Friday, July 16, 2004

R. James Woolsey: Former CIA Director, Bogus WMD Intelligence Pimp, War Profiteer

James Woolsey acted as a conduit for false information about the Iraqi "Winnebagos of Death":

A former CIA director who advocated war against Saddam Hussein helped arrange the debriefing of an Iraqi defector who falsely claimed that Iraq had biological-warfare laboratories disguised as yogurt and milk trucks.

R. James Woolsey's role as a go-between was detailed in a classified Defense Department report chronicling how the defector's assertion came to be included in the Bush administration's case for war even after the defector was determined to be a fabricator.


The report said that on Feb. 11, 2002, Woolsey telephoned Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Linton Wells about the defector and told him how to contact the man, who'd been produced by an Iraqi exile group eager to oust Saddam. Wells said he passed the information to the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Woolsey's previously undisclosed role in the case of Maj. Mohammad Harith casts new light on how prominent invasion advocates outside the government used their ties to senior officials in the Bush administration to help make the case for war.


After several meetings, a DIA debriefer concluded that some of Harith's information "seemed accurate, but much of it appeared embellished" and he apparently "had been coached on what information to provide."
Those findings weren't included in the initial DIA report on Harith, which noted that he'd passed a lie detector test, the Senate committee said.

However, further intelligence assessments in April, May and July 2002 questioned his credibility - including a "fabricator notice" issued by the DIA. Nevertheless, Harith's claim was included in an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and cited by Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union message.

There's no indication in the Senate Intelligence Committee report why Bush and other top administration officials used Harith's information after it was found by intelligence professionals to be bogus.


Woolsey was among the most outspoken advocates outside of government for invading Iraq.
In television appearances and in articles, he suggested that Saddam's Iraq was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax poisonings. He has also been critical of the CIA's intelligence-gathering on Iraq.

"We can work a lot more closely with Iraqi defectors. The Defense Department has been willing to do that," he said in a September 2002 television appearance. "The State Department and the CIA have been somewhat reluctant."


Meanwhile, Woolsey profits from the deaths of nearly 900 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians:
Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey is a prominent example of the phenomenon, mixing his business interests with what he contends are the country's strategic interests. He left the CIA in 1995, but he remains a senior government advisor on intelligence and national security issues, including Iraq. Meanwhile, he works for two private companies that do business in Iraq and is a partner in a company that invests in firms that provide security and anti-terrorism services.