Quote For The Day

"The question should be put to the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) as to why this wasn't known before the false information was put into (a key intelligence estimate) sent to Congress, the president's State of the Union address and my February 5 presentation to the U.N." - Colin Powell.

CNN then notes the following:

Although the CIA was not given a chance to interview Alwan directly, and German officials had questioned some aspects of Alwan's story, his assertions were included in the material provided to Powell for his U.N. presentation.

Tyler Drumheller, who was the CIA's chief of European operations at the time, agrees that the "Curveball" information was not well-enough vetted. He says he had reservations at the time about relying on it, but that when he asked for direct CIA access to Alwan through the German intelligence service, he was rebuffed. A representative of Germany's intelligence service declined to comment.

Drumheller claims top Bush administration officials were too willing to believe Alwan's story "because that was the only piece of intelligence they had that really fit what the administration was looking at."

The question becomes: how did someone the Germans doubted and the CIA never had direct access to become the source for a factual statement by the then-secretary of state? If this was "the only piece of intelligence they had that really fit what the administration was looking at," and they knew it wasn't solid, why did they use it? Unless they had already decided to topple Saddam regardless of the evidence?

This gets to the core of the nagging question: was the Iraq war waged in good faith? We still don't really know, but put this in the evidence pile that suggests it wasn't.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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