Tenet admits to ‘efforts’ by the Bush Administration to fake Iraq evidence
August 5, 2008 1 Comment
So there’s a book out that claims that somebody in the Bush Administration faked a letter to show a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. In the mad scramble of denials that have followed, former CIA Director George Tenet makes an interesting dodge:
Tenet, in a statement distributed by the White House, also issued a denial about the supposedly fake letter. “There was no such order from the White House to me nor, to the best of my knowledge, was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort,” he said.
“It is well established that, at my direction, CIA resisted efforts on the part of some in the administration to paint a picture of Iraqi-al-Qaida connections that went beyond the evidence,” Tenet said. “The notion that I would suddenly reverse our stance and have created and planted false evidence that was contrary to our own beliefs is ridiculous.”
The White House is distributing a denial that says it is “well established” that ‘some people in the Bush Administration made efforts to pressure the CIA to distort the evidence.’
Wait, what? People in the Bush Administration were leading efforts to get the CIA to create and plant false evidence?
And Tenet wants us to know that in that ridiculous context, it would have been “ridiculous” for him to have agreed to create and plant false evidence?
So, um… how about that letter?
Suskind also quotes John Maquire, who oversaw the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group, about the alleged fake letter. “When it was discussed with me, I just thought it was incredible, a box-checking of all outstanding issues in one letter, from one guy,” Suskind quotes Maquire as saying.
It is incredible, now that you mention it…
Update: From The American Conservative on August 7, 2008:
My source also notes that Dick Cheney, who was behind the forgery, hated and mistrusted the Agency and would not have used it for such a sensitive assignment. Instead, he went to Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans and asked them to do the job. The Pentagon has its own false documents center, primarily used to produce fake papers for Delta Force and other special ops officers traveling under cover as businessmen.
It was Feith’s office that produced the letter and then surfaced it to the media in Iraq. Unlike the Agency, the Pentagon had no restrictions on it regarding the production of false information to mislead the public. Indeed, one might argue that Doug Feith’s office specialized in such activity.