"A declassified report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that U.S. intelligence analysts were strongly disputing the alleged links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda while senior Bush administration officials were publicly asserting those links to justify invading Iraq.
Far from aligning himself with al-Qaeda and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Hussein repeatedly rebuffed al-Qaeda’s overtures and tried to capture Zarqawi, the report said. Tariq Aziz, the detained former deputy prime minister, has told the FBI that Hussein "only expressed negative sentiments about [Osama] bin Laden."" Washpost
The report released yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) makes a lot of things clear, but the thing it makes the most clear is that a number of people in Washington and in New York who facilitated the acceptance of "sources" proffered by the Iraqi National Congress (INC – Chalabi) were either liars or fools.
I would nominate the former DCI Woolsey for membership in one or the other of these groups. Woolsey has been a member, perhaps founding member would be the right term, of the neocon group since he and Richard Perle were senate staffers together many years ago. How this neocon came to be nominated for the post of head of the intelligence community (DCI) by Clinton is an interesting illustration of the way the neocons pursued power by inserting themselves into all sides of party competition. According to the report, Woolsey repeatedly "sponsored" sources provided by Iraqi exiles and facilitated their more or less forced acceptance by the agencies, especially DIA. He did this by calling the Directors of the agencies and vouching for these people. Such a procedure ensured that the HUMINT operators and analysts who had to deal with these phonies were at a profound disadvantage since they had to justify to their top bosses their opinion that Woolsey was "pushing" bogus information. Before the war, I was on a news panel TV show with Woolsey during which he made a point of saying that whatever I said "did not matter." He was right. What he said is what mattered.
Then there is Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard. Hayes has written repeatedly on the subject of the Saddam/Al-Qa’ida (AQ) connection. First he wrote an article in that magazine, then wrote a book about it. In both he asserts that a long string of unconfirmed reports found in the files of the IC about possible connections must prove an organizational and operational relationship because there are so many of them. This reasoning is on the basis of the old saw, "where there is smoke, there must be fire." Any fool knows that a multiplicity of bad information proves nothing if none of the elements is correct. The IC receives masses of reports every day. They are all appraised for the reliability of their sources and the veracity of the information. All of Hayes’ tidbits, gleaned from IC holdings, had been judged BAD by IC analysts but he cited them anyway as proof. Why did he do this? Like all the neocons, Hayes is a man of superior intellect and education who "knows" the truth about the world, tyrants, the destiny of mankind, etc. He knows what the truth is so therefore he knew "proof" when he saw it. I nominate him for "fool."
The media should "examine" their collective conscience, if they have such. (Sorry for the RC terminology there) CNN in particular "sold" these two men to the world. Fox, I will not speak of. It would be pointless.
The Republican Party and the Bush Administration, even people in the VP’s office, should consider "dumping" these men, and many others, before they are dragged down with them.