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July 27, 2005


eriposte is amazing. He/She was the go to guy/girl for swift lie debunking.

It would be sweet if the CIA decided to push back hard on Roberts and the admin as a whole. I've never understood why they allowed the admin to make them te fall guys.

The written summary from the Italians was probably the first or second "report" that the SSCI and eriposte refer to. It has seemed clear from most detailed timelines that initially at least the CIA got "reports" in the sense that "it was reported to us that . . ." but not necessarily written reports.

The CIA (at least some of them) was skeptical from the get go because of the nature of the Nigerien mines and the involvement of the French in running them and assorted other details which you have explicated so thoroughly.

There has been a lot of speculation who forged the documents and whether a faction within SISMI was involved. Obviously not all of them were in on fabricating these reports. What if some people in SISMI were suspicious as well? What if some of them who saw the forgeries recognized them as such? What if they told the CIA in a way that got it up to Tenet before the forgeries themselves surfaced? What if the CIA was trying to smoke out the documents?

A lot of What ifs. But one thing is sure here. The picture of who pulled the wool over the American public's eyes and who knitted the wool is getting very interesting.

The most telling thing in Ron K's prescent Kos post of 6/22/2003 that he referenced below is the comparison to a plane crash. When something goes wrong, the NTSB conducts an exhaustive analysis of what went wrong. Two years later, that has still never been done with the pre-war intel. If Roberts is smart, he will open the second half of his investigation, not start investigating Fitzgerald.

I highly doubt the report is any of the cables from Italy. After all, the third cable came in March 2002. I'd think if you were debunking, you'd say, "we've known these were bad for over a year" not "over 6 months." Further, the second report was the most credible of the three--that's where people begin connecting it back to al-Zahawi. Finally, the SSCI makes it clear that the CIA was a lot more credulous of those reports than the INR. (The paragraph on the third report is followed by a paragraph which states the CIA and INR analyst agreed to disagree. That says the CIA doesn't doubt, the INR does.)

If the Italian report shows up anywhere in the SSCI, it does not show up as having changed anyone's mind in CIA.

emptywheel...thanks for the note...I will review your comments in greater detail tonight.

I'm a "he" BTW :-)

I'm a "she", btw.


Now I feel like I'm on "Free to Be You and Me"!

Although, Mimikatz, if you're right, then this article is an admission that the fogeries and the early reports were one and the same.

I meant to say that the "written summary" was probably the third report (March 2002), and the first two seem to have been less of reports.

I think the info all came from the forgeries, but the question is who saw the forgeries when. The early reports were probably based on extracts of the documents, or summaries of summaries of the documents. The third report is the one that should have tipped them off because of the inconsistencies, as eriposte says, and probably did, but the SSCI report covers this up.

As I read the SSCI and eriposte and other analyses, there were some in the CIA who were skeptical all along and some who weren't. You know more about this than I, and it's hard when they never mention anyone's name, but it seems that CPD was more skeptical than WINPAC. The WINPAC director at that time was Alan Foley.

There clearly was a real tug of war between those who thought the Niger "evidence" was a credible piece of evidence against Saddam and those who thought it was just nuts. And those who thought it was nuts must have been trying harder as the war looked more and more certain to get Tenet at least to see it as nuts, just as the warhawks escalated their efforts to pump up the intel. Maybe there is another summary. Or maybe they were reluctant to admit even after the fact that they knew they were fakes for over a year because that would raise the question how it just kept coming back all through 2002. At that point (March, 2003) the CIA didn't know the Bush Admin would try to push all the pre-war intel failures onto them. There was still a chance then that WMD might be found, I suppose. In any event, to have really admitted that would have exposed the source to the same treatment that Wilson got.

Thanks for this link and this discussion. Yet remaining is who exactly generated those false documents. I don't want to think it was Rumsfeld's own intelligence operation - that might get me wrapped in tinfoil - but it's still a question that needs answering.

Hi again...

Thanks for bringing that WP article to my attention.

I am beginning to wonder how much earlier to the Oct 2002 release of the forged docs (by the Italian journalist) that the CIA really knew they were dealing with some bogus stuff.

I am very keen to figure out what specific documentation they had in hand when Wilson was sent to Niger and shortly after he returned (see Sec. 5.4 of my post for more on this).

Anyway, I had hoped my post would open up new areas for investigation - and I hope it has.

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