9. (U) “Did the OSD Policy briefing to the White House draw conclusions(or ‘findings’) that were not supported by the available intelligence, such as the ‘intelligence indicates cooperation in all categories; mature, symbiotic relationship’ , or that there were ‘multiple areas of cooperation,’ and shared interest and pursuit of WMD,’ and ‘some indications of possibleIraqi coordination with al-Qaida specifically related to 9/11’ [slidel9]?”
Yes. The briefing to the Deputy National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff of the Office of the Vice President did draw conclusions that were not fully supported by the available intelligence. The briefing contained two slides,”What Would Each Side Want From a Relationship?,” and “Findings.” These two slides claimed “cooperation in all categories,” and listed the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida as being “mature and symbiotic” with “shared interestand pursuit of WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction]” and “some indications of possible Iraqi coordination with al-Qaida specifically related to 9/11 .’ These claims were not supported by the available intelligence.
DOD-IG Report: Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Policy
During the run-up to the war with Iraq, then-Vice President Dick Cheney made the rounds of the weekly news shows and pushed the idea that Saddam Hussein was in bed with Al-Qaeda, supporting them and even allowing them into the country.
He brought up little tidbits of evidence of clandestine meetings which were told to the U.S. by shadowy characters in which Iraqi governmentt officials met with Al-Qaeda officials. This was then used to construct a lie that somehow Iraq was involved, or knew about, the planning of the 9/11 attacks. This was widely reported in the news.
The net result was (along with the “yellow cake” story) it helped push American support for the war. This, along with the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” lie (a future inconvenient truth) were probably two of the key enablers for the war to take place.
However, the truth is a little different. The CIA had said Iraq and Al-Qaeda were not friendly to each other, and in fact distrusted each other (makes sense since Al-Qaeda was against the government of Iraq and Saddam Hussein in particular). All the NSC (National Security Council) research teams said the same thing. Only one, the Vice President’s own team, said that Iraq was in bed with Al-Qaeda.
Finally, a classified DOD IG report was released that told the truth in blunt language – that the Vice President had created his “own” intelligence office through the OUSD (office of the Under Secretary of Defense), and knowingly fabricated or stretched the truth beyond all reason about Al-Qaeda and Iraq. The front man? Douglas Feith, who would also be in up to his neck (along with John Hu) in the “enhanced interrogation” torture sessions (a future Inconvenient Truth).
This one is so important that you should download it (Adobe PDF) and read it. It has links at the top of the document to take you to the relevant sections, or read the entire document.
Bottom line: Before the war, there were no Al-Qaeda in Iraq…
References in the document: (Go to IG Report)
P. 21-No link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda before the war
P. 38 – Questions and answers for Senator Levin (what prompted this report).
P. 44 – Proof that Cheney’s team knew there was no connections and no proof of WMD’s.
P. 45 – Proof of no involvement of Iraq in 911 planning for attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon.
P. 55 – Proof that Cheney tried to manipulate so that only “his” intelligence would be used to decide Iraqi / Al-Qaeda connections.