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Profile: Seymour Hersh

 
  

Positions that Seymour Hersh has held:



 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, March 31, 2003

   “What went wrong? Did a poorly conceived propaganda effort by British intelligence, whose practices had been known for years to senior American officials, manage to move, without significant challenge, through the top layers of the American intelligence community and into the most sacrosanct of Presidential briefings? Who permitted it to go into the president's State of the Union speech? Was the message-the threat posed by Iraq-more important than the integrity of the intelligence-vetting process? Was the Administration lying to itself? Or did it deliberately give Congress and the public what it knew to be bad information?”

Associated Events

Quote, May 5, 2003

   “[The OSP] brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. ... By last fall [2002], the operation rivaled both the CIA and the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency, the DIA, as President Bush's main source of intelligence regarding Iraq's possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with al-Qaeda.” [New Yorker, 5/5/03]

Associated Events

Quote, May 12, 2003

   “It turns out that the intelligence community is really very much dominated by a small group of people in the Pentagon. Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, has more or less muscled his way into day-to-day intelligence operations. I wrote about an ad-hoc analytical group that began working in the Pentagon in the aftermath of September 11th, and which became formally known as the Office of Special Plans last August. The office is the responsibility of William Luti, the Under-Secretary of Defense, and its director is Abram Shulsky. They argued that the CIA and other agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, weren't able to understand the connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and the extent to which Iraq was involved in the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. They felt that these agencies didn't get it right because they didn't have the right point of view. The Pentagon group's idea was, essentially: Let's just assume that there is a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq, and let's assume that they have made weapons of mass destruction, and that they're still actively pursuing nuclear weapons and have generated thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons and not destroyed them. Having made that leap of faith, let's then look at the intelligence the CIA has assembled with fresh eyes and see what we can see. As one person I spoke to told me, they wanted to believe it was there and, by God, they found it.... If it is true that this Administration deliberately, from the very beginning, understood that the best way to mobilize the American people was to present Saddam as a direct national-security threat to us, without having the evidence beforehand that he was, that's, well, frankly, lying. That's the worst kind of deceit a President can practice. We don't elect our President to not tell us the real situation of the world, particularly when he sends kids to kill and be killed.... My view as a journalist is simple: you have to hold public officials to the highest possible standard. What's happened in America is very disturbing. All of us, as parents, don't want our children to lie to us, and, earlier, as children, don't want to be lied to by our parents. We all understand that integrity in a relationship is the core issue. The tragedy in America today is that we don't begin to impose on our national leaders the same standard which we hold so dear in our personal life. In other words, if we were to say, ‘Well, that's always happened,’ we'd almost be officially saying that there is a double standard—that what we can't tolerate in our personal life is O.K. in the most important officials we have, those officials with power not only over us but over our young men and women who go to fight, and over the people they kill. If we start saying that anything less than the highest standard is tolerable, we're really destroying democracy. Democracy exists on the basis of truth.” [New Yorker, 5/12/03]

Associated Events

Quote, October 2003

   “Over the next year [1998], a former American intelligence officer told me, at least one member of the UN inspection team who supported the American and British position arranged for dozens of unverified and unverifiable intelligence reports and tips-data known as inactionable intelligence-to be funneled to MI6 operatives and quietly passed along to newspapers in London and elsewhere. ‘It was intelligence that was crap, and that we couldn't move on, but the Brits wanted to plant stories in England and around the world,’ the former officer said. There was a series of clandestine meetings with MI6, at which documents were provided, as well as quiet meetings, usually at safe houses in the Washington area. The British propaganda scheme eventually became known to some members of the UN inspection team. ‘I knew a bit,’ one official still on duty at UN headquarters acknowledged last week, ‘but I was never officially told about it.’” [New Yorker, 3/31/03]

Associated Events

Quote, May 1, 2004

   “Taguba's report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority.” [The New Yorker, 5/10/2004]

Associated Events

Quote, May 15, 2004

   “Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of elite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.” [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Seymour Hersh actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 30, 2002: No Plea Bargain Sought in Case Against Moussaoui      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Zacarias Moussaoui.
Seymour Hersh of New Yorker magazine reveals that, despite a weak case against Zacarias Moussaoui, no federal prosecutor has discussed a plea bargain with him since he was indicted in November 2001. Hersh reports that “Moussaoui's lawyers, and some FBI officials, remain bewildered at the government's failure to pursue a plea bargain.” Says a federal public defender, “I've never been in a conspiracy case where the government wasn't interested in knowing if the defendant had any information—to see if there wasn't more to the conspiracy.” Apparently a plea bargain isn't being considered because Attorney General Ashcroft wants nothing less than the death penalty for Moussaoui. One former CIA official claims, “They cast a wide net and [Moussaoui] happened to be a little fish who got caught up in it. They know it now. And nobody will back off.” A legal expert says, “It appears that Moussaoui is not competent to represent himself, because he doesn't seem to understand the fundamentals of the charges against him, but I am starting to feel that the rest of us are crazier ... we may let this man talk himself to death to soothe our sense of vulnerability.” [New Yorker, 9/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Zacarias Moussaoui, John Ashcroft, Seymour Hersh
          

January 13, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) agent who received the Abu Ghraib prison photographs from Spc. Joseph Darby (see January 13, 2004), calls his boss, a colonel, who takes them to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez. [Signal Newspaper of Santa Clara, 7/4/2004] Within three days, a report on the photos makes its way to Donald Rumsfeld, who informs President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004] Within the Pentagon, few people are informed—unusually few—according to Hersh, who will later write that knowledge of the abuses were “severely, and unusually restricted.” A former intelligence official will tell him: “I haven't talked to anybody on the inside who knew; nowhere. It's got them scratching their heads.” Rumsfeld and his civilian staff, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and Gen. John P. Abizaid, reportedly try to suppress the issue during the first months of the year. “They foresaw major diplomatic problems,” according to a Pentagon official. [The New Yorker, 5/17/2004] According to one former intelligence official, the Defense Secretary's attitude is: “We've got a glitch in the program. We'll prosecute it.” The former official explains to Seymour Hersh, “The cover story was that some kids got out of control.” [The New Yorker, 5/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: John P. Abizaid, George W. Bush, The New Yorker, Criminal Investigation Division, Donald Rumsfeld, Seymour Hersh, Ricardo S. Sanchez
          

April 30, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       New Yorker magazine publishes an in-depth article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh on the Abu Ghraib abuses, as well as excerpts of the Taguba report (see February 26, 2004). The article includes some of the graphic photos of the abuses that were turned in by Spc. Joseph Darby (see January 13, 2004) in January. [The New Yorker, 5/5/2004] Soon thereafter, subordinates of Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith send out an “urgent” e-mail around the Pentagon warning officials not to read the Taguba report and not to mention the report to anybody including family members, even though major parts of it are now part of the public record. Newsweek later quotes a military lawyer as saying, that Feith has turned his office into a “ministry of fear.” [Newsweek, 6/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Joseph Darby, Douglas Feith, Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker
          

September 13, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       A marine who was a prison guard at Guantanamo in 2003 tells Seymour Hersh, anonymously, that he and his colleagues were encouraged by their squad leaders to “give the prisoners a visit” once or twice a month. This means they could rough them up. “We tried to [expletive] with them as much as we could—inflict a little bit of pain,” he says. But the fear of exposure held them back. “We couldn't do much. There were always news people there,” he says. “That's why you couldn't send them back with a broken leg or so. And if somebody died, I'd get court-martialed.” The mistreatment was often administered ad hoc. The marine says: “A squad leader would say, ‘Let's go—all the cameras are on lunch break.’ ” He also recalls hooding prisoners and then driving “them around the camp in a Humvee, making turns so they didn't know where they were. ... I wasn't trying to get information. I was just having a little fun—playing mind control.” A senior FBI official tells Hersh that FBI agents at Guantanamo have described similar activities. [The Guardian, 9/13/2004]
People and organizations involved: Seymour Hersh
          

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