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Puzzling Evidence - 2003

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  • Puzzling Evidence - 2003

    I saved this from a AP/Reuters blurb dated January 24, 2003 and recovered it recently from my archives. This is the entire clipping.

    The difficulty in presenting their case against Iraq, officials said, is that the evidence of its weapons stockpiles is heavily inferential and circumstantial, drawn from scores if not hundreds or thousands of tiny clues pieced together by the C.I.A.

    This evidence, some officials said, is unlikely to be persuasive to people without an intelligence background, especially if only a half dozen or so pieces out of a hundred are disclosed.

    "Much of what we know is akin to an impressionist painting," an administration official said. "It's a compilation of several different strands of information that are then triangulated to draw a conclusion. If you have an intelligence background, it's compelling. If you don't, you might say, `There's no forest here. It's 400 unrelated trees.' "

    As evidence of the sensitivity over the release of documents, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the Council on Foreign Relations this week that he had been forced to substitute three words in his speech for "two rather stunning paragraphs, on the grounds that we would say too much about what we're observing even today."

    The administration acknowledges that it has a major uphill effort to convince Americans not to mention the Europeans of the reasons for going to war, but says much of their case comes down to asking Americans to place blind faith in the administration.

    "It really comes down to whether or not the country trusts President Bush's judgment, knowing that he knows a lot more than the country knows," a senior administration official told reporters on Air Force One this week.
    Remember, this pre-dates any official recognitions of 'bad intelligence.' What I am seeing here is them saying 'trust us, the intelligence is clear, we just can't expose it.' Later on, that intelligence was exposed, and it was not 'compelling' in the least. They hyped up a bad product, and they knew it.

    The more I read this, the more it summarizes what I don't like about the current Presidential administration. Americans should rarely be called upon to put blind faith in the President. The White House should avoid withholding information from the public. The White House's power to act secretly should be used carefully, only when absolutely necessary, and always with the interests of the people in mind. Bush's administration consistently abuses these priviledges. They secretly constructed a rationale for war based on shaky intelligence. Yes, it was shaky intelligence that they were given, but it was only they who chose to act upon it - and in this manner. Are we the better for it? What improvements have been made to the U.S. intelligence community?

  • #2
    Re: Puzzling Evidence - 2003

    There is a lot of intelligence you can't release or "sanitize" enough to protect its method of collection.

    Lt. Gen. Hayden had a great quote that I cant find about how the enemy only talks if he thinks his methods are secret and secure...if the enemy knew he was being collected on, he wouldn't talk.

    While I'll agree that the administration should have had stronger intelligence before going in, I'll not agree that anything should have been disclosed. Intelligence is a funny business and there are a lot of rules involved. There is over-sight. Thats all I got right now.




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