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CIA Accuser Story More Than One Year Old

Our one party media is at it again. They are recycling a minor story that got no traction whatsoever this time last year to once again go after Bush.

It’s the same pattern. A disgruntled (fired) former official goes to the media, tells enough to get a book deal. Then, a year later, when the book is out, he goes on CBS’s "60 Minutes" to promote it — and of course attack the President.

Then the DNC media report it all as news.

Here’s the latest example from the DNC’s Associated Press:

Book-hawking Tyler Drumheller repeats his long since refuted claims for publicity and money.

CIA warned Bush of no weapons in Iraq: retired official

Sat Apr 22, 8:39 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Central Intelligence Agency warned US President George W. Bush before the Iraq war that it had reliable information the government of Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, a retired CIA operative disclosed.

But the operative, Tyler Drumheller, said top White House officials simply brushed off the warning, saying they were "no longer interested" in intelligence and that the policy toward Iraq had been already set.

The disclosure, made in an interview with CBS’s "60 Minutes" program due to be broadcast late Sunday, adds to earlier accusations that the Bush administration used intelligence selectively as it built its case for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam’s regime…

However, Drumheller, who was a top CIA liaison officer in Europe before the war, insisted Bush had been explicitly warned well before an invasion order was given that the United States may not find the suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The information about the absence of the suspected weapons in Iraq, according to excerpts of Drumheller’s remarks, was clandestinely provided to the United States by former Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri, who doubled as a covert intelligence agent for Western services.

Then-CIA director George Tenet immediately delivered this report to Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other high-ranking administration officials, but the information was dismissed, Drumheller said.

"The group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested," the former CIA official recalled. "And we said ‘Well, what about the intel?’ And they said ‘Well, this isn’t about intel anymore. This is about regime change.’"

Drumheller said the White House did not want any additional data from Sabri because, as he pointed out, "the policy was set."

"The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy," he argued…

Drumheller admitted that Sabri was just one source, but pointed out that the administration would not shy away from other single-source information if it suited its policy goals.

"They certainly took information that came from single sources on the yellowcake story and on several other stories with no corroboration at all," he complained

Drumheller, who retired from the agency last year, is the second high-ranking ex-CIA official to criticize the administration’s use of intelligence in months leading up to the war…

Here is a very similar story from last year, published on Saturday, April 2, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times:

‘Curveball’ Debacle Reignites CIA Feud

The former agency chief and his top deputy deny reports that they were told a key source for Iraqi intelligence was deemed unreliable.

by Bob Drogin and Greg Miller

WASHINGTON — A bitter feud erupted Friday over claims by a presidential commission that top CIA officials apparently ignored warnings in late 2002 and early 2003 that an informant code-named "Curveball" — the chief source of prewar U.S. intelligence about Iraqi germ weapons — was unreliable.

Former CIA Director George J. Tenet and his chief deputy, John E. McLaughlin, furiously denied that they had been told not to trust Curveball, an Iraqi refugee in Germany who ultimately was proved a fraud.

But the CIA’s former operations chief and one of his top lieutenants insisted in interviews that debates had raged inside the CIA about Curveball’s credibility, even as then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell vouched for the defector’s claims in a crucial address to the United Nations Security Council on the eve of war…

Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA European Division, said he and other senior officials in his office — the unit that oversees spying in Europe — had issued repeated warnings about Curveball’s accounts.

"Everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening," said Drumheller, who retired in November after 25 years at the CIA. He said he never met personally with Tenet, but "did talk to McLaughlin and everybody else."

Drumheller scoffed at claims by Tenet and McLauglin that they were unaware of concerns about Curveball’s credibility. He said he was disappointed that the two former CIA leaders would resort to a "bureaucratic defense" that they never got a formal memo expressing doubts about the defector.

"They can say whatever they want," Drumheller said. "They know what the truth is …. I did not lie." Drumheller said the CIA had "lots of documentation" to show suspicions about Curveball were disseminated widely within the agency. He said they included warnings to McLaughlin’s office and to the Weapons Intelligence Non Proliferation and Arms Control Center, known as WINPAC, the group responsible for many of the flawed prewar assessments on Iraq.

"Believe me, there are literally inches and inches of documentation" including "dozens and dozens of e-mails and memos and things like that detailing meetings" where officials sharply questioned Curveball’s credibility, Drumheller said.

The CIA’s internal battles over Curveball were revealed Thursday in a scathing report by a presidential commission examining U.S. intelligence on Iraq and other key targets…

The CIA’s assessment that Iraq had secret arsenals of deadly bioweapons, the report said, "was based largely on reporting from a single human source," Curveball, even though his reporting "came into question in late 2002." The failure to communicate serious concerns about him to Powell and other policy makers "represents a serious failure of management and leadership," the commission concluded.

The case began when Curveball, a chemical engineer from Baghdad, first showed up in a German refugee camp in 1998. By early 2000, he was working with Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, known as the BND, in exchange for an immigration card.

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which handled Iraqi refugees in Germany, furnished the engineer with the Curveball code-name. He soon began providing technical drawings and detailed information indicating that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein secretly had built lethal germ factories on trains and trucks.

But the DIA never sought to check his background or information. Instead, the commission found, the DIA saw itself as a conduit for German intelligence, and funneled nearly 100 Curveball reports to the CIA between January 2000 and September 2001.

Except for a brief meeting between Curveball and a DIA medical technician in May 2000, German authorities refused to let U.S. intelligence officials interview their source until March 2004, a year after the war began…

The Curveball expert from WINPAC angrily argued back and apparently prevailed, the commission found. An official summary of the meeting later "played down" any doubts and said Curveball had been judged credible "after an exhaustive review."

Several weeks later, Drumheller discovered that his warning had been ignored when his executive officer brought him an advance copy of Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the U.N.

Drumheller said he then arranged a meeting in McLaughlin’s office and described what the German operative had told him over lunch several months earlier. After listening for 10 minutes, Drumheller said, McLaughlin responded by saying, "Oh my! I hope that’s not true."

McLaughlin, who retired in January after 32 years at the CIA, said he did not recall the meeting and denied that Drumheller told him Curveball might be a fabricator.

"I have absolutely no recall of such a discussion. None," McLaughlin said in a statement Friday. "Such a meeting does not appear on my calendar, nor was this view transmitted to me in writing." He said he was "at a loss" to explain the conflicting accounts

Drumheller, meanwhile, said he never heard from McLaughlin or anyone else to confirm that Curveball’s material had been deleted from Powell’s speech. So when Tenet called him at home on another matter the night before Powell was to speak in New York, Drumheller said he raised the Curveball case.

"I gave him the phone number for the guy he wanted," Drumheller recalled. "Then it struck me, ‘I better say something.’ I said, ‘You know, boss, there’s problems with that case.’ He says, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m exhausted. Don’t worry about it.’ "

In a seven-page statement, Tenet sharply challenged much of that account.

Tenet called it "stunning and deeply disturbing" that the German warning in 2002 to Drumheller, "if true, was never brought forward to me by anyone." He said he first heard doubts about Curveball after the war, and only learned of the German warning from the presidential commission last month.

A series of formal warnings should have been "immediately and formally disseminated" after the lunch to alert intelligence and policy officials about the concern, Tenet said.

"No such reports were disseminated, nor do I recall the issue being brought to my attention," he said.

Tenet also disputed Drumheller’s account of their phone conversation the night before Powell’s speech. Tenet said he has "absolutely no recollection" of the CIA official warning him about Curveball.

"It is simply wrong for anyone to intimate that I was at any point in time put on notice that Curveball was probably a fabricator," he said.

For further information, check out Wikipedia’s entry for " Curveball."

To be fair, Drumheller has now added another character to the cast: Naji Sabri, who was Iraq’s foreign minister under Saddam. But even this isn’t quite news as even MSNBC covered it more than a month ago:

Iraqi diplomat gave U.S. prewar WMD details

Saddam’s foreign minister told CIA the truth, so why didn’t agency listen?
By Aram Roston, Lisa Myers
& the NBC Investigative Unit
Updated: 7:36 p.m. ET March 20, 2006

In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Hussein’s government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence…

So why is our one party media re-masticating this story one more time?

Well, to sell Mr. Drumheller’s book and to bolster his book-promoting appearance on CBS’s "Sixty Minutes." And of course to bash Bush:

On the Brink: How the White House Has Compromised American Intelligence (Hardcover)

by Tyler Drumheller, Elaine Monaghan

Product Details

Note that Amazon recommends the NYT’s James Risen’s book as a perfect companion purchase:

Better Together

Buy this book with State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A… by James Risen today!

State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration

Total List Price: $51.95
Buy Together Today: $32.73

Never mind that this is not a recent disclosure. Never mind that it has been vehemently denied by everyone else involved. Never mind that the person making the claim has been terminated by the agency, has a book out and gave money to the Democrats:

VIENNA, VA 22182

  05/11/2005 300.00 25020253365

VIENNA, VA 22182

  06/09/2005 500.00 25020320459

Also, one has to wonder if Drumheller knew about Sabri before the start of the war, how come he didn’t bring him up in his interviews with the press last year?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, April 22nd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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