bush - liar, liar, pants on fire
Ex-official with CIA criticizes path to war
Cam Simpson Chicago Tribune Feb. 11, 2006 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The former CIA official charged with managing the U.S. government's secret intelligence assessments on Iraq says the Bush administration chose war first and then misleadingly used raw data to assemble a public case for its decision to invade.
Paul Pillar, who was the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Middle East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, said the administration also played on the nation's fears in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
He said the administration falsely linked al-Qaida to Saddam Hussein's regime even though intelligence agencies had not produced a single analysis supporting "the notion of an alliance" between the two.
Instead, Pillar writes in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs, connections were drawn between the terrorists and Iraq because "the administration wanted to hitch the Iraq expedition to the 'war on terror' and the threat the American public feared most, thereby capitalizing on the country's militant post-9/11 mood."
The White House did not respond specifically to Pillar's charges Friday, but Frederick Jones, a spokesman for the National Security Council, did point to previous administration statements defending its use of intelligence.
The specific critiques in Pillar's 4,500-word essay, titled, Intelligence, Policy and the War in Iraq, are not new.
But it apparently is the first time such attacks are being publicly leveled by such a high-ranking intelligence official directly involved behind the scenes.
Pillar also wrote in his essay that the administration went to war without first considering any strategic-level intelligence assessments "on any aspect of Iraq" and that the intelligence community foreshadowed many post-Saddam woes, though the findings were largely ignored before the March 2003 invasion.
Excerpts from Pillar's article were first reported by the Washington Post on Friday.