You are herecontent / Was Tenet Source For Downing Street Memo?
Was Tenet Source For Downing Street Memo?
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
Sidney Blumenthal has now written something about this that—if true—is a giant bombshell:
Tenet's account of the July 20, 2002, meeting of CIA officials and British intelligence officers in Washington is misleading, according to a former high CIA official with firsthand knowledge, who described it to me as "total bullshit." That meeting was important as the basis of the subsequent briefing of Prime Minister Tony Blair that took place at Downing Street three days later, summarized in the famous so-called Downing Street memo. In the memo, Sir Richard Dearlove, chief of MI6, is quoted: "Military action was now seen as inevitable ... Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD." Even more ominously, Dearlove warned that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
Tenet writes that Dearlove told him he was misquoted and that Tenet "corrected it to reflect the truth of the matter." "Tenet doesn't say what the truth of the matter is," the former CIA officer told me. "Dearlove just didn't want to be blamed." Dearlove, the former CIA official emphatically insists, claiming direct knowledge, was accurately relating what Tenet had personally told him.
The former CIA official explains that the Washington meeting was an annual U.S.-U.K. event...After a daylong briefing in the director's conference room and private dining room, Tenet took Dearlove into his office. According to the CIA source, "That's where Dearlove asked where the intelligence was going, was it heading to war, did it matter what the intelligence was. Tenet said, that's the way things are heading, they are looking for intelligence to fit into this." Dearlove's "fix" was simply the British version of "fit." He was not misquoted; he was spot on.
You don't get much more momentous than the head of the CIA and MI6 discussing how the "intelligence" used to justify a war is being falsified.
Of course, it's difficult to judge the accuracy of this—not in the sense that Blumenthal might be making it up, but that it's hard to guess whether the CIA official had firsthand knowledge...and if not, how he/she knows it.
But figuring out that kind of thing is what Congressional committees are (theoretically) good for. It would be entertaining to see this person testify on live national television.