By Kevin Zeese, Democracy Rising
I interviewed James Bamford, the author of The Puzzle Palace (which exposed the National Security Agency) and recently of Pretext for War. He is noted investigative writer on intelligence. Below is a relevant exchange in the interview:
Zeese: What kind of pressure, if any, was put on U.S. intelligence agencies to come up with a basis for the war?
Bamford: Intelligence was manipulated, mangled, ignored, and analysts were harassed and bullied to present the false picture that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. In talking with intelligence analysts and case officers, in the months leading up to the war none believed that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. The most basic evidence was the fact that Iraq had never begun work on a long-range missile system (unlike Iran and North Korea), something that can be easily seen by imaging satellites space with a resolution down to the centimeter. And no country has ever built a warhead without simultaneously building a delivery system.
One CIA analyst from the Iraq Non-Proliferation section told me that his boss once called his office together (about fifty people) and said, "You know what - if Bush wants to go to war, it's your job to give him a reason to do so." The former analyst added, "And I said, 'All right, it's time, it's time to go . . . And I just remember saying, 'This is something that the American public, if they ever knew, they would be outraged."
Congress was also lied to. Because Iraq had no long-range missiles, they were told in secret session that Iraq was planning to launch a series of unmanned drones loaded with chemical and biological agents against the East Coast of the U.S. Many members of Congress voted for the resolution exclusively because of that warning. It later turned out that not only did Iraq not have such warheads, the few drones they had were rudimentary, short range, and there was no way to launch them from sea off the East Coast in the first place. There were many such falsehoods.
The full interview, "Inventing a Pretext for War," is available at: http://democracyrising.us/content/view/226/164/