[Marxism] US officials knew in May Iraq possessed no WMD
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Feb 4 06:42:48 MST 2004
Al Jazeerah is currently banned in Iraq by puppet "Iraqi" officials.
What ever could have possessed them to do that?
US Officials Knew In May Iraq Possessed No WMD
Feb 4, 2004
Blair Comes Under Pressure As Americans Admit It Was Widely Known That
Saddam Had No Chemical Arsenal
Peter Beaumont, Gaby Hinsliff and Paul Harris
February 1, 2004 The Observer
Senior American officials concluded at the beginning of last May that
there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, The Observer
has learnt. Intelligence sources, policy makers and weapons inspectors
familiar with the details of the hunt for WMD told The Observer it was
widely known that Iraq had no WMD within three weeks of Baghdad
falling, despite the assertions of senior Bush administration figures
and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
The new revelation came as White House sources indicated that
President George Bush was considering establishing an investigation
into the intelligence, despite rejecting an inquiry the previous day.
The disclosure that US military survey teams sent to visit suspected
sites of WMD, and intelligence interviews with Iraqi scientists and
officials, had concluded so quickly that no major weapons or
facilities would be found is certain to produce serious new
embarrassment on both sides of the Atlantic.
According to the time-line provided by the US sources, it would mean
that Number 10 would have been aware of the US doubts that weapons
would be found before the outbreak of the feud between Number 10 and
Andrew Gilligan, and before the exposure of Dr David Kelly as
Gilligan's source for his claims that the September dossier had been
'sexed up' to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
It would suggest too that some officials who defended the 24 September
dossier in evidence before the Hutton inquiry did so in the knowledge
that the pre-war intelligence was probably wrong. Indeed, comments
from a senior Washington official first casting serious doubt on the
existence of WMD were put to Downing Street by The Observer - and
rejected - as early as 3 May.
Among those interviewed by The Observer was a very senior US
intelligence official serving during the war against Iraq with an
intimate knowledge of the search for Iraq's WMD.
'We had enough evidence at the beginning of May to start asking,
"where did we go wrong?",' he said last week. 'We had already made the
judgment that something very wrong had happened [in May] and our
confidence was shaken to its foundations.'
The source, a career intelligence official who spoke on condition of
anonymity, was also scathing about the massive scale of the failure of
intelligence over Iraq both in the US and among its foreign allies -
alleging that the intelligence community had effectively suppressed
dissenting views and intelligence.
The claim is confirmed by other sources, as well as figures like David
Albright, a former UN nuclear inspector with close contacts in both
the world of weapons inspection and intelligence.
'It was known in May,' Albright said last week, 'that no one was going
to find large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The only
people who did not know that fact was the public.'
The new disclosure follows the claims last week by Dr David Kay, the
former head of the Iraq Survey Group, a hawk who believed Iraq
retained prohibited weapons, that he now believed that the alleged
stockpiles 'had never existed'.
It also comes as the House and Senate intelligence committees, which
have been hearing evidence on why no weapons have been found, prepare
to publish their reports this month.
Although it is expected that they will conclude that there was no
political interference in the intelligence process, as some critics
have alleged, the reports are expected to be damning about the quality
of the intelligence that led to war.
The revelation is likely to lead to increased pressure both in Britain
and the United States for an inquiry into the intelligence marshalled
in favour of war.
In recent weeks Bush has come under concerted pressure over the issue,
with Democratic presidential candidates accusing both him and
Vice-President Dick Cheney of manipulating pre-war intelligence to
make the case for invasion.
White House sources said that President Bush is considering the
formation of an independent panel to investigate pre-war intelligence
on Iraq that he used to justify going to war.
Aides are discussing it with congressional officials, sources familiar
with the discussions said last night.
Bush had rejected an independent investigation amid White House fears
of a political witch-hunt by Democrats hoping to unseat him in
elections this year, but began in recent days to reconsider the
'I want the American people to know that I, too, want to know the
facts,' Bush told reporters on Friday.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a range of
options for such a panel was being explored and that an agreement was
hoped for soon.
The White House would not comment.
Arizona Republican Senator John McCain broke party ranks to join
Democratic demands for an independent probe into how US intelligence
got it wrong, given the failure by searchers to find weapons of mass
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