Presidential briefing post-9/11 on Iraq and al-Qaida

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Presidential briefing post-9/11 on Iraq and al-Qaida

Postby Qutb » Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:23 am

Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel <br>By Murray Waas, special to <!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="" target="top">National Journal</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br>© National Journal Group Inc.<br>Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005 <br><br>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. <br><br>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. <br><br>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. <br><br>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. <br><br>Much of the contents of the September 21 PDB were later incorporated, albeit in a slightly different form, into a lengthier CIA analysis examining not only Al Qaeda's contacts with Iraq, but also Iraq's support for international terrorism. Although the CIA found scant evidence of collaboration between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the agency reported that it had long since established that Iraq had previously supported the notorious Abu Nidal terrorist organization, and had provided tens of millions of dollars and logistical support to Palestinian groups, including payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. <br><br>The highly classified CIA assessment was distributed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the president's national security adviser and deputy national security adviser, the secretaries and undersecretaries of State and Defense, and various other senior Bush administration policy makers, according to government records. <br><br>The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the White House for the CIA assessment, the PDB of September 21, 2001, and dozens of other PDBs as part of the committee's ongoing investigation into whether the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence information in the run-up to war with Iraq. The Bush administration has refused to turn over these documents. <br><br>Indeed, the existence of the September 21 PDB was not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee until the summer of 2004, according to congressional sources. Both Republicans and Democrats requested then that it be turned over. The administration has refused to provide it, even on a classified basis, and won't say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists. <br><br>On November 18, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said he planned to attach an amendment to the fiscal 2006 intelligence authorization bill that would require the Bush administration to give the Senate and House intelligence committees copies of PDBs for a three-year period. After Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on language for the amendment, Kennedy said he would delay final action on the matter until Congress returns in December. <br><br>The conclusions drawn in the lengthier CIA assessment-which has also been denied to the committee-were strikingly similar to those provided to President Bush in the September 21 PDB, according to records and sources. In the four years since Bush received the briefing, according to highly placed government officials, little evidence has come to light to contradict the CIA's original conclusion that no collaborative relationship existed between Iraq and Al Qaeda. <br><br>"What the President was told on September 21," said one former high-level official, "was consistent with everything he has been told since-that the evidence was just not there." <br><br>In arguing their case for war with Iraq, the president and vice president said after the September 11 attacks that Al Qaeda and Iraq had significant ties, and they cited the possibility that Iraq might share chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons with Al Qaeda for a terrorist attack against the United States. <br><br>Democrats in Congress, as well as other critics of the Bush administration, charge that Bush and Cheney misrepresented and distorted intelligence information to bolster their case for war with Iraq. The president and vice president have insisted that they unknowingly relied on faulty and erroneous intelligence, provided mostly by the CIA. <br><br>The new information on the September 21 PDB and the subsequent CIA analysis bears on the question of what the CIA told the president and how the administration used that information as it made its case for war with Iraq. <br><br>The central rationale for going to war against Iraq, of course, was that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons, and that he was pursuing an aggressive program to build nuclear weapons. Despite those claims, no weapons were ever discovered after the war, either by United Nations inspectors or by U.S. military authorities. <br><br>Much of the blame for the incorrect information in statements made by the president and other senior administration officials regarding the weapons-of-mass-destruction issue has fallen on the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. <br><br>-----------<br><br>Questions for hardcore MIHOPers: if the administration/intelligence agencies planned and orchestrated 9/11 and invented al-Qaida, and wanted a war with Iraq, why wouldn't they use some Iraqi patsies instead of Saudi Arabian and Egyptian ones with no links to Iraq? Why would they have to dispatch people to Europe to try and find a connection, only to come back with nothing more substantial than Atta's alleged meeting in Prague? Why did Bush order the briefing, and why would they have to brief Bush on the non-existence of such ties if Bush was in on the planning of 9/11? If they could demolish the towers with explosives and cover it up, surely they could find some Iraqi patsies, or create fake Iraqi identities for them, to take the blame? <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Presidential briefing post-9/11 on Iraq and al-Qaida

Postby NewKid » Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:04 am

This is all speculation, but Iraq probably had little to do as a motivating factor for 911 if it was MIHOP. And I doubt the "administration/intelligence agencies" all need to be on the same page there. 911 served enough different objectives that Iraq wouldn't need to be a major rationale. (And I also doubt members of the administration would have been personally involved in picking who the supposed hijackers were going to be.) <br><br>In fact, I've seen it argued somewhere that instead of Iraq being the motivation for 911, 911 was the motivation for Iraq -- essentially that one of the main functions of letting the neocons go to Iraq without any real obstacle was that it served as a great distraction from 911 investigation. The vigorous debate on the war and the WMD issue that subsequently ensued helped distract from and add credibility to the official 911 story. The institutional left, nurtured by ex-CIA types like Robert Baer and Ray McGovern, could be all over exposing the administration's lies on Iraq while at the same time completely rejecting 911 issues. 'Gee, if Noam Chomsky buys the official story, then I guess it must be true' kind of thinking. If the hijackers had been Iraqis, then it would be much harder to have as big of a fight with the administration over Iraq. WMD or no WMD, it would have been seen as legitimate revenge just like Afghanistan. <br><br>So Iraq could just be part of a larger plan to set Bush and the neocons up. Sure, they needed a group of Republican thugs to get in office to do this stuff (think how much shit the rightwingers would have given Gore if he had pulled half the police state shit Bush did after 911), but at some point they will outlive their usefulness. In other words, engineer 911, let them invade Iraq, and then pull their pants down and slit their throats after they've served their purpose. Then Kerry or Hillary can ride in in 2008 and save the day and restore the system. Enough bad cop, and now time for some good cop. <br><br>Don't know if I buy that either, but there are just too many possibilities to speculate. After all, anything's possible. Including the official story. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>NewKid</A> at: 11/23/05 4:38 am<br></i>
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Re: Presidential briefing post-9/11 on Iraq and al-Qaida

Postby AlicetheCurious » Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:02 am

Don't forget, Qutb, that the patsies that WERE used were all nationals of countries that are closely allied with the US, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan. Many of them had been lured to the West with promises of scholarships and professional training, often as part of an exchange program with the US, which included training at US military academies.<br><br>Also, "al Qaeda" (the base) had already been built up by the US and its allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan -- it already existed as an international, 'secret' organization, with the added advantage that not only did the US have meticulous records and documentation about al Qaeda and its members, and experience in using it effectively in Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere, it remained under the total control of its makers. <br><br>I think the puppetmasters were not unduly concerned that Americans would be able to distinguish between ragheads (they were right, eh?), and the advantages of using a network that is totally under their control outweighed the possible advantage of using Iraqi patsies. For one thing, it would have been much harder to orchestrate government to government exchange programs with, say, Iraqi pilots. At least some of the patsies had to be really unsuspecting, in some cases, I'm sure they thought they were working on a top secret project for the CIA (with the compliance of their own government) that would be rewarded generously (they were right about the first part, at least...)<br><br>In any case, the September 11 attacks and the invasion and occupation of Iraq differ in one major respect: the 911 attacks were primarily intended to justify the dismantling of civil liberties and other freedoms guaranteed by the American constitution. The traumatic effects of the attacks served as a cover, allowing the conspirators to push through a fascist and oppressive agenda that would have been unthinkable in other circumstances.<br><br>Because of the truly revolutionary and fundamental changes that have been sometimes openly, sometimes furtively, pushed through in the US as a direct result of the 9-11 attacks, it is essential for the conspirators that no credible 'debunking' of the official story be allowed to penetrate mainstream discourse.<br><br>On the other hand, despite the enormous human and material cost of the Iraq invasion, the bottom line is that Americans are used to being left out of foreign policy decisions, and are less likely to question the wisdom or morality of their leaders when it comes to the US role abroad. Many Americans seem prepared to leave such discussions to the politicians and other 'experts', readily admitting that they are ignorant when it comes to foreign policy. <br><br>In any case, the damage is done, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube -- Iraq is destroyed, the US corporate bloodsuckers have sunk their teeth deep into its economy, Israel has its oil, so the conspirators have nothing to lose by permitting some "criticism" or "debate" now that it's too late. As long as such arguments dance a delicate dance between the potholes of criminal accountability, which is not a problem in the new America, where protests against even a criminal, murderous president are considered loony fringe activities.<br><br>Besides, all this "debate" about Iraq serves to prop up the illusion that the people's opinion matters at all, and gives an artificial veneer of legitimacy to the US 'elected' government. <p></p><i></i>
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