Intelligence provided by US former undersecretary of defense
Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq
included "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" that
supported the political views of senior administration officials
rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community,
according to a report by the Pentagon's inspector general.
Feith's office "was predisposed to finding a significant
relationship between Iraq and al Qaida," The Washington Post
reported Friday, citing portions of the report released
An unclassified summary of the full document is scheduled for
release Friday in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services
The inspector general concluded that Feith's assessment in 2002
that Iraq and al Qaida had a "mature symbiotic relationship" was
not fully supported by available intelligence but was nonetheless
used by policymakers, the Post reported.
At the time of Feith's reporting, the Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) had concluded only that there was an "evolving"
association, "based on sources of varying reliability," the
Feith, who was defense policy chief before leaving the
government in 2005, was one of the key contributors to the
administration's rationale for war. His intelligence activities,
authorized by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his
deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, and coordinated with Vice President
Cheney's office, stemmed from an administration belief that the CIA
was underplaying evidence of then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's
ties with al Qaida.
In interviews with Pentagon investigators, the summary document
said, Feith insisted that his activities did not constitute
intelligence and that "even if they were, (they) would be
appropriate given that they were responding to direction from the
Deputy Secretary of Defense."
The summary document confirmed a range of accusations that
Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, had leveled against Feith's office, alleging inaccurate
Feith's office, it said, drew on "both reliable and unreliable"
intelligence reports in 2002 to produce a link between al Qaida and
Iraq "that was much stronger than that assessed by the IC
(Intelligence Community) and more in accord with the policy views
of senior officials in the Administration."
It stated that the office produced intelligence assessments
"inconsistent" with the US intelligence community consensus,
calling those actions "inappropriate" because the assessments
purported to be "intelligence products" but were far more
conclusive than the consensus view.
(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2007)