Monday, February 02, 2004

A TALE OF AN DISHONEST BRIT: We hereby resume our blog-stalking of Christopher Hitchens. From his latest piece in Slate:

The case for a thorough purge of the CIA would have been easier to make if the antiwar liberals had not gone on parroting the Langley line, which was to underestimate on some things and to overstate on others. The booby prize here goes (again) to Maureen Dowd, who in her column on David Kay on Jan. 29 said that the agency was "probably relying too much on the Arabian Nights tales of Ahmad Chalabi, eager to spread the word of Saddam's imaginary nuclear-tipped weapons juggernaut because it suited his own ambitions—and that of his Pentagon pals." As everyone with the slightest knowledge is well aware, the CIA was smearing and sabotaging Chalabi until the week of the fall of Baghdad and continues to do so. It remains, within the institutions of the U.S. government, the most devout opponent of regime change with the arguable exception of the Department of State.
Glenn Kessler and Walter Pincus in yesterday's Washington Post:
The NIE, according to declassified portions made public last year, firmly stated that "Baghdad's UAV could threaten Iraq's neighbors, U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and if brought close to, or into, the United States, the U.S. homeland."

But the NIE included a dissent to this conclusion that, after the war, would be considered correct: The Air Force intelligence arm, the expert on UAVs in the U.S. government, strongly argued that the primary role of these aircraft was reconnaissance, "although CBW delivery is an inherent capability." Air Force officials have said this last phrase was added during negotiations in crafting the NIE, though they viewed the possibility as highly unlikely because the drones would be inefficient delivery vehicles.

Powell and his team stuck with the consensus position of the other intelligence agencies [therefore the CIA] -- some of which were relying on information from Iraqi expatriates and defectors to bolster their case on the drones -- because a decision had been made that his speech should reflect the best judgment of the intelligence community.
Christopher Hitchens: still useless, still dishonest and still a hack.

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