Sunday :: Nov 20, 2005

WMDgate: Fixing Intelligence Around Policy - The Aluminum Tubes, Part 2A-4

by eriposte

This post is part of a series (see Introduction, Part 1, Part 2A-1, Part 2A-2, Part 2A-3) focused on building a case to demonstrate the Bush White House's intelligence manipulation, fixing and misrepresentation, mostly using published Congressional reports like the Phase I Senate (SSCI) Report, the Robb-Silberman WMD Commission Report, etc. While it is clear that even without the use of Congressional reports, the case against the Bush White House is pretty solid - see here and here for example - I wanted to demonstrate that the parliamentary reports, rather than make the case against the White House weaker, actually make it stronger. [Note: All extracts from published reports may have lost some original formatting (in particular, italics). This is unintentional, but it does not change the meaning or content in any way.]

In Part 2A-1, I showed that an examination of CIA reports on the aluminum tubes prior to early September 2002 made it clear that the Bush administration's "ignorance" defense (that the CIA never told them that alternative uses were possible for the tubes) was false. In Part 2A-2, I extended the analysis to the DIA (and to a lesser extent NGIC) reports. The CIA and DIA were the two prominent agencies trying to push the view that the aluminum tubes were more likely intended for uranium centrifuges, but they both repeatedly acknowledged that alternative uses for the tubes were possible (in contradiction to the claims of Bush, Cheney and Rice). In Part 2A-3, I showed that the intel reports from the DOE (the IC's nuclear experts) actually reached a very different conclusion - that the tubes were most likely intended for a conventional weapons application (rockets).

There was another major IC agency that sided with the DOE - the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The Senate Report and the Robb-Silberman Report barely address the INR view prior to early September 2002, but do point out that INR agreed with the DOE's position that the aluminum tubes, rather than being for nuclear centrifuges, were actually intended for conventional weapons (rockets).

As this NYT article also points out:

In late 2001, intelligence analysts at the State Department also took issue with [WINPAC analyst] Joe's work in reports prepared for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Joe was ''very convinced, but not very convincing,'' recalled Greg Thielmann, then director of strategic, proliferation and military affairs in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

So, two major intelligence agencies in the U.S., DOE and INR, had a diametrically opposed view on Iraq's intended application for the aluminum tubes, in comparison to the views of the CIA and DIA. Of these two, DOE was the recognized IC expert on nuclear matters. Yet, the Bush administration made unqualified, false assertions regarding the intended use of the aluminum tubes.

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