Monday, July 21, 2003

"Suicide" Solution

A judge is set to lay out the parameters of the inquiry into the death -- an apparent suicide -- of WMD-scandal's "Deep Throat", David Kelly. Story and background are here.

The Mirror debates the potential fallout over the scandal here .

Relatedly, on the WMD scandal, for once a Murdoch rag has some useful news : That there is a growing rift between Blair and Bush on the faulty intelligence used to justify the war. Apparently, MI6 is a bit peeved that they are being slagged by their American counterparts in the CIA and, by extention, the Bush Adminstration. All I can say is, good. Divide and conquer and maybe expose all of them to a withering discreditation they all so richly deserve. Thomas Oliphant is optimistic about the findings of a potential probe into the scandal, but I'm skeptical. Considering how awful these people are in general, and their track record in defying such investigations in particular, I have little hope of a potential Church Committee (which, it must be noted, Bush hack and former Secretary Of State James Baker was quick to slag -- and indeed blame -- after the September 11th attacks).

"THE row over the justification for war with Iraq deepened yesterday as a transatlantic split emerged between the world’s two leading spy agencies.
The CIA said it did not believe British secret service claims of an alleged plot by Iraq to buy uranium for nuclear weapons in Niger, west Africa.

MI6 stood by its story but refused to provide evidence to its ally, saying protocol did not permit it.

The war of words is one of the most serious between the two agencies, which normally co-operate closely and share intelligence under an agreement known as Ukusa."


"The row blew up after George Tenet, the head of the CIA, issued a statement on Friday night saying the uranium claim was 'highly dubious'.

Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, was forced to defend the British government’s position, saying the uranium story 'was based on reliable intelligence which we had not shared with the US for good reasons'".

Right. Yet Bush blames the bad info on the CIA.

"In a letter to the chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee released yesterday, Straw confirmed that the CIA had asked Britain to remove the uranium claim from its dossier.

But he said: “UK officials were confident that the dossier’s statement was based on reliable intelligence which we had not shared with the US (for good reasons, which I have given your committee in private session). A judgment was therefore made to retain it.”

He went on to point out that evidence given by the former US ambassador to Gabon, Joseph Wilson, who investigated the uranium story for the CIA, was not shared with the British. Officials read Wilson’s findings, that the Niger authorities had denied any link, only in the press."

Ah yes, but Wilson did brief the State Department. So they knew the intelligence was crap, as did Cheney and Rice, at the least. This may not get Blair and Straw off the hook in England, but it does pretty much get the CIA off the hook here in America. Ambassador Wilson's testimony implicitly damns not the CIA, but Bush and the State Department, since it was they who sent him on the errand to check the validity of the intelligence in the first place. So we are left to assume that the Bush Adminstration ignored the briefing of their own oversight-envoy either out of indigence and incompetence or out of calculated mendacity. I incline to the latter as explanation.

"Privately, MI6 is furious with the Americans for what one insider described as “incompetent handling” of delicate issues that had embarrassingly become public."


Rest of the story here : Sunday Times Online