February 10, 2007

Oh My Good Golly Gosh! The Intelligence Was "Fixed"!

Who wouldhave guessed?
The Defense Department's inspector general says the Pentagon undercut the intelligence community in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon insisted in briefings to the White House that there was a clear relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, when there wasn't.

Former Pentagon policy chief Douglas J. Feith took "inappropriate" action by advancing those briefings, but his actions were not illegal, Gimble said.

Feith called the report "bizarre" and subjective.

The White House said President George W. Bush has revamped the U.S. spy community to avoid any repeat of bad intelligence affecting policy decisions.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin called the report a "devastating condemnation."
Let the "partisan" bickering begin!
Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the committee, called the report “a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities” carried out by Douglas J. Feith, who was under secretary of defense for policy just before the invasion of Iraq early in 2003.

“Well, unfortunately, the damage has already been done,” Mr. Levin said. “Senior administration officials used the twisted intelligence produced by the Feith office in making the case for the Iraq war.”

But Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican on the committee, immediately disagreed, setting the stage for a series of partisan exchanges. “First of all, you can read the same report and come up with different conclusions, which is quite obvious and will be obvious,” Mr. Inhofe said, adding that the report cannot easily be interpreted as “a devastating condemnation,” as Mr. Levin asserted.
Well, of course, you can look at a duck and call it a chicken, too. If you are so inclined.

The Pentagon’s acting inspector general's report said Feith did not break the law. But surely misleading the USA into war is an act that can be considered "high crimes and misdemeanors"? TPMMuckraker has a closer look at the legal issues here. The key seems to be whether this was Intelligence or Policy Work?

Whether it is legal or not, it is clearly repulsive. The GOP, and Bush, should be loudly damning Feith's Office of Special Plans, but they aren't. And why not? Hmmn...?

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