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View Full Version : U.S. Suspects It Received False Iraq Arms Tips


zimv20
Aug 29, 2003, 02:05 AM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/la-fg-wmd28aug28,1,2697529.story?coll=la-home-headlines


Frustrated at the failure to find Saddam Hussein's suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have launched a major effort to determine if they were victims of bogus Iraqi defectors who planted disinformation to mislead the West before the war.


officials say former Iraqi operatives have confirmed since the war that Hussein's regime sent "double agents" disguised as defectors to the West to plant fabricated intelligence. In other cases, Baghdad apparently tricked legitimate defectors into funneling phony tips about weapons production and storage sites.


Hussein's motives for such a deliberate disinformation scheme may have been to bluff his enemies abroad, from Washington to Tehran, by sending false signals of his military might. Experts also say the dictator's defiance of the West, and its fear of his purported weapons of mass destruction, boosted his prestige at home and was a critical part of his power base in the Arab world.

Hussein also may have gambled that the failure of United Nations weapons inspectors to find specific evidence identified by bogus defectors ultimately would force the Security Council to lift sanctions imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. U.S. officials now believe Hussein hoped to then covertly reconstitute his weapons programs.


"We were prisoners of our own beliefs," said a senior U.S. weapons expert who recently returned from a stint with the survey group. "We said Saddam Hussein was a master of denial and deception. Then when we couldn't find anything, we said that proved it, instead of questioning our own assumptions."

Inu
Aug 29, 2003, 04:45 AM
This cant be serious...

They actually think Saddam himself sent faked defectors to spout false information and wave around the "Kick Saddam's Butt" flag? In all respect, Saddam was (and maybe still is) a Cruel SoB, but not exactly what i would call singleminded stupid.

As things where before the US deceided to invade, Saddam had enough problems without asking for more and few enough threats of other third-world-states to rely on made up WMD.

Sayhey
Aug 29, 2003, 06:49 AM
Sounds like the White House is running its fall back position up the flagpole to see if anyone will salute. They can't admit that they exaggerated intelligence (or in the British case, "sexed up" the intelligence) so they are going with a old stand by - blame Saddam. Let's just count me as highly skeptical.

Ugg
Aug 29, 2003, 09:40 AM
I've always believed that Saddam was a paper tiger and he wanted the world to believe he was much, much more powerful than he actually was. More egg on your face gw?

bobindashadows
Aug 29, 2003, 10:04 AM
It's the L.A. Times.

*pulls out grain of salt, requiring two body builders named Roger and Johann*

*sets grain of salt on table*
*table breaks*
*grain of salt remains intact and starts rolling around*

IJ Reilly
Aug 29, 2003, 10:41 AM
I was going to post this article yesterday but never got around to it. Interesting enough -- but not the first time I've heard these ideas advanced. Several months ago, when the anticipated truckloads of WMD had not materialized, some smart people were beginning to ask whether or not a part of Saddam's efforts to deceive the world included appearing to be stronger and more formidable then he actually was. Should this turn out to be the case, I don't see much if any cover for the Bush administration. It simply once again raises the question of whether our intelligence is telling us what we want to know or what we need to know.

shadowfax
Aug 29, 2003, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
I was going to post this article yesterday but never got around to it. Interesting enough -- but not the first time I've heard these ideas advanced. Several months ago, when the anticipated truckloads of WMD had not materialized, some smart people were beginning to ask whether or not a part of Saddam's efforts to deceive the world included appearing to be stronger and more formidable then he actually was. Should this turn out to be the case, I don't see much if any cover for the Bush administration. It simply once again raises the question of whether our intelligence is telling us what we want to know or what we need to know. heh. in any field, intelligence, science, whatever, the facts will always speak for themselves. what bureaucrats and egoistic scientists then do with them, though, is not always consistent. i don't think the issue here is with the intel; i suspect it is with some hotshots in the administration.

IJ Reilly
Aug 29, 2003, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by shadowfax
heh. in any field, intelligence, science, whatever, the facts will always speak for themselves. what bureaucrats and egoistic scientists then do with them, though, is not always consistent. i don't think the issue here is with the intel; i suspect it is with some hotshots in the administration.

I guess I need to defend myself on this point. :)

Facts are rarely so neutral, except maybe in mathematics. It's virtually impossible to know everything, so it's critical to not allow the desire to reach a given conclusion get in the way of collecting and evaluating contrary evidence.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I believe the Bush administration engaged in a massive group-think on Iraq. Once the "boss" makes up his mind, it is the brave and rare underling who will bring him information that might contradict his position. Not only does he invite the wrath of the boss, he'll probably be very unpopular with everyone else who works for the boss. I'm sure everyone who's spend any time at all in an organization fully understands what happens when the "we've already decided" dynamic takes hold -- it's an filtering process. It takes an unusually clever and insightful boss to guard against this sort of thing, and to recognize that the wagon might be running off a cliff, even when nobody who works for him has the courage to say so.

shadowfax
Aug 29, 2003, 11:39 AM
Originally posted by IJ Reilly
I guess I need to defend myself on this point. :)

Facts are rarely so neutral, except maybe in mathematics. It's virtually impossible to know everything, so it's critical to not allow the desire to reach a given conclusion get in the way of collecting and evaluating contrary evidence.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I believe the Bush administration engaged in a massive group-think on Iraq. Once the "boss" makes up his mind, it is the brave and rare underling who will bring him information that might contradict his position. Not only does he invite the wrath of the boss, he'll probably be very unpopular with everyone else who works for the boss. I'm sure everyone who's spend any time at all in an organization fully understands what happens when the "we've already decided" dynamic takes hold -- it's an filtering process. It takes an unusually clever and insightful boss to guard against this sort of thing, and to recognize that the wagon might be running off a cliff, even when nobody who works for him has the courage to say so. that's my point. i wasn't really even contradicting you. facts are objective, all the time. interpreting them and fabricating them are wholly different things. a misinterpreted fact doesn't mean that the fact isn't neutral, it means that you suck at interpreting, or the fact is insufficient for making an interpretation..

"we've already decided" is a syndrome that can even take place in mathematics, though you're right that it's usually a bit more exacting there.