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General Topic Areas

Pre-war planning
Prague Connection
Al Zarqawi allegation
Spying on the UN
Legal justification
Internal opposition
Alleged WMDs
Alleged al-Qaeda ties
The decision to invade
Politicization of intelligence
Aluminum tubes allegation
Weapons inspections
Africa-uranium allegation
Office of Special Plans
Pre-9/11 plans for war

Quotes from senior US officials

Iraq ties to terrorist allegations
Nuclear weapons allegations
Imminent threat allegations
Chemical and biological weapons allegations
WMD allegations
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Complete timeline of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: Spying on the UN


Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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January 2003-March 2003

       Officials in the Bush administration debate whether or not they will seek a second UN resolution prior to invading Iraq. The debate centers on the issue of whether or not France and “other reluctant allies” will give in to US demands. The New York Times reports on January 17 that officials plan “to confront France, Germany and other skeptics of military action against Iraq by demanding that they agree publicly that Iraq had defied the United Nations Security Council.” Some officials believe that these nations can eventually be won over using a variety of incentives, including promises of contracts in post-Saddam Iraq. Other officials, however, believe that France will never submit to the US request, and are of the opinion that the US should “not bother to seek a second resolution condemning Iraq and authorizing the use of force.” [New York Times, 1/23/03 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration officials] Though the existence of this debate is a matter of the public record by mid-January, what is not known at this time is that some of those involved are probably obtaining their information from a “dirty-tricks” surveillance campaign that the intelligence services of the US, Britain, and possibly Australian, are conducting on the UN delegates of other UN Security Council members states (see January 31, 2003).

Late January 2003

       British officials order translators and analysts working at the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to cooperate with a US surveillance operation (see January 31, 2003), which is targeting diplomats from the “swing nations” on the Security Council—Chile, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Angola, Guinea and Pakistan. China, too, is likely a target of the mission. The espionage operation is “designed to help smooth the way for a second UN resolution authorizing war in Iraq.” [The Observer, 2/8/04 Sources: Unnamed sources close to the intelligence services] The surveillance campaign is likely known to the director-general of GCHQ, David Pepper, and Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, “who has overall responsibility for GCHQ.” [The Observer, 2/8/04] The operation reportedly causes “significant disquiet in the intelligence community on both sides of the Atlantic.” [The Observer, 2/8/04]
People and organizations involved: David Pepper, Jack Straw

January 31, 2003

       Frank Koza, chief of staff in the “Regional Targets” division of the US National Security Agency (NSA), which “spies on countries that are viewed as strategically important for United States interests,” emails a memo to senior NSA officials and the intelligence officials of certain unspecified foreign governments. The memo calls for the surveillance of the New York City homes and offices of UN delegates from countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria, Guinea and Pakistan. According to The Observer, the memo suggests that the surveillance operation should include the “interception of ... [their] home and office telephones and the emails....” The memo discusses the need to learn how the member states would vote on future resolutions submitted to the UN Security Council by the US and Britain. It refers to the importance of learning and understanding the “policies,” “negotiating positions,” “alliances” and “dependencies” —the “whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises.” Intelligence resulting from the surveillance would be used for the United States' “QRC,” or Quick Response Capability, “against” the key delegations. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, London Observer reporter Martin Bright, who helps expose the operation, will say that he believes the US motive for extending surveillance to the homes of UN delegates might have been to obtain incriminating personal information— “information which could be used against those delegates.” The spy operation is requested by US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Other Bush administration officials, however, reportedly oppose the operation because of fears that its discovery could result in serious consequences. According to Professor John Quigley of Ohio University, “While the bugging of foreign diplomats at the UN is permissible under the US Foreign Intelligence Services Act, it is a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.” US intelligence experts interviewed by The Observer say that an operation like this would have been known to Donald Rumsfeld, CIA director George Tenet and NSA Chief General Michael Hayden. [The Observer, 3/2/03; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/6/03; The Observer, 3/9/03 Sources: January 31, 2003 NSA Memo]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Hayden, Donald Rumsfeld, Frank Koza  Additional Info 

February 2003

       The January 31 National Security Agency (NSA) memo, written by a “Frank Koza,” calling for the surveillance of UN diplomats (see January 31, 2003) is leaked to The Observer by 29-year-old Katherine Gun, a British intelligence employee working for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as a translator. She will later be arrested on March 8 and charged with violating Britain's Official Secrets Act, though her case will eventually be dismissed. Two of the newspaper's reporters confirm Frank Koza's identity with a call to the NSA. The Observer later explains: “The NSA main switchboard put The Observer through to extension 6727 at the agency which was answered by an assistant, who confirmed it was Koza's office. However, when The Observer asked to talk to Koza about the surveillance of diplomatic missions at the United Nations, it was then told ‘You have reached the wrong number.’ On protesting that the assistant had just said this was Koza's extension, the assistant repeated that it was an erroneous extension, and hung up.” The Observer also shows the memo to three former intelligence operatives who deem the language and content of the memo authentic. Additionally, Matthew M. Aid, a historian whose area of expertise is intelligence and who is writing a book on the NSA, will later tell the Baltimore Sun that he recognizes the name “Koza” as that of a “senior operational manager” at the NSA. [Observer, 3/2/03; The Observer, 3/9/03; Baltimore Sun, 3/4/03; Guardian, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Katherine Gun, Frank Koza

February 2003-March 2003

       The US and British conduct a spy operation targeting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other top UN officials. But news of this will not surface until February 2004. “[T]he UK ... was ... spying on Kofi Annan's office and getting reports from him about what was going on,” former British cabinet member Claire Short will tell BBC Radio 4's Today. When asked to elaborate, she says, “Well I know—I've seen transcripts of Kofi Annan's conversations.” [BBC, 2/26/04; Independent, 2/26/04; New York Times, 2/27/04; Guardian, 2/28/04 Sources: Claire Short] And in an interview with The Guardian one day later, Hans Blix will say that he believes he too was bugged. [Guardian, 2/28/04 Sources: Hans Blix] Under international treaties, it is illegal for member states to spy on UN offices. [Sydney Morning Herald, 2/28/04; New York Times, 2/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Kofi Annan, Hans Blix, Claire Short

March 2003

       Diplomats from 6 UN Security Council member-states secretly meet one night to write an alternative resolution to the US-British-Spanish draft (see February 24, 2003). The compromise resolution would give UN weapons inspectors additional time to complete their work. But the next morning, a US diplomat contacts the Mexicans and tells them not to proceed with the alternative draft. Former Mexican Ambassador to the UN Aguilar Zinser will tell the Associated Press almost a year later: “Only the people in that room knew what that document said. Early the next morning, I received a call from a US diplomat saying the United States found that text totally unacceptable.” [The Observer, 2/15/04; Associated Press, 2/12/04 Sources: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser] “'When they [the US] found out, they said, ‘You should know that we don't like the idea and we don't like you to promote it.’ ” Zinser will also tell The Observer. [The Observer, 2/15/04] Aguilar Zinser believes that US knowledge of the secret initiative meant that the meeting had been under surveillance. “It was very obvious to the countries involved in the discussion on Iraq that we were being observed and that our communications were probably being tapped,” Aguilar Zinser will later explain to the Associated Press. “The information was being gathered to benefit the United States.” [The Observer, 2/15/04; Associated Press, 2/12/04 Sources: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser] Chile will make similar claims, saying that its UN mission telephones were under surveillance. [Associated Press, 2/12/04]
People and organizations involved: Adolfo Aguilar Zinser

March 2, 2003

       The Observer breaks the Koza memo (see January 31, 2003) story. Neither the US State Department nor the White House denies the authenticity of the leaked memo. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tells reporters, “As a matter of long-standing policy, the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence.” And Patrick Weadon, speaking for the NSA, says, “At this point, we're not issuing a statement.” [The Sydney Morning Herald, 3/4/03; Washington Post, 3/4/03; Baltimore Sun, 3/4/03] The intended victims of the operation are deeply angered by the memo. President Ricardo Lagos demands an immediate explanation from the US and Chile's ambassador to Britain Mariano Fern�ndez explains to The Observer, “We cannot understand why the United States was spying on Chile. We were very surprised. Relations have been good with America since the time of George Bush Senior.” [The Observer, 3/9/03] Martin Bright, one of the reporters who helped break the story, later tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the exposed operation has “caused an enormous diplomatic rift between the Chileans and the Americans and the UK.” He says he believes that the leaked memo is partially responsible for Chile's increasingly defiant stance at the UN. The UN quickly begins a top-level investigation of the spy operation. [Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/6/03; The Observer, 3/9/03] The Observer notes that the leaked memo could make it more difficult for the US to obtain UN authorization to wage war on Iraq. [The Observer, 3/2/03] The US media networks largely ignore the story. Though NBC, CNN, and Fox News Channel all arrange for interviews with Martin Bright soon after the story is broken, all three quickly cancel. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Bright explains, “It happened with NBC, Fox TV and CNN, who appeared very excited about the story to the extent of sending cars to my house to get me into the studio, and at the last minute, were told by their American desks to drop the story.” [Salon, 3/3/03; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo Lagos, Ari Fleischer, Patrick Weadon, Britain Mariano Fern£ndez

December 2003

       The Mexican government sends a series of diplomatic letters to British Foreign Minister Jack Straw asking the minister if the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had spied on UN Security Council member states prior to the US-British invasion of Iraq. [The Observer, 2/15/04; Reuters, 2/14/04] To date, no response has been received. Nor has the British Foreign Office responded to inquiries from the press.
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks

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