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Profile: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

 
  

Positions that Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has held:



 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, May 1, 2003

   “While there have been occasions in the past when intelligence has been deliberately warped for political purposes, never before has such warping been used in such a systematic way to mislead our elected representatives into voting to authorize launching a war. You may not realize the extent of the current ferment within the intelligence community and particularly the CIA. In intelligence, there is one unpardonable sin—cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy. There is ample indication that this has been done in Iraq.” They called the skewing of intelligence “a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions.” [Times, 5/31/03, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 5/1/03, Reuters, 5/30/03]

Associated Events

Quote, August 22, 2003

   “... personal visitations of that frequency and duration—and for that purpose—are unprecedented in the history of the CIA. Equally unprecedented are Cheney's ‘multiple visits.’ When George H. W. Bush was vice president, not once did he go out to CIA headquarters for a working visit. We brought our analysis to him. ... once the subjects uppermost in policymakers' minds are clear to analysts, the analysis itself must be conducted in an unfettered, sequestered way—and certainly without the direct involvement of officials with policy axes to grind. Until now, that is the way it has been done; the analysis and estimates were brought downtown to the policymakers—not the other way around.” [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 08/22/03]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity actively participated in the following events:

 
  

February 5, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       After months of delay, the US State Department provides the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the Niger documents (see Late 2001). The State Department includes the following caveat with the documents: “We cannot confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims.” French nuclear scientist Jacques Bautes, head of the UN Iraq Nuclear Verification office, quickly determines they are fakes. [Independent, 7/10/03; The Washington Post, 7/20/03] Several months later, Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the IAEA, will describe to reporters the ease with which the documents' authenticity was determined. “These were blatant forgeries. We were able to determine that they were forgeries very quickly.” [Independent, 6/5/03] When Jacques Bautes asks for an explanation from the US, there is no response. “What do you have to say? They had nothing to say,” Baute will later say in an interview with Seymour Hersh. [New Yorker, 3/31/03] There are numerous indications that the documents are forgeries.
Several of the names and titles of officials mentioned in the documents are incorrect. For example, one of the letters is purportedly signed by Niger's President Tandja Mamadou. The signature is said to be an obvious forgery. An unnamed IAEA official will tell Reuters, “It doesn't even look close to the signature of the president. I'm not a (handwriting) expert but when I looked at it my jaw dropped.” [Knight Ridder, 6/13/03; Reuters, 3/26/03; New Yorker, 3/31/03; Reuters, 3/26/03; Globe and Mail, 3/8/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official from the IAEA] Another, dated October 10, 2000, is signed “Alle Elhadj Habibou” —Niger's foreign minister who had not been in office since 1989. [Reuters, 3/26/03; New Yorker, 3/31/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official from the IAEA] The signature of one document is signed by a Niger official who had left his position ten years earlier. [Knight Ridder, 6/13/03] Another letter includes the forged signature and seal of Wissam al-Zahawie, Iraq's former ambassador to the Vatican. When Mr. Al-Zahawie is interviewed by the IAEA, he informs the agency that it was standard procedure for all diplomatic notes to be initialed and sealed, while letters were only to be signed—with no seal. He explains that correspondences were never both signed and sealed. [Independent, 8/10/03a Sources: Wissam al-Zahawie]
In addition to problems with signatures and seals, there are other problems as well. One letter is on the wrong letterhead. [Knight Ridder, 6/13/03] The “letterhead was out of date and referred to Niger's ‘Supreme Military Council’ from the pre-1999 era—which would be like calling Russia the Soviet Union,” reports Reuters [Reuters, 3/26/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official from the IAEA]
Yet another letter, purported to be from the president of Niger, refers to his authority under the country's obsolete 1965 constitution. [Reuters, 3/26/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official from the IAEA]
Also, in some letters, French words are misspelled and dates do not match the day of the week. [Mercury News, 3/18/03]
The IAEA also points out that the amount of uranium which Iraq is purportedly interested in purchasing is unrealistic. Seymour Hersh, writing for the New Yorker, explains: “The large quantity of uranium involved should have been another warning sign. Niger's ‘yellow cake’ comes from two uranium mines controlled by a French company, with its entire output pre-sold to nuclear power companies in France, Japan, and Spain. ‘Five hundred tons can't be siphoned off without anyone noticing,’ ... [an] IAEA official told me.” [New Yorker, 3/31/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official from the IAEA] The identity of the person or group responsible for creating the forged documents is never uncovered, though quoted sources and knowledgeable observers offer suggestions. According to some unnamed sources, a con artist eager to make money was behind the documents. [Globe and Mail, 3/8/03; Novak, 7/14/03 Sources: Unnamed sources] In a memo to President Bush, an organization of former intelligence officers calling themselves the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity suggest the possibility that “amateur intelligence operatives in the Pentagon basement and/or at 10 Downing Street” were involved in fabricating the forged documents. [Veteran Intelligence Professionals, 3/28/03 Sources: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity] In October 2003, a former high-level intelligence official tells Seymour Hersh that disgruntled former CIA operatives had fabricated the documents themselves in 2002 hoping that when the letters were exposed as fakes the administration's case for war would be discredited. [New Yorker, 10/20/03 Sources: former high-level intelligence official] Several months before hand, Hersh had suggested the possibility that the documents had been the product of a British propaganda program, revealed later as Operation Mass Appeal. [New Yorker, 10/20/03] It is also speculated that Iraqi exiles may have had a hand in the forged letters. [New Yorker, 3/31/03] Still another source suggests to investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss that the creators of the documents might have been the group of “Israelis close to the Lukid party” who were supplying the Office of Special Plans with intelligence (see September 2002). [The Nation, 7/7/03 Sources: Unnamed former official]
People and organizations involved: Alle Elhadj Habibou, Jacques Bautes, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Mohamed ElBaradei, Wissam al-Zahawie, Tandja Mamadou  Additional Info 
          

May 1, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity writes an open letter to President George W. Bush, warning him that the intelligence being used to make policy decisions was being manipulated. The group writes: “While there have been occasions in the past when intelligence has been deliberately warped for political purposes, never before has such warping been used in such a systematic way to mislead our elected representatives into voting to authorize launching a war. You may not realize the extent of the current ferment within the intelligence community and particularly the CIA. In intelligence, there is one unpardonable sin—cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy. There is ample indication that this has been done in Iraq.” They call the skewing of intelligence “a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions.” [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 5/1/03; Reuters, 5/30/03; Times, 5/31/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
          

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