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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Thursday | August 28, 2003

U.S. Suspects It Received False Iraq Arms Tips

By Steve Gilliard

Intelligence officials are reexamining data used in justifying the war. They say Hussein's regime may have sent bogus defectors.

By Bob Drogin, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON Frustrated at the failure to find Saddam Hussein's suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have launched a major effort to determine if they were victims of bogus Iraqi defectors who planted disinformation to mislead the West before the war.

The goal, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, "is to see if false information was put out there and got into legitimate channels and we were totally duped on it." He added, "We're reinterviewing all our sources of information on this. This is the entire intelligence community, not just the U.S."

The far-reaching review was started after a political firestorm erupted this summer over revelations that President Bush's claim in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had sought to import uranium from Niger was based on forged documents.

Although senior CIA officials insist that defectors were only partly responsible for the intelligence that triggered the decision to invade Iraq in March, other intelligence officials now fear that key portions of the prewar information may have been flawed. The issue raises fresh doubts as to whether illicit weapons will be found in Iraq.

Is anyone really expecting a different end to this story?

Saddam wasn't stupid. I don't care how many times Ken Pollack argued he was an irrational actor, he wasn't. He acted in ways we didn't expect, but that didn't mean it was irrational.

It is more likely his generals and scientists lied about the weapons and he didn't want to hear the truth anyway. Whatever programs there were didn't exist in any usable form and it certainly wasn't weapons deployed to attack US forces.

Then Chalabi got in the mix and the lies exploded. Now, we've got over 300 dead and Iraq sliding rapidly towards total anarchy and civil war. And no WMD even close to being found.

Posted August 28, 2003 06:24 PM | Comments (97)


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