[QODLink]
Archive
Report: Pentagon twisted pre-war data

The Pentagon provided skewed pre-war analysis to back US President George Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein was allied with al-Qaida, say Democrats on the Senate armed services committee.

Last Modified: 23 Oct 2004 22:30 GMT
Douglas Feith (L) was a staunch pro-war Bush adviser

The Pentagon provided skewed pre-war analysis to back US President George Bush's claim that Saddam Hussein was allied with al-Qaida, say Democrats on the Senate armed services committee.

Senator Carl Levin released a report on Thursday after a 16-month investigation by the committee's Democratic staff members accusing the Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (CEG), set up by the Pentagon after the 11 September attacks, of sidestepping the CIA and manipulating information to support the Bush administration's assumptions.

Levin's report concluded: "Intelligence relating to the Iraq-al-Qaida relationship was manipulated by high-ranking officials in the [Defence Department] to support the administration's decision to invade Iraq."

Undersecretary of Defence Douglas Feith - one of the Bush administration's strongest advocates for war against Iraq – led the now defunct CEG.

The 46-page document detailed how Feith's analysts repeatedly sought to outflank the CIA, which was much more sceptical of Iraq-al-Qaida ties.

Customised briefings

The report found that Defence Department analysts customised presentations to different audiences - making a more aggressive case when briefing senior Pentagon and White House officials than when showing their findings to senior CIA officers.

"It was an inaccurate, exaggerated source which the CIA insisted be corrected"

Carl Levin,
Democratic senator

Levin said distortions by analysts working for Feith fuelled many of the Bush administration's most controversial claims as it made its case for war. He noted that Vice-President Dick Cheney referred to a magazine story cataloguing many of the Feith team's controversial findings as the "best source of information" on the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida.

"It wasn't the best source," Levin said. "It was an inaccurate, exaggerated source which the CIA insisted be corrected."

Republicans have criticised the report as being politically motivated.

"Senator Levin's report is clearly a partisan effort to influence the upcoming election rather than an attempt to correct the flaws in our intelligence community," said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, a Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Source:
Aljazeera + Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list