Tuesday, November 22, 2005

From the Circular File 

"The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight. But any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped or fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false."
-- Dick Cheney, speaking at the AEI, Monday, November 21, 2005

A piece of prewar information that was never distorted, hyped or fabricated, because it was immediately shitcanned along with a bunch of used tissues, some week-old sports pages, a crumpled bill for brush-clearing equipment, and another discarded PDB with the title "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.":
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources.

The September 21, 2001, briefing was prepared at the request of the president, who was eager in the days following the terrorist attacks to learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

You have just been reading the great Murray Waas, courtesy of our venerated colleague Avedon Carol, and you should certainly read the rest; you will find, among other delightful nuggets, several new insights into the Plame affair, as discussed here by Matt Yglesias.

(A tip of the imperial diadem to Our Man Schwarz for the Cheney quote.)

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