As is the case with all successful frauds, the Iraqi exiles got what they wanted and their targets got stuck with the bill.
MULTIPLE DECEPTIONS. Two new items about the Bush administration's conduct before the war emerged today.
First, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report claiming that the Bush administration knew that their justifications for the Iraq invasion were false at the time.
Committee chairman John D. Rockefeller, D-W. Va., said the administration's actions went far beyond simply being misled by bad intelligence.
"There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence," Rockefeller said in a statement. "But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate."
The argument of the Intelligence Committee was that Bush knew that his claims about Saddam Hussein in relation to 9-11, al-Qaeda, mobile bio-terror labs, and nuclear weapons were either rejected by American intelligence or not confirmed by American intelligence. For Jay Rockefeller, that means that the Bush administration was acting deceptively.
But that doesn't get at the depth of Bush's deception.
To ferret out exactly what the Bush administration was doing, the Intelligence Committee needed to ask itself where the Bush administration was getting their false or unverifiable information from. Were they making it up? Engaging in right-wing fantasizing (and there was plenty of that going on after 9-11)? Or was the Bush administration getting their information from specific sources like Iraqi exiles?
THREE MIGHT HAVES. I know this is speculative, but I'm going to try it anyway. The Bush administration might actually have given greater weight to the unverifiable claims of interested parties than it gave to American intelligence. Given that outside claims concerning the Iraqi government supported the Bush administration's objective of justifying an invasion, Bush might have favored those claims even though they knew that the claims were either unverifiable or false. In other words, the Bush administration might have been willing to be scammed itself in the service of deceiving the American public.
This is where the second item comes in. McClatchey News, which has done great reporting on Iraq since well before the invasion, has a story about how the Iranian government might have been involved in a scam to provide the Bush administration with false information.
Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that Iranian exiles who provided dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran to a small group of Pentagon officials might have "been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service ... to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government," a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday. . . .It appears that Iranian exile and notorious fabrication artist and arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar was attempting to "penetrate" to the highest levels of American government to provide hostile (intelligence) claims about Iraq and promote a ridiculous scheme to overthrow the Iranian government. The McClatchey writer John Wolcott thinks that Ghorbanifar was actually a double agent working on behalf of the Iranian government trying to get the Bush administration to remove one of Iran's enemies by invading Iraq.
The revelation raises questions about whether Iran may have used a small cabal of officials in the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office to feed bogus intelligence on Iraq and Iran to senior policymakers in the Bush administration who were eager to oust the Iraqi dictator.
The upshot of Wolcott's article is that multiple parties in Iraq and Iran were targeting the Bush administration's prospective invasion of Iraq as the fulfillment of their own dreams and feeding the Bush people phony "raw intelligence" to bolster their case.
So where does that leave the Bush people. Bush, Cheney, and other top administration officials are well known to be arrogant and incompetent. They're liars and they're also war criminals.
Now it turns out that they were chumps as well.