Two purported former CIA employees tell Business Insider that former US President George W. Bush and his administration deliberately tried to distort intelligence reports.
The intention is said to be to be able to claim a link between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization al-Qaeda – in order to sell the bloody invasion of the country.
One of several fabricated links between Iraq and the terrorist organization is a meeting that never happened between Iraqi intelligence in Prague in late 2001 and Mohammed Atta, the Egyptian man who the US government claims flew a plane into the second twin tower of the World Trade Center. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney held a press conference and said the meeting was “pretty well confirmed” – even though there was no evidence whatsoever that this meeting ever took place.
The apparently fictitious meeting became a key part of the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign to push through a US invasion of Iraq – which would come to cost at least 300,000 lives, Business Insider writes.
– Nobody in Washington comes out and calls Bush a liar. Everybody is too polite. They use some other term for what he did. But he lied. I want to be clear about what I mean by that. He knew what he was saying was not true, says the pseudonym “Alice”, adding that the White House did “everything it could” to link Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda in order to sell the idea of an invasion.
– Meanwhile, our Iraqi analysts were saying, quite truthfully, that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime were so far apart in their ideologies — Saddam was a pure secularist, al-Qaeda was a messianic vision of a caliphate and self-consciously Islamic, at least purportedly. That is like cats and dogs, you can’t mix those, continues former CIA employee “Bob”.
George W. Bush misrepresented our work at CIA to sell the Iraq invasion. It's time to call him what he is: 'A liar.' https://t.co/1cnm932mnR by @Schwartzesque
— 🦀 Jon Schwarz 🦀 (@schwarz) March 21, 2023
A predetermined invasion
“Alice” points out that the decision to invade Iraq was already made and that no intelligence reports in the world could have changed the Bush administration’s mind on the matter.
– So this was not an effort to justify the war. It was an effort to sell the war publicly. That’s an important distinction. The Bush administration was very explicit about their Iraq obsession almost immediately when they took power.
She goes on to say that the US invasion created the conditions that led to the rise of the Islamic State terrorist organization and describes the war in Iraq as “the worst thing we could have done”.
Bob adds that the CIA was forced to work on linking Atta to Iraq for three years and that the Bush administration was “obsessed” with finding links that obviously did not exist.
– My understanding is that it all started with one photograph of this supposed meeting he had in Prague. We got it a few weeks after the attacks. It was really grainy. Maybe it was him, maybe not. He wasn’t entirely facing the camera, and there were other grainy figures around him.
– The folks who gave us this photo in the first place, they finally said, “You’re looking for something that probably isn’t there.” Initially, the photo recognition team had said that there was a 60 percent chance it was him. But soon we were speculating that they’d inflated that number because of so much pressure on them. And eventually, they backed off. They said they couldn’t identify who it was, he continues
Nevertheless, the Bush administration continued to claim that the links existed and also to lie about alleged evidence it supposedly had found confirming this.
“He refused to listen”
“Bob” is also highly critical of the fact that the CIA was blamed by Bush for allegedly inaccurate intelligence reports – after it emerged that no weapons of mass destruction were found in the country either, as the US government had also claimed.
– You can fight to get intelligence up to the seventh floor and out of the building. But if the president himself has essentially made it known that he doesn’t want to hear this, because we’re going into Iraq anyway, well, good luck.
– I will call him (Bush) a liar, “Alice” emphasizes and says that it is obvious that Bush knew very well that they were not conveying a truthful version of the intelligence received by the government
She also adds that she believes that Dick Cheney cynically used the September 11 attacks to sell another American war – when in reality the invasion was detrimental to the prevention of further attacks on the US.
– It is, I think, criminal cynicism, she continues.