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’ “ At the same briefing, Rumsfeld said that he had already been informed that there was “solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members.” If Special Plans was going to search for new intelligence on Iraq, the most obvious source was defectors with firsthand knowledge. C., an umbrella organization for diverse groups opposed to Saddam, is constantly seeking out Iraqi defectors. and gave the Pentagon’s pro-war leadership added leverage in its constant disputes with the State Department. Their relationship deepened after the Bush Administration took office, and Chalabi’s ties extended to others in the Administration, including Rumsfeld; Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy; and I. “I don’t remember resumption of chemical-weapons production before the Gulf War. “No underground facilities for chemical or biological production or storage were found so far,” he said. Another defector, who was identified only as a retired lieutenant general in the Iraqi intelligence service, said that in 2000 he witnessed Arab students being given lessons in hijacking on a Boeing 707 parked at an Iraqi training camp near the town of Salman Pak, south of Baghdad. station chief and a former military intelligence analyst said that the camp near Salman Pak had been built not for terrorism training but for counter-terrorism training. “He says, ‘No, that’s not what I said,’ “ the former intelligence official told me. sent out a piece of paper saying that this information was incorrect. Of course, it didn’t.” The former intelligence official went on, “One of the reasons I left was my sense that they were using the intelligence from the C. Dogmatic, as if they were on a mission from God.” He added, “If it doesn’t fit their theory, they don’t want to accept it.” Shulsky’s work has deep theoretical underpinnings. There was a close personal bond, too, between Chalabi and Wolfowitz and Perle, dating back many years. He has always denied any wrongdoing.) “You had to treat them with suspicion,” another former Middle East station chief said of Chalabi’s people. They brought with them crates of documents containing detailed information about Iraqi efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction—much of which was unknown to the U. inspection teams that had been on the job since 1991—and were interviewed at length by the U. The Kamels’ information became a major element in the Bush Administration’s campaign to convince the public of the failure of the U. “We gave instructions not to produce chemical weapons,” Kamel explained later in the debriefing. In some cases, these stories were disputed in analyses by the C. N.’s chief weapons inspector, noted that his teams had physically examined the hospital and other sites with the help of ground-penetrating radar equipment. In an interview on October 14, 2001, conducted jointly by the and “Frontline,” the public-television program, Sabah Khodada, an Iraqi Army captain, said that the September 11th operation “was conducted by people who were trained by Saddam,” and that Iraq had a program to instruct terrorists in the art of hijacking. agents went to interview the man with their own interpreter. “I remember wondering whether this one would leak and correct the earlier, invalid leak. They were so crazed and so far out and so difficult to reason with—to the point of being bizarre.Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of counter-terrorism operations and analysis at the C. A., worked with Shulsky at a Washington think tank after his retirement. “For many years, there has been a bias in the intelligence community” against defectors, the memorandum said. task-force leader who is a consultant to the Bush Administration said that many analysts in the C. “Bait them into Iraq with weapons of mass destruction. The more time elapses, the more people are going to wonder about this, but I don’t think it will sway U. Iraq is a big country, as the Administration has repeatedly pointed out in recent weeks.

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A February poll showed that seventy-two per cent of Americans believed it was likely that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th attacks, although no definitive evidence of such a connection has been presented. At a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing in March, 2001, he said, “Does Saddam now have weapons of mass destruction? Indeed, it suggests that deception is the norm in political life, and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception.” Robert Pippin, the chairman of the Committee on Social Thought at Chicago and a critic of Strauss, told me, “Strauss believed that good statesmen have powers of judgment and must rely on an inner circle. On April 22nd, Hans Blix, hours before he asked the U. Security Council to send his team back to Iraq, told the BBC, “I think it’s been one of the disturbing elements that so much of the intelligence on which the capitals built their case seemed to have been so shaky.” There is little self-doubt or second-guessing in the Pentagon over the failure to immediately find the weapons.

A former Bush Administration intelligence official recalled a case in which Chalabi’s group, working with the Pentagon, produced a defector from Iraq who was interviewed overseas by an agent from the D. Strauss, a refugee from Nazi Germany who arrived in the United States in 1937, was trained in the history of political philosophy, and became one of the foremost conservative émigré scholars.

“That people in government have to be discreet in what they say publicly is so obvious—‘If I tell you the truth I can’t but help the enemy.’ “ But there is nothing in Strauss’s work, he added, that “favors preëmptive action. If you could have got rid of Hitler in the nineteen-thirties, who’s not going to be in favor of that? Saddam had enough time to move them.” There were suggestions from the Pentagon that Saddam might be shipping weapons over the border to Syria.

You don’t need Strauss to reach that conclusion.” Some former intelligence officials believe that Shulsky and his superiors were captives of their own convictions, and were merely deceiving themselves. One internal Pentagon memorandum went so far as to suggest that terrorism experts in the government and outside it had deliberately “downplayed or sought to disprove” the link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. are convinced that the Chalabi group’s defector reports on weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda have produced little of value, but said that the agency “is not fighting it.” He said that the D. “It’s bait and switch,” the former high-level intelligence official said. I sometimes have to pinch myself when friends or family ask with incredulity about the lack of W. D., and remind myself that the average person has the idea that there are mountains of the stuff over there, ready to be tripped over. Everyone loves to be on the winning side.” Weapons may yet be found.

When not dancing, teens gather at local clubs to eat and talk. In Finland, as many as 30 teens may attend a movie together.

Couples often go to dinner parties, barbecues, or the beach. When of age, most boys and girls date in large groups, going out together to weekend dance parties.They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal—a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. The director of the Special Plans operation is Abram Shulsky, a scholarly expert in the works of the political philosopher Leo Strauss. “Shulsky and Luti won the policy debate,” the adviser said. There’s no mystery why they won—because they were more effective in making their argument. Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons in the past. How Strauss’s views might be applied to the intelligence-gathering process is less immediately obvious. The Defense Department and the Office of the Vice-President write their own pieces, based on their own ideology. expert who spent the past decade immersed in Iraqi-exile affairs said of the Special Plans people. They’ve convinced themselves that they’re on the side of angels, and everybody else in the government is a fool.” More than a year’s worth of increasingly bitter debate over the value and integrity of the Special Plans intelligence came to a halt in March, when President Bush authorized the war against Iraq. The Pentagon flew Chalabi and hundreds of his supporters, heavily armed, into Iraq, amid tight security, over angry objections from the State Department. His advocates in the Pentagon point out that he is not only a Shiite, like the majority of Iraqis, but also, as one scholar put it, “a completely Westernized businessman” (he emigrated to England with his parents in 1958, when he was a boy), which is one reason the State Department doubts whether he can gain support among Iraqis.In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. Shulsky has been quietly working on intelligence and foreign-policy issues for three decades; he was on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Com-mittee in the early nineteen-eighties and served in the Pentagon under Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle during the Reagan Administration, after which he joined the Rand Corporation. “They beat ’em—they cleaned up against State and the C. At some point, he assembled thousands of chemical warheads, along with biological weapons, and made a serious attempt to build a nuclear-weapons program. As it happens, Shulsky himself explored that question in a 1999 essay, written with Gary Schmitt, entitled “Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean denotes the highest form of rationality. may even be said to resemble, however faintly, the George Smiley of John le Carré’s novels.” Echoing one of Strauss’s major themes, Shulsky and Schmitt criticize America’s intelligence community for its failure to appreciate the duplicitous nature of the regimes it deals with, its susceptibility to social-science notions of proof, and its inability to cope with deliberate concealment. officers and analysts described the agency as increasingly demoralized. We collect so much stuff that you can find anything you want.” “They see themselves as outsiders, ” a former C. After a few weeks of fighting, Saddam Hussein’s regime collapsed, leaving American forces to declare victory against a backdrop of disorder and uncertainty about the country’s future. Chalabi is not the only point of contention, however. (In 1992, Chalabi was convicted in absentia of bank fraud in Jordan. It’s a political unit—not an intelligence agency.” In August, 1995, General Hussein Kamel, who was in charge of Iraq’s weapons program, defected to Jordan, with his brother, Colonel Saddam Kamel. In 1996, Saddam Hussein lured the brothers back with a promise of forgiveness, and then had them killed. Last October, in a speech in Cincinnati, the President cited the Kamel defections as the moment when Saddam’s regime “was forced to admit that it had produced more than thirty thousand liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. “You have an important role in Iraq,” Kamel said, according to the record, which was assembled from notes taken by Smidovich. You are very effective in Iraq.” When Smidovich noted that the U. teams had not found “any traces of destruction,” Kamel responded, “Yes, it was done before you came in.” He also said that Iraq had destroyed its arsenal of warheads. Despite their importance, he wrote, “it is difficult to be certain that they are genuine. The resulting articles had dramatic accounts of advances in weapons of mass destruction or told of ties to terrorist groups. Haideri was apparently a source for Secretary of State Colin Powell’s claim, in his presentation to the United Nations Security Council on February 5th, that the United States had “firsthand descriptions” of mobile factories capable of producing vast quantities of biological weapons. In a statement to the Security Council in March, on the eve of war, Hans Blix, the U. began to publicize the stories of defectors who claimed that they had information connecting Iraq to the attacks. rebuttal, like the original report, was classified. They didn’t like the intelligence they were getting, and so they brought in people to write the stuff. Middle East station chief told me, essentially because the agency had doubts about Chalabi’s integrity. has a track record of manipulating information because it has an agenda. The interview, on August 22, 1995,was conducted by Rolf Ekeus, then the executive chairman of the U. inspection teams, and two of his senior associates—Nikita Smidovich and Maurizio Zifferaro. Hamza settled in the United States with the help of the I. On April 26th, according to the , he returned to Iraq as a member of a group of exiles designated by the Pentagon to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure. The advantages and disadvantages of relying on defectors has been a perennial source of dispute within the American intelligence community—as Shulsky himself noted in a 1991 textbook on intelligence that he co-authored. With the Pentagon’s support, Chalabi’s group worked to put defectors with compelling stories in touch with reporters in the United States and Europe. One, he said, was underneath a hospital in Baghdad. teams that returned to Iraq last winter were unable to verify any of al-Haideri’s claims.These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. The Office of Special Plans is overseen by Under-Secretary of Defense William Luti, a retired Navy captain. What has been in dispute is how much of that capacity, if any, survived the 1991 war and the years of United Nations inspections, no-fly zones, and sanctions that followed. was unable to perceive the reality of the situation in Iraq. that color the way it sees data.” The goal of Special Plans, he said, was “to put the data under the microscope to reveal what the intelligence community can’t see. In the essay, Shulsky and Schmitt write that Strauss’s “gentleness, his ability to concentrate on detail, his consequent success in looking below the surface and reading between the lines, and his seeming unworldliness . The agency’s analysts, Shulsky and Schmitt argue, “were generally reluctant throughout the Cold War to believe that they could be deceived about any critical question by the Soviet Union or other Communist states. and Special Plans over the validity of intelligence.) In interviews, former C. “George knows he’s being beaten up,” one former officer said of George Tenet, the C. The failure, as of last week, to find weapons of mass destruction in places where the Pentagon’s sources confidently predicted they would be found has reanimated the debate on the quality of the office’s intelligence.

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