
provided daily briefings to the president’s most senior advisers,

including George Bush senior.

McGovern: The day after 9/11 Dick
Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld
were saying, ‘Now let’s go get Iraq.’ And so
the push was on to find
evidence that Iraq had some sort of connection with
9/11. And I am
very sad to say that our president himself has in a
subliminal way
always made that connection. And that is why most
them’tend to believe that Iraq did have something to do with
while the intelligence community is convinced it did

President Bush is still leaning on the CIA to provide the kind of

evidence that will support his plans for war against Iraq. The
is still lacking, but this has not slowed the president down.

Saddam and
the Terrorists

In a letter dated October 7, 2002, CIA Director George
Tenet told the
US Senate that Iraq was drawing a line short of conducting
attacks with either conventional or chemical/biological weapons

against the United States. The CIA took the position that the

probability was low that Iraq would either initiate an attack with

weapons of mass destruction or give them to terrorists.

On the very
same day, October 7, President Bush went before the
cameras and turned the
content of Tenet’s letter on its head. Bush
claimed, Iraq could decide on
any given day to provide a biological
or chemical weapon to a terrorist
group or individual terrorists.

McGovern: The ethic at CIA reflects the
inscription on the entrance
wall, which says, ‘You shall know the truth, and
the truth shall set
you free.’ And we’that is, CIA analysts’took that very
seriously. And
so, if we do not see evidence of a tie between al-Qaeda and
Iraq, for
example, we will not write that.

The Alleged Threat From
Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

As we have indicated, the CIA
Director told Bush and his national
security advisers that the probability
that Saddam will launch such
an attacka*|in the foreseeable futurea*|would
be low. But
simultaneously President Bush claimed in public the exact
He told the American people, The risk is simply too great that he

will use them.

Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer who spent years
working on
covert operations in Iraq, is astonished.

Baer: There is
no imminent threat from Iraq, all right?! If he does
have missiles, which he
probably does, they are buried in the ground,
and it is going to take months
to dig them up. We’ve seen no evidence
of VX gas, or Bubonic plague, or
anthrax, or any of this stuff.

McGovern: The logical conclusion is that
the information has been
doctored, that the information has been cooked to
the recipe of
policy and this’for an intelligence outfit’is anathema, beyond
pale. This is something that renders it superfluous to even have an

intelligence agency.

Saddam and Nuclear Weapons

According to
President Bush, the Iraqi dictator will be able to
produce his own nuclear
weapons in the very near future.

George Bush: We could wait and hope that
Saddam does not give weapons
to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to
blackmail the world.
But I’m convinced that is a hope against all

McGovern: President Bush has said the Iraqis could produce a
weapon perhaps in another year. Now the formal intelligence estimate

on that is that they could not possibly do that until the end of the

decade. One wonders where the president gets his information. I
don’t fault him as much for being dishonest as for being
naA’ve to think
that he can go to Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and expect
to get a straight answer
on such things.

Former CIA Officer David MacMichael: I think the
administration is
indeed pressuring the intelligence system, whether it be
the CIA,
FBI, or anyone else, to come up with the strongest possible
to indicate there is a genuine and immediate threat of attack by

chemical, biological, or other weapons of mass destruction by
groups’and in particular those associated with al-Qaeda,
and to link Iraq to

Bush and Rumsfeld have been putting the pressure on the CIA for

months. Still, CIA analysts would not let themselves be pressured
twisting the intelligence to support the ‘line’ dictated from
above. And so,
the Defense Secretary in the meantime has created his
own secret
intelligence group as a rival to the CIA.

Baer: The CIA said, ‘Listen; we
don’t have enough information to
indict Saddam on terrorism charges.’ And
Rumsfeld, Secretary of
Defense, said, ‘That’s not good enough. Give us the
raw databases and
we’ll make our own decisions. And they rounded up these
people who
are non-professionals’a couple of ex-lawyers, consultants, who
rallied around and said, Well, let’s take this, let’s take that,

let’s take this and we can indict.

Rumsfeld’s private intelligence
group put its shoulder to the wheel
and provided a doubting world with
alleged evidence that Saddam is
producing nuclear weapons. Armed with this
new evidence, UN
inspectors in the last several weeks were sent off to
confirm it.
They could not.

Former UN Inspector David Albright: Often
what you see in the Bush
administration is that they don’t care. I mean, you
say, ‘This isn’t
true.’ They say, ‘Oh, Okay,’ and then they repeat it again
Or they just say, ‘Don’t form a conclusion. Keep working on it.’
so there are several cases where the inspectors are just expected to

keep working on it, and yet they think it’s garbage.

Intelligence needs to be as pure as a virgin. When
intelligence is pimped,
as is now being done by the White House and
the Defense Department, it loses
its virginity. And, as is well
known, nothing is quite the same again once
you have lost your

President Bush has almost reached his
goal: war against Saddam
Hussein. And the American media are beating the
drums. For example,
Fox TV, America’s most watched news channel and its very
popular star-
anchor Bill O’Reilly, who stirs up millions of

O’Reilly: When the war begins, this is what we expect from every

American: Either you support the military or you shut up. Americans
our foreign allies who come out against us are enemies of the


Baiting, intimidation, disinformation’with results that are

A question put to US citizens: Do you think that Saddam
Hussein may
attack America in the near future with weapons of mass

Woman: If we don’t watch out, it just might

Man: Absolutely. I think they will attack the United States with

chemical weapons.

Woman: I hear that Iraq has a lot of nuclear
weapons that could hit
the West Coast and it is very worrisome to

Worrisome indeed. Clearly, it is feelings and opinions’not facts’that

are determining support in the US for war or peace.

_____________________ Reporters: John Goetz and Volker Steinhoff
Karen Menge


If you’re following the party line you don’t
have to document anything; you can say anything you feel like…  that’s
one of the privileges you get for obedience.  On
the other hand, if you’re critical of received opinion, you have to document
every phrase”.  – Noam Chomsky


“There is no flag large enough to cover
the shame of killing innocent people”.  –  Howard Zinn


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