Archive for the 'Ron Suskind' Category

Conyers Questions Iraq ‘Forgery’

Jason Leopold | The Public Record | August 22, 2008

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has asked current and former White House aides and ex-CIA officials to respond to questions about an alleged scheme to create a bogus letter in late 2003 linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.

In sending the interview requests Wednesday, Conyers is following up on a disputed story in journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, which includes an account of how the mysterious letter originated.

The book cites statements from former CIA associate deputy director of operations Rob Richer and John Maguire, the former chief of the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group/Near East Division, as indicating that the White House ordered the CIA to produce the bogus letter to retroactively justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Richer and Maguire gave Suskind on-the-record interviews, which the author recorded, discussing the reasons the letter was created and saying that it likely emanated from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Both men have since recanted their statements.

Conyers, who has held periodic hearings on abuses of power by George W. Bush’s administration, sent letters to former CIA Director George Tenet; the CIA’s former executive director A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard; Cheney’s former chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby; and John Hannah, another Cheney assistant – as well as to Richer and Maguire.

“I am writing to follow up on recent serious allegations regarding the creation of a false letter from Tahir Jalil Habbush, Saddam Hussein’s former Chief of Intelligence, to Saddam Hussein,” Conyers said.

“The letter, which was allegedly backdated to July 1, 2001, attempted to establish an operational link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the period before the 9/11 attacks by specifically stating that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had received training in Iraq.

“At the time of the alleged decision in 2003 to concoct the false letter, the Vice President’s Office had been reportedly pressuring the CIA to prove this connection as a justification to invade Iraq. The letter also falsely noted that Iraq had received a ‘shipment’ (presumably uranium) from Niger with the assistance of al-Qaeda.

“Upon careful review of the allegations concerning this matter, I have become very concerned with the possibility that this administration may have violated federal law by using the resources of our intelligence agencies to influence domestic policy processes or opinion.

“The law specifically provides that ‘no covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.’”

Suskind wrote in his book that such a violation might constitute an “impeachable offense.”

Continue reading ‘Conyers Questions Iraq ‘Forgery’’

New evidence suggests Ron Suskind is right

What was an Iraqi politician doing at CIA headquarters just days before he distributed a fake memo incriminating Saddam Hussein in 9/11?

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

By Joe Conason |

Aug. 08, 2008 | If Ron Suskind’s sensational charge that the White House and CIA colluded in forging evidence to justify the Iraq invasion isn’t proved conclusively in his new book, “The Way of the World,” then the sorry record of the Bush administration offers no basis to dismiss his allegation. Setting aside the relative credibility of the author and the government, the relevant question is whether the available facts demand a full investigation by a congressional committee, with testimony under oath.

When we look back at the events surrounding the emergence of the faked letter that is at the center of this controversy, a strong circumstantial case certainly can be made in support of Suskind’s story.

That story begins during the final weeks of 2003, when everyone in the White House was suffering severe embarrassment over both the origins and the consequences of the invasion of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. No evidence of significant connections between Saddam Hussein’s regime and the al-Qaida terrorist organization had been discovered there either. Nothing in this costly misadventure was turning out as advertised by the Bush administration.

According to Suskind, the administration’s highest officials — presumably meaning President Bush and Vice President Cheney — solved this problem by ordering the CIA to manufacture a document “proving” that Saddam had indeed been trying to build nuclear weapons and that he was also working with al-Qaida. The reported product of that order was a fake memorandum from Tahir Jalil Habbush, then chief of Saddam’s intelligence service, to the dictator himself, dated July 1, 2001. The memo not only explicitly confirmed that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had received training in Baghdad for “attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy” but also carefully noted the arrival of a “shipment” from Niger via Libya, presumably of uranium yellowcake, the sole export of that impoverished African country.

Very incriminating, very convenient and not very believable. Indeed, it may be hard to imagine that even the CIA at its bumbling worst would concoct such a blatant counterfeit. But there are a few reasons to believe that, too.

Continue reading ‘New evidence suggests Ron Suskind is right’

Suskind releasing transcript of ‘forgery’ source

David Edwards and Muriel Kane | RawStory | Published: Friday August 8, 2008

Author Ron Suskind, whose new book charges that the Bush administration ordered the CIA to forge a letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence linking Iraq to al Qaeda, will now be releasing a transcript of the interview with one of his primary sources to defend himself against charges of inaccuracy.

Suskind told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Friday, “I’ve never done this in 25 years as a journalist, but I’m posting transcripts of my conversations with Rob Richer.”

Suskind further explained, “Rob can can only say from first-hand knowledge that it’s from the White House. That means either the vice-president’s office, the president’s office, or the NSC. … [CIA chief] George [Tenet] came back from the White House one day with, essentially, the memo sheet .. with the mission to create this fabricated letter.” Continue reading ‘Suskind releasing transcript of ‘forgery’ source’

John Dean On Countdown: Suskind’s Book Focuses On Impeachable Crimes

By: Nicole Belle on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 2:00 PM – PDT

I don’t know that the revelations from Ron Suskind’s new book The Way of The World are truly bombshells, so much as confirmation of what we in the liberal blogosphere have always said: the Bush administration wanted to go to war in Iraq and were willing to do whatever they had to to sell it to the American people.  

But what is key to me is that there is very little left to which people like Nancy Pelosi can hold on to claim that there is no proof of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the White House.  John Dean–no stranger to impeachment proceedings–has been saying that this administration is worse than watergate for years.  On Tuesday’s Countdown, he confirms that Suskind’s findings absolutely signal impeachable offenses on the part of the administration and why it is critical that Congress find their spines and pursue it:

OLBERMANN: The big picture question. As I‘ve been saying, you saw enough in Bush in malfeasance by the end of 2003 to have titled that book “Worse than Watergate.” Suskind says in his that just the Iraq part is worse than Watergate. Do you concur with his assessment?

DEAN: Well, I do and I base mine largely on the excessive secrecy which he has only added more detail and information about and the consequences of that secrecy. And, of course, in Watergate, nobody died as a result of Nixon‘s so-called abuses of power nor was anybody tortured. So, we‘re playing in a whole different field and on a different level. So, I think he is right, it is worse.

OLBERMANN: The devil‘s advocate question in this one, John, is-the Bush administration ends in six months, presumably-why is simply, you know, getting the shovel, the historical shovel out and covering this up with as much clean and sanctified dirt as we can not enough? Why is forgetting this man and his presidency not enough?

DEAN: Keith, I think it‘s more than a devil‘s advocate question. It really is the central question in the 2008 campaign. If we have another Republican administration, we‘re going to see more of the same that this sort of material that‘s revealed by Suskind.

Full transcripts below the fold, including Olbermann’s exclusive interview with author Suskind

In our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN: The book‘s assertions would obviously destroy deniability for the president and would constitute criminal wrongdoing worse than Watergate.

Continue reading ‘John Dean On Countdown: Suskind’s Book Focuses On Impeachable Crimes’

White House ‘buried British intelligence on Iraq WMDs’

Times | August 6, 2008

Tony Blair and George Bush both saw intelligence contradicting the rationale for invading Iraq, a new book claims

Tim Reid in Washington and Sam Coates in London

MI6 told Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq that a high-placed Iraqi source said that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. The intelligence was passed to the US but was buried by the White House, according to a new book.

The book claimed that the former Prime Minister sent a top British spy to the Middle East in 2003 — three months before the invasion — to dig up enough intelligence to avoid war but that President Bush and Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, dismissed any claims or possible evidence that would stop military action.

In The Way of the World, the Pulitzer prize-winning author Ron Suskind also claimed that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a backdated, handwritten letter purportedly from the head of Iraqi Intelligence to Saddam. The letter, which came to light nine months after the invasion, was meant to demonstrate a link between the Baathist regime and al-Qaeda.

The forgery, adamantly denied by the White House, was passed to a British journalist in Baghdad and written about as if genuine by The Sunday Telegraph on December 14, 2003. The article received significant attention in the US and provided the White House with a new rationale for the invasion, Suskind claimed. The White House called the allegation absurd. Continue reading ‘White House ‘buried British intelligence on Iraq WMDs’’

Ron Suskind Says White House Forged Iraq-Al Qaeda Letter

What the Iraq Forgery Says About 9/11

George Washington’s Blog | Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bestselling journalist Ron Suskind has revealed that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 . . . and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq.

Suskind also revealed that “Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official ‘that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.’ ”

This is a stunning revelation in its own right. But what does it say about the government’s claims that 9/11 was an attack by Muslim extremists which the U.S. government could not have anticipated?

Continue reading ‘What the Iraq Forgery Says About 9/11′

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