Saturday, June 24, 2006

FORMER SPOOK and now blogger at In From The Cold explains the back story of the WMD discovery in Iraq (which, as you could expect, has received zero coverage in the Spanish media, not even to discredit the findings):
The story begins in April of this year, when a team of intelligence analysts, assigned to the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) published an exhaustive report on the continued recovery of chemical weapons in Iraq. Their report clearly noted that the weapons were clearly manufactured before the first Gulf War. However, the NGIC analysts also observed that some of the weapons remained in good condition (suggesting an Iraqi effort to preserve them), and posed a potential threat to coalition forces, if they fell into the hands of insurgents. From what I'm told, the report contained a full listing of all chemical weapons discovered in Iraq since the fall of Saddam, cut-away diagrams of the weapons, locations where they were found, and their potential lethality if employed by terrorists.

Obviously, the NGIC report ran against the conventional wisdom that "Iraq had no WMD" after the U.S.-led invasion, and (to its credit), the organization published the report, which was posted on INTELINK (the intelligence community's classified intranet) in April of this year. In that forum, the report could be easily accessed by anyone with access to the system, the proper security clearance, and a valid need-to-know. From an analytical standpoint, the team at NGIC did their job, and they deserve tremendous credit for publishing their report. That's what analysts are supposed to do--tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may, even if their findings run contrary to popular assumptions and political agendas.

Shortly after the NGIC item was posted on INTELINK, Senator Santorum learned of its existence, and began pressing the Army for more information, and declassification of the report's key findings. At this juncture, however, political agendas and bureaucratic tail-covering became a factor. A GOP source sent me a copy of Senator Santorum's letter, requesting information on chemical weapons in Iraq, back in April. Amazing (or, perhaps not-so-amazingly), both NGIC and the Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) ignored Santorum's request. Normally, DOD agencies are supposed to respond to a request from a member of Congress within 48 hours; the Army ignored Santorum's request for more than a month. In fact, Santorum and Hoekstra didn't get their information until the Intelligence Committee chairman obtained a copy of the NGIC report and reportedly "hit the ceiling." After that, the Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador John Negroponte, agreed to declassify portions of the report, which were released yesterday.
There's much more; read it all.

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