Friday, September 15, 2006

Without Even Knowing It Walter Pincus Unveils New Evidence of CIA Incompetence Re Iraq & al Qaeda In 2002

According to an article by the Washington Post's Water Pincus reprinted in the Honolulu Advertiser today, the "CIA knew of no Iraq-bin Laden link, report shows." According to the article, the reason the CIA knew that there was no Iraq-bin Laden link was because, "A senior CIA officer, after months of trying, was able to question (Naji) Sabri (Iraq's Foreign Minister at the time) through a trusted agency intermediary when the Iraqi foreign minister was in New York City around September 19, 2002." Sabri reportedly "said that Iraq has no past, current, or anticipated future contact with Osama bin laden and al Qaeda," and that the official "added that bin Laden was in fact a longtime enemy of Iraq."

CAN THIS BE SERIOUS! Is this how the CIA reaches its conclusions in matters so important that the Vice-President personally keeps asking about it, national security depends on it and an imminent invasion of Iraq relies on it? The CIA actually talked to the Iraqi Foreign Minister AND TOOK HIS WORD FOR IT!

Thank God we have a President who is able to discount "intelligence" gleaned from such an "impeccable & objective" source as this!

If this story is true then the CIA appears to be even more incompetent and gullible than previously thought!

Thank you, Walter Pincus, for exposing the total ineptitude of the CIA during this crucial period of our country's history. I know that this is not what you wanted the public to think when they read your article but I'm grateful for your inept journalistic effort nonetheless.

Curiously, the Honolulu Advertiser editors thought that the final paragraph of Pincus' article was not important enough to include:
Sabri's role as an intelligence source for the CIA has already been publicly reported. New details, including a payment of $200,000 to the intermediary and a secret signal system to assure the CIA officer that Sabri was cooperating, are contained in the recently released book "Hubris," by Michael Isikoff of Newsweek and David Corn, Washington correspondent for the magazine the Nation.
Without this paragraph the article makes no sense at all. Even with this paragraph the source should have been considered somewhat circumspectly, even if the CIA DID in fact, shell out $200,000 of our tax dollars to the intermediary...who probably laughed all the way to the bank!

Note: Unfortunately the Advertiser's version of the article is not available online. It is, with the exception of the final paragraph, identical to the Washington Post's version.

UPDATE: It appears that, according to an Wikipedia article, Naji Sabri may well have been a CIA informant. The evidence is very compelling in this matter. It is not clear, however, just how reliable Sabri's intelligence information was. Without more details on this matter it is hard to judge whether Sabri's supposed information on the Iraq/al Qaeda relationship was accurate or not.

Even more interesting is this quote from the Wikipedia article:
Sabri offered the agency important details on some of Saddam's alleged weapons programs and assurances on the discontinuance of others. Sabri told the CIA that Saddam had stockpiled certain chemical weapons, specifically "poison gas." Newly declassified reports indicate that Saddam had if (sic) fact possessed those same weapons of mass destruction.
Does anyone know what "Newly declassified reports" are being referred to here? Would this be important news if it was true?