Monday :: May 11, 2009

The Mystery of al-Libi


by Mary

One of the Bush desaparecidos has been reportedly found dead of a suicide in a Libyan prison.

Awfully convenient that it was the one detainee that caused so much angst for the Bush administration that they effectively "disappeared" him even as they decided to bring the "worst of the worst terrorists," including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, to Guantanamo so they could be given trials that would prove their guilt.

But Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, so important to their early case for war against Iraq, had simply fallen off the face of the earth (except an occasional question) after the Bush administration had to admit his "evidence" was fabricated. Yeah, fabricated just like John McCain's confessions to the Vietcong were fabricated.

One open question I have: the Bush administration has been so blatant and so proud of their actions after 9/11 that it seems you can't turn around without Dick Cheney or John Yoo declaring how patriotic they've been in the days since 9/11. There were only two cases that I know about where the Bush administration was thrown off track from the precept that their actions were all patriotic and their wars were all well and good. One case was the 16 Words that were put into the 2003 State of the Union speech which they had to take back and make George Tenet fall on his sword for letting Dear Leader say something obviously false.

The only other case where the Bush administration admitted they were wrong was in using the (coerced) testimony of al-Libi which had been strongly disputed internally even before Secretary of State Colin Powell used it to make the case for war against Saddam Hussein because he was in league with Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 terrorists. A number of reports after the start of the war show that the CIA also admitted that the "evidence" provided by al-Libi under duress was false. Although if you read the articles, it seems that the CIA was more than happy to blame al-Libi for giving false testimony. Obviously, even if you are being tortured, you must tell the truth and only the truth. Of course, in the Bush Kafka-esque world, if you don't give the testimony they want to hear, you are obstinate and trying to mislead your interrogators. And, if Douglas Jehl was correct, the only reason that they rendered al-Libi was because he didn't give them enough specific detail to make his reported link between Saddam and al Qaeda credible.

A high Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.

The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda's work with illicit weapons.

So they sent him to Egypt to get more "detail" and started to use his testimony to make the case for war. And when he returned from Egypt where they were able to drag out the details they wanted from him using methods that would make even John Yoo blush (yet details the Bush administration was more than happy to use for making their case for war), he was blamed for giving bad intelligence because he kept lying under duress (or perhaps he was simply trying to tell them what they wanted to hear).

Tenet in his book also sought to defend the CIA's use of the Iraq weapons claims made by al-Libi in the run-up to the Iraq war, suggesting that al-Libi's later recantation may not have been genuine. "He clearly lied," Tenet writes in his book. "We just don't know when. Did he lie when he first said that Al Qaeda members received training in Iraq or did he lie when he said they did not? In my mind, either case might still be true."

al-Libi timeline:

Dec 18, 2001: al-Libi captured in Pakistan and turned over to the Americans.

Dec 2001-Feb 2002: al-Libi reportedly working with FBI interrogators and providing lots of value.

Feb 2002: DIA reports they don't find al-Libi credible. This is noted in Marcy's torture timeline and the second Senate Report. (Did this help make the case that sending him to Egypt would show him whose boss?)

Feb 2002: CIA wins the battle against the FBI in interrogation policy and renders al-Libi to Egypt where he finally coughs up the information (in enough detail) that Saddam was in cahoots with bin Laden.

Feb 2004: Egypt returns al-Libi and when the CIA reviewed the testimony that connected Saddam and al-Qaeda it was retracted.

Nov 2005: Senate Report makes public that the "evidence" that al-Libi gave under coercion was fabricated and debunked months before Bush used it in his Cincinnati speech before the 2002 vote.

Aug 2006: Bush administration decides to bring the bad guys to justice by transporting them to Guantanamo. al-Libi is not with them.

Apr 2009: Red Cross questions the Guantanamo detainees and asks what happened to al-Libi and others that didn't show up.

May 2009: al-Libi reported dead of suicide.

Mary :: 11:20 PM :: Comments (3) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!