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November 05, 2005

"It is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers"

Those words are contained in a just-released Defense Intelligence Agency document dating from February 2002 that the NY Times has gotten its hands on.  The "individual" is Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al Qaeda operative who was then and still is in American custody. 

Why does this matter a lot?  It matters because this guy's fabrications were trumpeted loudly, and repeatedly, as evidence that Iraq was training al Qaeda in the use of various weapons - that is, as a significant justification for the Iraq war.  And the timing is critical here: as of February 2002, the administration knew that this guy was probably lying.  Yet in October 2002, February 2003, and no doubt on other occasions, President Bush, then-Secretary of State Powell, and others parroted the lies to drum up support for the war.

It's the best evidence yet that the administration intentionally misled the public in the runup to the Iraq war.  They knew that Saddam, reprehensible though he may have been, was not a serious threat to the United States, and they lied about it.  As a result, over 2,000 Americans, and countless Iraqis, are dead.  How utterly, totally, depressing.

Posted by David at 08:45 PM in National | Permalink


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What's sad about this is that it doesn't really seem like it's so shocking. I mean this only is likely to fuel the GOP claim that George Tenet dropped the ball in giving the administration the full extent of intel that was at his disposal. (Maybe they can give him another medal.)

Obviously it's important that we knew we had bad intel. Sadly what we don't know is whether anyone in the White House knew it was bad. We can all assume that someone did: certainly you'd think Wolfowitz and Rummy knew at the very least. At least you'd hope so.

Posted by: Qane | Nov 5, 2005 11:48:18 PM

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