Gar Smith / EAW co-founder – 2005-03-24 23:49:24
(March 22, 2005) — The Bush administration used false stories about nonexistent WMDs as a pretext for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
When the truth was exposed, the White House claimed the misinformation was the result of “poor intelligence.”
It was then revealed that the White House had willfully ignored contradictory intelligence that challenged its premise that Iraq posed an immediate threat to global security.
In the aftermath of this troubling and embarassing turnabout, Congress and the Senate both went to great pains to create a new system to improve US intelligence by, among other things, establishing an intelligence czar.
And now we learn, courtesy of the Washington Post, that the Bush administration is up to the same old tricks — lying to the world about false threats, covering up real dangers and ignoring contradictory truths gathered by our intelligence agencies. (The Post article is posted below.)
Specifically: In January and February of this year, the Bush administration knowingly lied to allies, accusing North Korea of supplying nuclear material to Libya. The US knew that it was, in fact, Pakistan that purchased and shipped the material to Libya.
The US continues to ignore Pakistan’s role as the major supplier of WMDs to the so-called “Axis of Evil.”
Porter Goss has been the head of the CIA since November. It appears that nothing has changed. The Bush administration continues to use disinformation and outright lies to promote its global agenda. The Bush administration continues to ignore or cover-up any independent intelligence that contradicts its willing misstatements.
As a result, the Post article points out, our allies now have even more reason to distrust the word of the United States of America. The Senate should hold hearings to demand accountability for this latest exercise of the politics of deception.
Bush Accusation against North Korea Called Inaccurate:
US Told Allies Pyongyang Exported Nuclear Material to Libya
Dafna Linzer / Washington Post
WASHINGTON (March 20, 2005) — In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.
But that is not what US intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride — which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium — to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key US ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.
Pakistan’s role as both the buyer and the seller was concealed to cover up the part played by Washington’s partner in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, according to the officials, who discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity. In addition, a North Korea-Pakistan transfer would not have been news to the US allies, who have known of such transfers for years and viewed them as a business matter between sovereign states.
The Bush administration’s approach, intended to isolate North Korea, instead left allies increasingly doubtful as they began to learn that the briefings omitted essential details about the transaction, US officials and foreign diplomats said in interviews. North Korea responded to public reports last month about the briefings by withdrawing from talks with its neighbors and the United States.
In an effort to repair the damage, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is traveling through East Asia this weekend trying to get the six-nation talks back on track. The impasse was expected to dominate talks today in Seoul and then Beijing, which wields the greatest influence with North Korea.
The new details follow a string of controversies concerning the Bush administration’s use of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House offered a public case against Iraq that concealed dissent on nearly every element of intelligence and included interpretations unsupported by the evidence.
A presidential commission studying US intelligence is reviewing the case, as well as judgments on Iran and North Korea.
The United States briefed allies on North Korea in late January and early February. Shortly afterward, administration officials, speaking to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, said North Korea had sold uranium hexafluoride to Libya and portrayed the briefings as part of regular discussions with China, South Korea and Japan ahead of a new round of hoped- for negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear program.
But in recent days, two other US officials said the briefings had been hastily arranged after China and South Korea indicated they were considering bolting from six-party talks on North Korea. The talks have been seen as largely ineffectual, but the Bush administration, which refuses to meet bilaterally with Pyongyang, insists they are critical to curbing North Korea’s nuclear program.
The White House declined to offer an official to comment by name about the new details concerning Pakistan. A statement attributed to a senior administration official said that the U.S. government “has provided allies with an accurate account of North Korea’s nuclear proliferation activities.”
Although the briefings did not mention Pakistan by name, the official said they made it clear that the sale went through the illicit network operated by Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist, Abdel Qadeer Khan. But the briefings gave no indication that US intelligence believed that the material had been bought by Pakistan and transferred there from North Korea in a container owned by the Pakistani government.
They also gave no indication that the uranium was then shipped via a Pakistani company to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and on to Libya. Those findings match assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program in December 2003.
Since Pakistan became a key US ally in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, the administration has not held President Pervez Musharraf accountable for actions taken by Khan while he was a member of Musharraf’s Cabinet and in charge of nuclear cooperation for the government.
“The administration is giving Pakistan a free ride when they don’t deserve it and hurting U.S. interests at the same time,” said Charles Pritchard, who was the Bush administration’s special envoy for the North Korea talks until August 2003. “As our allies get the full picture, it doesn’t help our credibility with them,” he said.
Pritchard, now a Brookings Institution fellow, and others had initially raised questions about the Libya connection when it became public last month. No one in the administration has been willing to discuss the uranium sale publicly.