Saturday, February 03, 2007

Drip, Drip, Drip

"From the perspective of the White House, it was smart to blur the lines about what was acceptable and what was not in the war on terrorism. It meant that whenever someone was overzealous in some dark interrogation cell, President (George W.) Bush and his entourage could blame someone else. The rendition teams are drawn from paramilitary officers who are brave and colorful. They are the men who went into Baghdad before the bombs and into Afghanistan before the army. If they didn't do paramilitary actions for a living, they would probably be robbing banks. Perhaps the Bush Administration deliberately created a gray area on renditions." This quote was made by Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA's European division during an interview with the German current affairs magazine Der Spiegel in responce to a question about extraordinary rendition.

On how the White House viewed Europe after 9/11 he had this to say: "Elements of the Bush administration developed the view that European personal privacy laws were somehow to blame, that the Europeans are too slow. We can be very frustrating to work with. I always said, 'Stop preaching to them.' The Europeans have been dealing with terrorism for years, we can learn from their successes and failures. Its not a good spy story, but it's actually how you do this."

When asked how much the CIA was to blame for the amount of wrong information about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, he responded: "The agency is not blameless and no president on my watch has had a spotless record when it comes to the CIA. But never before have I seen the manipulation of intelligence that has played out since Bush took office. As chief of Europe I had a front-row seat from which to observe the unprecedented drive for intelligence justifying the Iraq war."

He was then asked about the critics in Washington who claim that the Germans, because of Curveball, an Iraqi dissident who gave information about supposed Iraqi biological and chemical weapons development, bear a large part of the repsonsibility for the intelligence mess. His reply: "There was no effort by the Germans to influence anybody from the beginning. Very senior officials in the BND expressed their doubts, that there may be problems with this guy. They were very professional. I know that there are people at the CIA who think the Germans could have set stronger caveats. But nobody says: "Here's a great intel report, but we don't believe it." .... The administration wanted to make the case for war with Iraq. They needed a tangible thing, they needed the German stuff. They couldn't go to war based just on the fact that they wanted to change the Middle East. They needed to have something threatening to which they were reacting."

At the time of Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations, Drumheller said: "I had assured my German friends that it wouldn't be in the speech. I really thought that I had put it to bed. I had warned the CIA deputy John McLaughlin that this case could be fabricated. The night before the speech, then CIA director George Tenet called me at home. I said: "Hey Boss, be careful with that German report. It's supposed to be taken out. There are a lot of problems with that." He said: 'Yeah, yeah. Right. Dont worry about that.'"

He then adds: "I turned on the TV in my office, and there it was. So the first thing I thought, having worked in the government all my life, was that we probably gave Powell the wrong speech. We checked our files and found out that they had just ignored it." ..."The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy. Right before the war, I said to a very senior CIA officer: "You guys must have something else," because you always think it's the CIA. "There is some secret thing I don`t know." He said: "No. But when we get to Baghdad, we are going to find warehouses full of stuff. Nobody is going to remember all of this.""

The full interview transcript can be found here, but it is yet just another piece of evidence of the White House's comfort with using lies. When is impeachment going to be started?


sandegaye said...

I can scarcely wait myself! How many crimes does it take? This man belongs in the Hague.

Mark said...

The problem is that the US doesn't recognise the Hague!

Jay said...

I'd settle for putting him in Guantanamo Bay.