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Key Events

Key events related to DSM (56)

General Topic Areas

Alleged al-Qaeda ties (83)
Politicization of intelligence (80)
Pre-9/11 plans for war (34)
Weapons inspections (122)
Alleged WMDs (99)
The decision to invade (104)
Internal opposition (29)
Motives (53)
Pre-war planning (30)
Predictions (19)
Legal justification (96)
Propaganda (23)
Public opinion on Iraqi threat (13)
Diversion of Resources to Iraq (8)
Pre-war attacks against Iraq (18)

Specific Allegations

Aluminum tubes allegation (59)
Office of Special Plans (24)
Africa-uranium allegation (95)
Prague Connection (24)
Al Zarqawi allegation (10)
Poisons And Gases (5)
Drones (4)
Biological weapons trailers (18)

Specific cases and issues

Spying on the UN (8)
Outing of Jose Bustani (13)
Powells Speech to UN (13)
Chalabi and the INC (63)

Quotes from senior US officials

Chemical and biological weapons allegations (23)
Imminent threat allegations (5)
Iraq ties to terrorist allegations (15)
Nuclear weapons allegations (29)
WMD allegations (9)
Democracy rhetoric (33)
Decision to Invade quotes (16)
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Events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq

 
  

Project: Inquiry into the decision to invade Iraq

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Showing 301-400 of 910 events (use filters to narrow search):    previous 100    next 100

Late March 2002

       After Dick Cheney's 10-day trip across the Middle East, during which he was told by several Middle East leaders that their respective governments would not support an invasion of Iraq, an official tells the Telegraph of London: “I don't think it will change the administration's thinking. We are quite determined on this account.” [Telegraph, 3/24/02]
          

April 2002-March 2003

       The US State Department begins the “Future of Iraq” project aimed at developing plans for post-Saddam Iraq. The project eventually evolves into the collaborative effort of some seventeen working groups involving more than 200 exiled Iraqi opposition figures and professionals including jurists, academics, engineers, scientists and technical experts. These groups meet on numerous occasions over the next eight to ten months, preparing plans to address a wide range of issues. The seventeen working groups include: Public Health and Humanitarian Needs; Water, Agriculture and the Environment; Public Finance and Accounts; Transitional Justice; Economy and Infrastructure; Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, and Migration Policy; Foreign and National Security Policy; Defense Institutions and Policy; Civil Society Capacity-Building; Public and Media Outreach; Economic and Infrastructure; Local Government; Anti-Corruption Measures; Oil and Energy; Education; Free Media; and Democratic Principles. [Washington File, 1/23/02; US Department of State, 2/3/03; Washington File, 2/12/03; Free Press, 2/10/03; US State Department, 4/23/03; US News, 11/25/03; New York Times, 10/19/03; Washington Times, 6/5/02; United States Mission to the European Union, 10/4/02; Washington File, 12/16/02; US Department of State, 12/19/02; Washington File, 12/16/02; United States Mission to the European Union, 10/11/02; Assyrian International News Agency, 10/31/02; US Department of State, 10/11/02]
Problems and setbacks - The project suffers from a serious lack of interest and funds. In July, the Guardian reports, “Deep in the bowels of the US State Department, not far from the cafeteria, there is a small office identified only by a handwritten sign on the door reading: ‘The Future of Iraq Project.’ .... [T]he understaffed and underfunded Future of Iraq Project has been spending more effort struggling with other government departments than plotting Saddam's downfall.” [Guardian 7/10/02]

Achievements - The $5 million project ultimately produces 13 volumes of reports consisting of some 2,000 pages of what is described as varying quality. The New York Times will later report: “A review of the work shows a wide range of quality and industriousness.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]
The newspaper cites several examples:
“... the transitional justice working group, made up of Iraqi judges, law professors and legal experts, ... met four times and drafted more than 600 pages of proposed reforms in the Iraqi criminal code, civil code, nationality laws and military procedure.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The group studying defense policy and institutions expected problems if the Iraqi Army was disbanded quickly.... The working group recommended that jobs be found for demobilized troops to avoid having them turn against allied forces ...” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The democratic principles working group wrestled with myriad complicated issues from reinvigorating a dormant political system to forming special tribunals for trying war criminals to laying out principles of a new Iraqi bill of rights.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The transparency and anticorruption working group warned that ‘actions regarding anticorruption must start immediately; it cannot wait until the legal, legislative and executive systems are reformed.’” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The economy and infrastructure working group warned of the deep investments needed to repair Iraq's water, electrical and sewage systems.” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

“The free media working group noted the potential to use Iraq's television and radio capabilities to promote the goals of a post-Hussein Iraq ....” [New York Times, 10/19/03]

Impact of the project's work - After the US and British invasion of Iraq, Knight Ridder will report, “Virtually none of the ‘Future of Iraq’ project's work was used.” [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
It was “ignored by Pentagon officials,” the New York Times will also observe. [New York Times, 10/19/03] Iraq expert and former CIA analyst Judith Yaphe, who is one of the American experts involved in the “Future of Iraq” project, will tell American Prospect magazine in May 2003: “[The Office of the Secretary of Defense] has no interest in what I do.” She will also complain about how the Defense Department prevented the State Department from getting involved in the post-war administration of Iraq. “They've brought in their own stable of people from AEI [American Enterprise Institute], and the people at the State Department who worked with the Iraqi exiles are being kept from Garner,” she will explain. [American Prospect, 5/1/03] One of those people is Tom Warrick, the “Future of Iraq” project director. When retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, the first US administrator in Iraq, requests that Warrick join his staff, Pentagon civilians veto the appointment. [New York Times, 10/19/03; Knight Ridder, 7/12/03] Other sources will also say that the Pentagon purposefully ignored the work of the “Future of Iraq” project. Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who retires from the Pentagon's Near East/South Asia bureau on July 1, will tell Knight Ridder Newspapers that she and her colleagues were instructed by Pentagon officials in the Office of Special Plans to ignore the State Department's concerns and views. “We almost disemboweled State,” Kwiatkowski will recall. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03] After the fall of Saddam Hussein, critics will say that several of the post-war problems encountered could have been avoided had the Pentagon considered the warnings and recommendations of the “Future of Iraq” project. [New York Times, 10/19/03; American Prospect, 5/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Judith Yaphe, Karen Kwiatkowski, Jay Garner, Tom Warrick
          

April 2002

       According to Arnaud de Borchgrave, the editor-at-large of the Washington Times, he learns in April 2002 from neoconservatives that the planned war against Iraq is not about WMD, but about reshaping the Middle East. In a February 2004 op-ed, he writes: “WMDs were not the principal reason for going to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq; they were the pretext. ... When this writer first heard from prominent neoconservatives in April 2002 that war was no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when,’ the casus belli had little to do with WMDs. The Bush administration, they explained, starkly and simply, had decided to redraw the geopolitical map of the Middle East. The Bush Doctrine of preemption had become the vehicle for driving axis-of-evil practitioners out of power.” [Washington Times, 2/10/2004]
People and organizations involved: Arnaud de Borchgrave
          

April 1-30, 2002

       US and British warplanes drop .3 tons of ordnance on targets in Iraq “no-fly” zones. [Statesman, 5/30/2005]
          

April 6-7, 2002

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair, on a visit to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas [Independent, 2/27/05] , tells the president that the UK intends to “support military action to bring about regime change.” [Guardian, 5/2/05; Daily Telegraph, 5/4/05] But Blair also says that certain conditions will have to be met. He says that efforts will have to be made to “construct a coalition,” “shape public opinion,” and demonstrate that all options to “eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors” have been exhausted. Additionally, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis should be quiescent, he says. [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05] During a joint press conference with Bush on the first day of their summit at Crawford, Blair is asked by a reporter if Bush has convinced him “on the need for military action against Iraq” and whether or not regime change “is now the policy of the British government.” Blair does not respond with a direct answer to either of the questions. [Downing Street, 4/6/02; White House, 4/6/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

April 19, 2002

       John Bolton, US ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), organizes a meeting with American members of the organization's staff. He arrives late, explaining that he was trying to find a replacement for the organization's director-general, Jose Bustani. He says during the meeting that the US has encountered “great difficulty finding people of the right caliber” because no one wants “to be associated with a dying organization.” But the staff had previously been told that the removal of Bustani would help revive the OPCW. Bolton then proceeds to explain that if the replacement is “like Bustani we will say ‘screw the organization. We'll dismantle our [chemical] weapons independently and monitor them ourselves.’” Bolton, referring to the US promise that the directorship would pass to another Latin American, complains that “Latin Americans are so characterized by sheer incompetence that they won't be able to make up their minds.” He tells the staff that “if any of this gets out of this room, I'll kill the person responsible.” [Guardian, 4/23/2002]
People and organizations involved: Jose M. Bustani, John R. Bolton
          

April 21-22, 2002

       Jose Bustani is removed from his position as director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons during an unusual special session that had been called by the US. Bolton and others in the State Department's arms-control bureau have been pressuring Bustani to resign since February (see March 2002; February 28, 2002; January 2002). They are upset about the OPCW chief's efforts to involve the organization in the evolving dispute between the US and Iraq over the latter's alleged arsenal of illicit weapons ; Between January 20, 2001 and June 2001). Only 113 nations of the organization's 145 members are represented at the meeting. Of those, 15 are not eligible to vote because of outstanding membership fees. [New York Times, 7/26/2002; Associated Press, 6/5/2005] Some of the delegates, according to the Guardian, may have been paid by the US to attend. And one of the member-states, Micronesia, gave permission to the US to vote on their behalf. [Guardian, 4/23/2002] Before the vote, Bustani denounces the Bush administration's allegations and tells the delegates that they must decide whether genuine multilateralism “will be replaced by unilateralism in a multilateral disguise.” [Sources: Statement by Jose Bustani, 4/21/2002] But the US delegation, intent on seeing that Bustani is removed, threatens to withhold US dues—22 percent of the organization's $60 million annual budget—if Bustani remains in office. A US refusal to pay its dues would likely force the organization to close. [BBC, 4/22/2002; New York Times, 7/26/2002; Associated Press, 6/5/2005] Bustani told a reporter the week before, “The Europeans are so afraid that the US will abandon the convention that they are prepared to sacrifice my post to keep it on board.” [Guardian, 4/16/2002] Only forty-eight members—less than one-third of the total membership—vote in favor of removing Bustani. But the no-confidence vote is nonetheless successful because 43 of the delegates abstain. Only seven votes are cast in opposition. [US Department of State (Vote Tally), 2002; Associated Press, 6/5/2005]
People and organizations involved: Bush administration, Jose M. Bustani
          

April 25, 2002

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesperson states, “Given what we know about al-Qaeda's interest in the material, we have to have concerns about a possible marriage between those who wish to acquire it and those who have it.” Immediately after the statement is made, Britain's own senior military officials refute the claim saying that there is no credible evidence to support the claim. A senior source tells the Independent of London, “We are not aware of evidence, intelligence or otherwise, that the Iraqi government or its agencies are passing on weapons of mass destruction to al-Qaeda. Nor have we seen any credible evidence linking the Iraqi government to the September 11 attacks.” [Independent, 3/26/02 Sources: Unnamed senior British military source]
          

April 28, 2002

       Newsweek reports that both US and Czech officials no longer believe the alleged April 2001 meeting between Mr. Atta and the Iraqi officer, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, ever took place (see April 8, 2001). The magazine reports that FBI and CIA investigations show no record that Atta visited Prague during that time and instead place the 9/11 plotter in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Florida during that month. [Washington Post, 5/1/02; BBC, 5/1/02; Newsweek, 4/28/01 Sources: Unnamed Czech intelligence officials, Unnamed US Intelligence Officials] But Interior Minister Stanislav Gross maintains that the meeting did take place. A few days after the Newsweek report is published, he says, “Right now I do not have the slightest information that anything is wrong with the details I obtained from BIS counterintelligence. I trust the BIS more than journalists.” [Prague Post, 5/8/02; BBC, 5/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohamed Atta, Stanislav Gross  Additional Info 
          

May 2002

       Defense Intelligence Agency analysts issue a “fabricator notice,” warning the intelligence community that the agency has determined (see Between February 12, 2002 and March 31, 2002) that Iraqi defector Mohammad Harith is of questionable reliability and recommending that agencies disregard any intelligence that he has provided. It also notes that Harith had been “coached by [the] Iraqi National Congress” on what to tell US interrogators. [Knight Ridder, 7/16/04; Reuters, 2/18/04; New York Times 2/13/04; Newsweek, 2/16/04 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence official] The classified memo is “widely circulated within intelligence agencies, including the DIA and CIA,” Newsweek will later report, citing unnamed intelligence officials. [Newsweek, 2/16/04 Sources: Linton Wells, Unnamed US Intelligence Officials] Almost a year later, in a presentation to the UN, Secretary of State Colin Powell will make the claim that Iraq has mobile biological weapons labs (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003), and cite Harith as one of intelligence's four sources. Explaining how the reference to a dubious source made its way into Powell's speech, the State Department will say that the “fabricator notice” had not been properly cross-referenced in intelligence computers. [Newsweek, 2/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Defense Intelligence Agency, Iraqi National Congress
          

(May 2002-February 2003)

       Karen Kwiatkowski escorts about half a dozen Israelis, including some generals, from the first floor reception area of the Pentagon to Douglas Feith's office. “We just followed them, because they knew exactly where they were going and moving fast,” she later explains. The Israelis are not required to sign in as is required under special regulations put into effect after the Sept. 11 attacks. Kwiatkowski speculates that Feith's office may have waived this requirement for the Israelis so that there would be no record of the meeting. [Inter Press Service, 8/7/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski]
          

May 1-31, 2002

       The US military steps up its attacks on targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones. [London Times, 5/29/05; London Times, 6/19/05] US and British warplanes drop 7.3 tons of ordnance on targets in Iraq “no-fly” zones during this month, compared with just .3 tons the previous month (see April 1-30, 2002). [Statesman, 5/30/2005] Two months later, British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon will say at a British cabinet meeting (see July 23, 2002) that the US has “begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime.”
People and organizations involved: United States
          

May 2002

       When asked at a news conference in Tampa about what kind of military force would be needed to invade Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks answers, “That's a great question and one for which I don't have an answer, because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that.” Two years later, Franks will be on the record saying Rumsfeld instructed him to draw war plans up in November 2001 (see November 27, 2001). [Washington Post, 5/24/2002; CBS News, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, George W. Bush
          

May 5, 2002

       Appearing on ABC's “This Week,” Colin Powell says, “The United States reserves its option to do whatever it believes might be appropriate to see if there can be a regime change.... US policy is that regardless of what the inspectors do, the people of Iraq and the people of the region would be better off with a different regime in Baghdad.” [BBC, 12/19/02; US Department of State, 5/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

May 27, 2002

       According to a report published by the website, Truthout, former US Air Force combat veteran Tim Goodrich tells the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) jury in Istanbul, Turkey: “We were dropping bombs then, and I saw bombing intensify. All the documents coming out now, the Downing Street Memo and others, confirm what I had witnessed in Iraq. The war had already begun while our leaders were telling us that they were going to try all diplomatic options first.” [Raw Story, 6/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Tim Goodrich
          

Summer 2002

       Reporter and author Ron Suskind meets with a unnamed senior adviser to Bush, who complains to Suskind about an article he recently wrote in Esquire magazine about Bush's communications director, Karen Hughes. In spite of his displeasure, the senior advisor says, boastfully: Guys like you are “in what we call the reality-based community”—people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” [The New York Times Magazine, 10/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Karen Hughes, Ron Suskind
          

(Early Summer 2002)

       National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice learns that Department of Energy scientists disagree (see (Mid-July 2001)-August 17, 2001) with the CIA's assessment (see July 2001-2003) that a shipment of aluminum tubes intercepted on their way to Iraq (see July 2001) were to be used in a uranium enrichment program. According to the New York Times, “Months before, her staff had been told that these experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were probably intended for small artillery rockets.” [New York Times, 10/3/04 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration officials]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice
          

Summer 2002

       Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz secretly meets with Francis Brooke, the Iraqi National Congress' lobbyist, and Khidir Hamza, the former chief of Iraq's nuclear program. Wolfowitz asks Hamza if he thinks the aluminum tubes (see July 2001) could be used in centrifuges. Hamza—who has never built a centrifuge and who is considered an unreliable source by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (see July 30, 2002) —looks at the tubes' specifications and concludes that the tubes are adaptable. Wolfowitz disseminates Hamza's assessment to several of his neoconservative colleagues who have posts in the administration. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 281]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Khidir Hamza, Francis Brooke
          

Summer 2002

       Claire Short, the British secretary for international development who later resigns in protest of the impending invasion of Iraq, will say in June 2003 that three senior British Intelligence officials told her before the war that Bush and Blair's decision to attack Iraq had been made sometime during the summer of 2002 and that it would likely begin in mid-February 2003. “Three extremely senior people in the Whitehall system said to me very clearly and specifically that the target date was mid-February.” Furthermore, Short will learn, the decision by Blair's government to participate in the US invasion of Iraq bypassed proper government procedures and ignored opposition to the war from Britain's intelligence quarters. [Guardian, 6/18/03 Sources: Claire Short]
People and organizations involved: Claire Short
          

Summer 2002

       Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, says that “informants within the Iraqi intelligence community,” have revealed “that Hussein's VX stockpile is far larger than the 3.9 tons Iraq reported—something UNSCOM inspectors have long suspected,” reports The Washington Post. “Chalabi also says that the VX had been converted into a dry salt for long term storage and was positioned in various sites across Iraq for use in the event of a foreign attack. UNSCOM officials said the account seemed credible, given what was learned about Iraq's VX program in the final months of weapons inspections.” [Washington Post, 7/31/02]
People and organizations involved: Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi
          

June 2002-March 2003

       The frequency of US and British aerial attacks against targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones increases dramatically as part of Operation Southern Focus. [London Times, 5/29/2005; New York Times, 7/20/2003; Washington Post, 1/15/2003; Time, 11/27/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002] According to the London Times, US and British planes drop twice as many bombs on Iraq during the second half of 2002 as they did during the entire year of 2001. [London Times, 5/29/2005] Between June 2002 and March 19, 2003, US and British planes fly 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq, dropping 606 bombs on 391 carefully selected targets. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003; London Times, 6/27/2005; New York Times, 7/20/2003] As Timur Eads, a former US special operations officer, notes in January 2003: “We're bombing practically every day as we patrol the no-fly zones, taking out air defense batteries, and there are all kinds of CIA and Special Forces operations going on. I would call it the beginning of a war.” [Boston Globe, 1/6/2003] The airstrikes, which occur primarily in the southern no-fly zone, are also becoming more strategic, targeting Iraq's surface-to-air missiles, air defense radars, command centers, communications facilities, and fiber-optic cable repeater stations. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003; Time, 11/27/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002] The repeater stations are bombed in order to disrupt the network of fiber-optic cables that transmit military communications between Baghdad and Basra and Baghdad and Nasiriya. “They wanted to neutralize the ability of the Iraqi government to command its forces; to establish control of the airspace over Iraq; to provide air support for Special Operations forces, as well as for the Army and Marine forces that would advance toward Baghdad; and to neutralize Iraq's force of surface-to-surface missiles and suspected caches of biological and chemical weapons,” the New York Times reports in July 2003. [New York Times, 7/20/2003] “We're responding differently,” one Pentagon official explains to Time magazine in November 2002. “[We're] hitting multiple targets when we're fired upon—and they're tending to be more important targets.” [Time, 11/27/2002] Some time after the invasion, a US general reportedly says (see July 17, 2003) at a conference at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base “that he began taking out assets that could help in resisting an invasion at least six months before war was declared.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/19/2005 Sources: Charlie Clements]
People and organizations involved: United States, Britain
          

June 2002

       In Paris, an unnamed Pentagon official (either Harold Rhode or Larry Franklin) meets with Manucher Ghorbanifar (Ghorbanifar says he did not attend this meeting [Washington Monthly, 9/2004] ), an Iranian arms trader who had been a central figure in the Iran-Contra affair. [Washington Post, 8/9/03; New York Times, 12/7/03] Though an unnamed senior Defense official claims the meeting resulted from “an unplanned, unscheduled encounter,” [Washington Post, 8/9/03] Ghorbanifar later tells the Washington Monthly that “he arranged that meeting after a flurry of faxes between himself and DoD official Harold Rhode.” According to Ghorbanifar, an Egyptian and an Iraqi are present at the meeting and brief the Pentagon official about the general situation in Iraq and the Middle East, and what would happen in Iraq if the US were to invade. [Washington Monthly, 9/2004] But other reports will suggest that Ledeen and Ghorbanifar may have discussed US collaboration with the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, a US-designated terrorist group, as a means to destabilize the Iranian regime. [Boston Globe, 8/31/2004] The meeting, which took place without White House approval, was preceded by a similar meeting involving Pentagon officials and Ghorbanifar that took place seven months earlier (see December 2001). [Washington Post, 8/9/03] When Secretary of State Colin Powell learns of the meeting, he complains directly to Condoleezza Rice and the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. [Newsday, 8/9/03; Washington Post, 8/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Harold Rhode, Larry Franklin, Manucher Ghorbanifar, Colin Powell, Michael Ledeen
          

June 2002

       The CIA issues a classified report titled, “Iraq and al-Qaeda: A Murky Relationship,” which reportedly expresses doubts that Iraq is involved in international terrorism. [Washington Post, 10/20/02; New York Times, 4/28/04; Telegraph, 7/11/04] Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith informs Donald Rumsfeld that the report should be read “for content only—and CIA's interpretation should be ignored.” [Telegraph, 7/11/04]
People and organizations involved: Douglas Feith, Donald Rumsfeld
          

June 1-30, 2002

       US and British warplanes drop 10.4 tons of ordnance on targets in Iraq “no-fly” zones. [Statesman, 5/30/2005]
          

Summer 2002-2003

       Current and former top US military brass dispute White House claims that Iraq poses an immediate threat to the US and that it must be dealt with militarily. In late July 2002, The Washington Post reports that “top generals and admirals in the military establishment, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” believe that Saddam Hussein's regime “poses no immediate threat and that the United States should continue its policy of containment rather than invade Iraq to force a change of leadership in Baghdad.” The report says that the military officials' positions are based “in part on intelligence assessments of the state of Hussein's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and his missile delivery capabilities.” The newspaper says that there are several reasons why these dissident officers disagree with their civilian bosses. They worry that if Saddam Hussein is removed, Iraq could “split up, ... potentially leading to chaos and the creation of new anti-American regimes and terrorist sanctuaries in the region.” It is also possible, they say, that an invasion of Iraq could provoke Saddam Hussein into using whatever weapons of mass destruction he may have. And even if the invasion is successful, the aftermath could see “mass instability, requiring tens of thousands of US troops to maintain peace, prop up a post-Saddam government, and prevent the fragmentation of Iraq,” the military brass warns. Their position is that the US should continue its policy of containment, specifically sanctions and the enforcement of the US- and British- imposed “no-fly” zones. [The Washington Post, 7/28/02] Responding to the dissenting opinions of these military officials, Richard Perle, current chairman of the Defense Policy Board, says that the decision of whether or not to attack Iraq is “a political judgment that these guys aren't competent to make.” [The Washington Post, 7/28/02] A few days later, The Washington Post publishes another story along similar lines, reporting, “Much of the senior uniformed military, with the notable exception of some top Air Force and Marine generals, opposes going to war anytime soon, a stance that is provoking frustration among civilian officials in the Pentagon and in the White House.” Notably the division has created “an unusual alliance between the State Department and the uniformed side of the Pentagon, elements of the government that more often seem to oppose each other in foreign policy debates.” [The Washington Post, 8/1/02 Sources: Unnamed senior military officials] The extent of the generals' disagreement is quite significant, reports the Post, which quotes one proponent of invading Iraq expressing his/her concern that the brass' opinion could ultimately dissuade Bush from taking military action. “You can't force things onto people who don't want to do it, and the three- and four-star Army generals don't want to do it. I think this will go back and forth, and back and forth, until it's time for Bush to run for reelection,” the source says. [The Washington Post, 8/1/02 Sources: Unnamed US official] During the next several months, several former military officials speak out against the Bush administration's military plans, including Wesley Clark, Joseph P. Hoar, John M. Shalikashvili, Tony McPeak, Gen James L Jones, Norman Schwarzkopf, Anthony Zinni, Henry H. Shelton and Thomas G. McInerney. In mid-January 2003, Time magazine reports that according to its sources, “as many as 1 in 3 senior officers questions the wisdom of a preemptive war with Iraq.” They complain that “the US military is already stretched across the globe, the war against Osama bin Laden is unfinished, and ... a long postwar occupation looks inevitable.” [Time, 1/19/03]
People and organizations involved: Kim Holmes, Richard Perle, John M. Shalikashvili, Tony McPeak, James L. Jones, Joseph Hoar, Wesley Clark, Norman Schwarzkopf, Anthony Zinni, Thomas G. McInerney, Henry H. Shelton  Additional Info 
          

June 26, 2002

       Entifadh Qunbar, a lobbyist for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), sends a memo to the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in which he provides information about a State Department-funded intelligence program, known as the “information-collection program,” run by the INC. Qunbar, who says he is the overall manager of the group, states in the memo that under the program, “defectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed,” and “the results are reported through the INC newspaper (Al Mutamar), the Arabic and Western media and to appropriate governmental, nongovernmental and international agencies.” Information is also passed on to William Luti, who will later run the Office of Special Plans (see September 2002), and John Hannah, a senior national-security aide on Cheney's staff, who Qunbar describes as the “principal point of contact.” [Newsweek, 12/15/03; New York Times, 2/12/04 Sources: Memo] The memo provides a description of some of the people involved in the group and their activities. It says that the analytical group includes five analysts with a background in Iraq's military, Iraq's intelligence services and human rights. One person, a consultant, monitors the Iraqi government's alleged efforts to develop banned weapons. The five analysts process information and write reports, which are sent to Al Mutamar, the INC's newspaper, as well as the US government and many mainstream news organizations. Qunbar says that the information-collection program issued 30 reports between August 2001 and June 2002, which were sent to Al Mutamar. According to the memo, the group published 28 private reports in collaboration with the INC's headquarters in London. The memo reveals that between October 2001 and May 2002, information provided by the INC was cited in 108 articles published by a variety of English-language news publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, the New Yorker, CNN, Fox News, and several others. [New Yorker, 6/7/2004; New York Times, 2/12/04 Sources: Memo]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Entifadh Qanbar, Memo, Iraqi National Congress
          

June 28, 2002

       The National Review publishes an op-ed piece by Lawrence Kudlow, titled, “Taking back the market . . . by force,” in which he claims, “The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple thousand points.” Kudlow is the CEO of Kudlow & Co. [National Review, 6/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Research Unit for Political Economy
          

July 2002

       Australia's intelligence services report in a July 2002 assessment: “US agencies differ on whether aluminum tubes, a dual-use item sought by Iraq, were meant for gas centrifuges.” It adds that the tubes evidence is “patchy and inconclusive.” [New York Times, 10/3/04]
          

Mid-November 2002

       In an Interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz suggests, “If you're looking for a historical analogy, it's probably closer to post-liberation France [after World War II].” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/17/2002]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz
          

(Mid-August 2002)

       During a National Security Meeting at the White House, Condoleezza Rice suggests ending the attacks on Iraq's “no-fly” zones. But Gen. Tommy Franks disagrees. In his autobiography, “American Soldier,” he says he told Rice he wanted to continue the bombing in order to make Iraq's defenses “as weak as possible.” In his book, Franks uses the term “spikes of activity” to refer to the increase in bombing raids. [London Times, 6/19/05]
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, Condoleezza Rice
          

First week of July 2002

       Richard Haass, the director of the policy-planning staff at the State Department, meets with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. “I raised this issue about were we really sure that we wanted to put Iraq front and center at this point, given the war on terrorism and other issues,” he later recalls in an interview with the New Yorker. “And she said, essentially, that that decision's been made, don't waste your breath.” [New Yorker, 3/31/2003; The Mirror, 9/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Richard Haass
          

Mid-March 2002

       Deputy CIA Director John E. McLaughlin informs senior members of the president's national security team that the CIA is cutting back operations in Afghanistan. [Washington Post, 6/22/04]
People and organizations involved: John E. McLaughlin, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency
          

July 2002

       Michael Ledeen contacts Mel Sembler, the US ambassador to Italy, and informs him that he will be traveling to Rome again (see December 2001) to continue “his work” with the Iranians. Sembler passes this on to Washington, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley sends word to Ledeen reminding him that he is not to deal with the Iranians. [Washington Monthly, 9/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mel Sembler, Michael Ledeen, Stephen Hadley
          

Mid-January 2002

       Referring to the weapons inspectors upcoming January 27 report (see January 27, 2003), Colin Powell says in an interview with Saturday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, “We believe that at the end of the month it will be convincingly proven that Iraq is not cooperating.” [BBC, 1/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

July 2002-March 19, 2003

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime has or is seeking ties with international militant Islamic groups. [CBC News, 11/1/02; Washington Post 9/10/02; Sunday Herald, 10/13/02; Telegraph, 2/4/03; Wall Street Journal, 8/15/02; Baltimore Sun, 9/26/02; Radio Free Europe, 10/29/02; International Herald Tribune, 11/1/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02; Knight Ridder, 10/7/02; New York Times, 2/3/03; Independent, 2/9/03]
People and organizations involved: Vincent Cannistraro, Rohan Gunaratna, Tony Blair, Igor Ivanov, Saddam Hussein, Youssef M. Ibrahim, Jack Straw, Brent Scowcroft, Michael Chandler, George W. Bush, Vincent Cannistraro, Daniel Benjamin, Jean-Louis Brugui←re, MIchael O'Hanlon, Baltasar Garzon, US Department of State, 4/30/2001, Anna Eshoo, Richard Durbin, Jean Chretien  Additional Info 
          

July 1-31, 2002

       US and British warplanes drop 9.5 tons of ordnance on targets in Iraq “no-fly” zones. [Statesman, 5/30/2005]
          

Mid-January 2002

       By this time, more than 300 different inspections have been conducted in Iraq by the UN weapons inspection teams, which report no instances of Iraqi attempts to impede their access to the alleged weapons sites. [Associated Press, 1/18/03; Baltimore Sun, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03] The London Independent quotes one diplomat, who says, “Realistically, it is not going to be easy to see in the next two months that we will be able to say that Iraq is not cooperating.” [Independent 1/8/03] Inspectors also say that there are no signs that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction. An Associated Press report cites several specific cases of alleged weapons sites that the inspection teams—after repeated visits—have determined are not involved in the production of weapons of mass destruction. “UN arms monitors have inspected 13 sites identified by US and British intelligence agencies as major ‘facilities of concern,’ and reported no signs of revived weapons building.” [Associated Press, 1/18/03; Baltimore Sun, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03] And International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Weapons Inspector Mohamed ElBaradei tells reporters: “I think it's difficult for Iraq to hide a complete nuclear-weapons program. They might be hiding some computer studies or R. and D. on one single centrifuge. These are not enough to make weapons” (see January 11, 2003). [Time, 1/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed ElBaradei
          

Mid-January 2002

       After more than two months and more than 350 inspections, the UN teams have failed to find the arsenal of banned weapons the US and Britain claim Iraq has. Nor are there any signs of programs to build such weapons. The London Observer reports that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors are convinced Iraq does not have a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. “IAEA officials and intelligence sources admit it is extremely unlikely that Iraq has nuclear weapons squirreled away,” The Observer reports, explaining that “... the IAEA [had] revealed that analysis of samples taken by UN nuclear inspectors in Iraq ... showed no evidence of prohibited nuclear activity.” [Observer, 1/26/03; The Washington Post, 12/27/03; Los Angeles Times, 1/26/03]
          

July 10, 2002

       President George Bush says in a speech at the Cincinnati Museum Center: “Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.” [White House, 7/10/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 21, 2002

       The British Cabinet Office issues an eight-page briefing note to prepare officials for an upcoming meeting (see July 23, 2002) on Britain's role in the United States' confrontation with Iraq. The paper, titled “Conditions for Military Action,” addresses a number of issues including US invasion and post-war planning, legal justification for the use of military force, and what the US and British hope to achieve through “regime change.” [London Times, 5/2/05; Newsweek, 6/15/2005 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]
British support for use of military force against Iraq - The briefing summarizes the main points of Prime Minister Tony Blair's April meeting (see April 6-7, 2002) with President Bush, recalling that Blair pledged British support for “military action to bring about regime change” as long as “certain conditions” were met. Blair told Bush that the US and Britain would have to first develop a strategy to build a coalition and “shape public opinion.” Additionally, Britain would prefer that all “options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors [are] exhausted” and that the Israel-Palestine crisis be quiescent before going to war against Iraq. [Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

US objectives in Iraq - The briefing paper reports that US military planners see the removal of Saddam Hussein as the primary objective, to be “followed by [the] elimination of Iraqi WMD [weapons of mass destruction].” The briefing notes that within the British government there are doubts that “regime change,” by itself, would be sufficient to gain control over any WMD present in Iraq. [Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

Creating conditions necessary for legal justification - Noting that “US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community,” the briefing paper makes it clear that the British government believes “[r]egime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law.” Because Blair told Bush in April that the British would support military action against Iraq, it will be necessary develop a realistic political strategy that would involve, among other things, working with the US to create “the conditions necessary to justify government military action.” It is suggested in the briefing note that an Iraqi refusal to cooperate with weapons inspections could help create such conditions. Saddam Hussein would “likely” agree to admit inspectors and allow them to operate freely during the first six months of inspections when UNMOVIC is in the process of establishing a monitoring and verification system. After this point, the briefing notes, Hussein would probably begin limiting cooperating with inspectors. This would likely not occur until January 2003. Another alternative—one that would provide a legal basis for “regime change” much sooner—is that “an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject ... and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Daily Telegraph, 5/4/05; Guardian, 5/2/05; London Times, 5/2/05 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

US invasion plan - According to the briefing paper, US military planners seem to favor an invasion plan that would provide a “running start” to the ground invasion. It would consist of “[a]ir strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq [that] would lead initially to small-scale land operations.” It would likely begin around November 2002 “with no overt military build-up,” followed by the ground invasion that could commence as early as January 2003. The other option under consideration is the “generated start” plan, which would involve a longer build-up. [London Times, 5/2/05 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

US post-war plan - The briefing paper notes that US “military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace” —but with “little thought” to issues such as “the aftermath and how to shape it.” It predicts that a “post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise.” The Pentagon's plans “are virtually silent on this point,” the document notes, warning of the possibility that “Washington could look to [the British] to share a disproportionate share of the burden.” [Washington Post, 6/12/2005 Sources: Downing Street Briefing, 7/19/2002]

People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, George W. Bush
          

July 23, 2002

       Top British officials attend a meeting to discuss the UK's potential role in the Bush administration's confrontation with Iraq. According to the minutes of the meeting, transcribed by Matthew Rycroft, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the British intelligence service, MI6, says that during his last visit to Washington he noticed a “perceptible shift in attitude. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and [weapons of mass destruction]. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.” Furthermore, he states, Bush's National Security Council indicated it “had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record.” He also noted that there “was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.” [Salon (op-ed), 5/6/05; Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05 Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Foreign Minister Jack Straw appears to agree with Dearlove's assessment, saying that it seems clear that President Bush has already decided on using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. But Straw notes that the Bush administration's case against Saddam was “thin.” The Iraqi leader “was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran,” the minutes say, summarizing his remarks. [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] There is no indication in the minutes that anyone present at the meeting disputed Dearlove's or Straw's observations. [Sources: Downing Street Memo, 7/23/2002] Furthermore, the account provided by the intelligence official and Straw are corroborated by a former senior US official who is later interviewed by Knight Ridder. It is “an absolutely accurate description of what transpired,” the official will say. [Knight Ridder, 5/2/05] Straw proposes that the next step would be to “work up an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors,” which “would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05; Guardian, 5/2/05] Britain's attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, warns that “the desire for regime change [is] not a legal base for military action,” the minutes say. But Blair says that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/12/05] Finally, the officials agree that the British government “should continue to work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action” but “not ignore the legal issues.” [Guardian, 5/2/05] The minutes do not provide any indication that officials discussed how war might be avoided. [Salon, 6/10/2005] The minutes of this meetings will be revealed by the British Sunday Times three years later (see May 1, 2005). Commonly referred to as the “Downing Street Memo,” the minutes will re-spark the controversy over politicized intelligence.
People and organizations involved: Michael Boyce, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, Alastair Campbell, Peter Goldsmith, Richard Dearlove, Geoff Hoon, Jack Straw, Tony Blair  Additional Info 
          

July 26, 2002

       The 145-member Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) chooses Argentinean Rogelio Pfirter, 53, to replace Jose M. Bustani, the Brazilian diplomat who was outed from his position as director-general of the organization on April 22 (see 2003) under pressure from the US. The Bush administration had levied numerous charges against Bustani, chief among them that he was meddling in the United Nations' efforts to persuade Baghdad to admit international weapons inspectors. Pfirter, a lawyer and Argentina's former undersecretary for foreign policy, says he will not interfere in the ordeal. While all nations should join, he says in an interview with the New York Times, “we should be very aware that there are United Nations resolutions in effect” and that new members to the OCPW should not be sought “at the expense” of pledges to other international organizations. [New York Times, 7/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: Jose M. Bustani, Rogelio Pfirter
          

July 30, 2002

       Khidir Hamza, “who played a leading role in Iraq's nuclear weapon program before defecting in 1994,” tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that according to German intelligence, Iraq has “more than 10 tons of uranium and one ton of slightly enriched uranium ... in its possession” which would be “enough to generate the needed bomb-grade uranium for three nuclear weapons by 2005.” He says that Iraq is “using corporations in India and other countries to import the needed equipment for its program and channel it through countries like Malaysia for shipment to Iraq.” He also claims that Iraq is “gearing up to extend the range of its missiles to easily reach Israel.” The testimony is widely reported in the media. [CNN, 8/1/02; Guardian, 8/1/02; Telegraph, 8/1/02] Hamza, however, is considered by many to be an unreliable source. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security where Hamza worked as an analyst from 1997 to 1999, says that after Hamza defected “he went off the edge” and “started saying irresponsible things.” [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04; San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/02] And General Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law who was in charge of the dictator's former weapons program but who defected in 1995, told UNSCOM and IAEA inspectors at the time of his defection, as well as US and British intelligence, that Khidhir Hamza was not a reliable source (see August 22, 1995). [New Yorker, 5/5/03 Sources: UNSCOM Interview with Hussein Kamel, August 22, 1995] The IAEA will say in 2004 that before the US invasion of Iraq, it had warned journalists reporting on Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program that Hamza was not a credible source. “Hamza had no credibility at all. Journalists who called us and asked for an assessment of these people—we'd certainly tell them.” [New York Review of Books, 2/26/04 Sources: Unnamed IAEA staff member]
People and organizations involved: Hussein Kamel, Khidir Hamza, David Albright
          

July 30, 2002

       The White House formally announces plans to create a public diplomacy agency, to be called the Office of Global Communications, that will be charged with projecting a more positive image of the US abroad. [Guardian, 7/31/02; Washington Post, 7/30/02; CBS News, 7/30/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/5/03] It will help the world understand “what America is all about and why America does what it does,” says White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. The task formerly belonged to the State Department, but Bush's advisors didn't think it was “doing a good enough job, so they're going to take it on,” a former Coalition Information Center (CIC) official tells the Guardian. “Nobody [was] that impressed with Charlotte Beers [of the State Department] and what she's done. She listens to people. She's done a lot of listening, but you need to go further than that.” [Guardian, 7/31/02] This new public diplomacy office, said to the brainchild of Bush's senior advisor, Karen Hughes, has actually “existed for months, quietly working with foreign news media outlets to get the American message out about the war on terrorism,” according to CBS News. [CBS News, 7/30/02]
People and organizations involved: George Herbert Walker Bush, Hill and Knowlton
          

July 30, 2002

       The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) publishes a report, entitled, “Public Diplomacy: A Strategy for Reform,” concluding that, “There is little doubt that stereotypes of the United States as arrogant, self-indulgent, hypocritical, inattentive, and unwilling or unable to engage in cross-cultural dialogue are pervasive and deeply rooted.” As a solution, the report recommends developing “a coherent strategic and coordinating framework, including a presidential directive on public diplomacy and a Public Diplomacy Coordinating Structure led by the president's personal designee.” The short term public diplomacy objective would be to “influence opinions and mobilize publics in ways that support specific US interests and policies.” However, the long term goal would be to promote “dialogue in ways that are politically, culturally, and socially,” the report says. [Miami Herald, 8/13/02; Guardian, 7/31/02 Sources: Public Diplomacy: A Strategy for Reform]
People and organizations involved: Council on Foreign Relations
          

July 30, 2002

       Richard Butler, a former UN inspector from Australia, tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “I have seen no evidence of Iraq providing weapons of mass destruction to non-Iraqi terrorist groups.” [Associated Press, 8/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard Butler
          

Late July 2002

       A Congressional panel investigating the September 11 attacks concludes that there is no evidence that Mohammad Atta—under any of his known aliases—visited Prague in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). [Boston Globe, 8/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Mohamed Atta  Additional Info 
          

Late July -September 2002

       President Bush allegedly approves a request from the Pentagon for $700 million to help fund military preparations underway in the Gulf for war against Iraq. The charge is made by Bob Woodward in his book, Plan of Attack, released in the spring of 2004. [Woodward, 2004; CBS News, 4/18/04] The White House and Pentagon will deny the charge claiming that Bush only approved the spending of $178.4 million out of a requested total of $750 million. According to the Pentagon, $178.4 million is spent on 21 projects in Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. At least 11 of them are in Kuwait, which becomes the major staging ground for operations in Iraq. In that country alone, $24 million is spent constructing an ammunition storage and supply system for an Army brigade, and $15 million worth of communications equipment is installed at the Arifjan Base Camp. The military also builds a $3 million detention facility and a $6.5 million inland petroleum-distribution system. In Qatar, $36.4 million goes toward the construction of a forward headquarters facility for Central Command. [Wall Street Journal, 4/22/2004, pp A4] The money for these projects is taken from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War without congressional approval. [CBS News, 4/18/04]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          

July 31, 2002

       Joseph P. Hoar, a retired Marine Corps general who commanded American forces in the Persian Gulf after the 1991 war, warns the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the proposed invasion is both “risky” and possibly unnecessary. [New York Times, 8/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Joseph Hoar
          

August 2002

       After the State Department decides it will no longer provide the Iraqi National Congress (INC) with monthly payments, funding for the INC's “information collection” program and other covert operations is picked up by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) which begins providing Chalabi's group with a monthly stipend of $340,000. Under the DIA's rules, the INC is forbidden from publicly releasing any info about its intelligence program without written permission from the Pentagon. Under the State Department, the INC had been feeding stories to the media. The Defense Department tasks the INC with collecting intelligence on Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaeda, its presumed arsenal of WMD, and the whereabouts of Michael Scott Speicher, a US Navy pilot missing since being shot down during the first gulf war. Not withstanding its divorce with the INC, the State Department will continue supporting other INC initiatives, providing it with $8 million for its newspaper, anti-Hussein television broadcasts into Iraq, and regional offices and humanitarian relief programs. [New Yorker, 6/7/2004; Newsweek, 4/5/2004; Houston Chronicle, 3/11/2004; Washington Post, 8/16/2002]
People and organizations involved: Defense Intelligence Agency, US Department of State, Iraqi National Congress
          

(Early August 2002)

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush discuss over the phone their intention to topple Saddam Hussein's government. An unnamed White House official who later reads the transcripts of the 15-minute phone call will explain to Vanity Fair that it was clear from their conversation that the decision to invade Iraq had already been made. The magazine reports in April 2004: “Before the call, the official says, he had the impression that the probability of invasion was high, but still below 100 percent, Afterward, he says, ‘it was a done deal.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 284 Sources: Unnamed White House official]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Tony Blair
          

August 2002

       US satellite photos reportedly show increased activity near the Taji factory in Iraq, which US intelligence suspects may be involved in the production of anthrax. The facility is located 10 miles outside of Baghdad. [World Tribune, 8/14/02] But on August 20, a week after news of the satellite photos are reported, the Iraqi government allows 15 journalists, mostly Iraqis representing foreign presses, to tour the alleged weapons site. Reporters who tour the facility find “piles of 110-pound sacks of sugar and rice and boxes of milk covered the floor. Writing on the sacks [indicates] ... they were imported under the oil-for-food program that allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil provided the proceeds go for food, medicine and other supplies,” [Associated Press, 8/20/02] including powdered milk imported from Yemen, Vietnam, Tunisia and Indonesia and sacks of sugar imported from Egypt and India. [Saleh, 8/20/02] Iraq's trade minister, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, explains that the trucks captured by the satellite photos had been distributing foodstuffs from al-Taji to warehouses in the various provinces of Iraq. He states: “They [Americans] are checking every movement in Iraq, but a satellite cannot tell real information. This is rubbish information, actually rubbish information to convert baby milk and baby food and sugar to weapons of mass destruction.... We started to move food from this warehouse to supply stores in provinces early this month, and more specifically on August 4 as we started to distribute food rations every two months.... We have transported 2,500 tons of powdered milk in 187 trucks and not 60 trucks as the Americans said and we will continue (to do so).... If they enlarge the satellite photographs they can compare boxes of the baby milk moved from this site as they were not covered and boxes here.” [Saleh, 8/20/02] An enlargement of the pictures would have revealed the words, “Al-moudhish,” written on the packages—the brand name of the milk that had been imported from Oman. [Associated Press, 8/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Mehdi Saleh
          

August 1, 2002

       A panel of experts on Iraq warns the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that administering Iraq after the toppling of Saddam's government will be expensive and difficult. The panel says that “there are no obvious successors to Saddam Hussein and that the Bush administration should be prepared to help install and protect a pro-American government if it decides to topple him—a proposition, they added, that would be long and expensive,” the New York Times reports. “Nearly all the experts argued that setting up a stable, pro-Western government in Baghdad would require a huge infusion of aid and a long term commitment of American troops to maintain peace.” [New York Times, 8/2/02] Phebe Marr, a professor from the National Defense University who has written prolifically on Iraq, tells the panel, “If the US is going to take the responsibility for removing the current leadership, it should assume that it cannot get the results it wants on the cheap.” Scott Feil, a retired Army colonel who studies postwar reconstruction programs, says that 75,000 troops will be needed in Iraq to stabilize the country after Saddam is removed from power. He estimates that such a deployment will cost in excess of $16 billion per year. After the first 12 months, the colonel says that the force could be reduced in number, possibly to as low as 5,000, though this military presence would have to be maintained for at least another five years. In contrast, Caspar W. Weinberger, the secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan argues that the United States will not need to undertake a major effort in rebuilding Iraq. [New York Times, 8/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Phebe Marr, Caspar Weinberger, Scott Feil
          

August 2002

       The Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, also know as the “Wurmser-Maloof” project, which had been formed shortly after the September 11 attacks (see Shortly after September 11, 2001), is disbanded. [Reuters, 2/19/04]
          

August 2002

       Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] reservist and Penn-State political-science professor Chris Carney and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith give two presentations on Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaeda to the CIA at the agency's Langley headquarters. CIA analysts are not impressed, having seen much of the information before and having already determined that it was not credible. Some of the information will nevertheless be included in speeches by Bush and in testimony by Tenet to Congress. The information is also put into a classified memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee by Feith, which is later leaked to the Weekly Standard, a neoconservative magazine. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 238]
People and organizations involved: Douglas Feith, Chris Carney, US Congress
          

August 2002

       White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. forms the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, which aims to “educate the public” about the alleged threat from Iraq. A senior official involved with the group later describes it as “an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.” Members of the group include Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, and policy advisers led by Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, and I. Lewis Libby. They meet weekly in the White House Situation Room. A “strategic communications” task force under the WHIG is charged with planning speeches and writing white papers. [Washington Post, 8/10/2003] According to an intelligence source interviewed by the New York Daily News in October 2005, the group, on “a number of occasions,” will attempt “to push the envelope on things,”—“The [CIA] would say, ‘We just don't have the intelligence to substantiate that.’” [New York Daily News, 10/19/2005] An important part of the WHIG strategy is to feed their messages to friendly reporters such as New York Times reporter Judith Miller. James Bamford, in his book A Pretext for War, writes: “First OSP [Office of Special Plans] supplies false or exaggerated intelligence; then members of the WHIG leak it to friendly reporters, complete with prepackaged vivid imagery; finally, when the story breaks, senior officials point to it as proof and parrot the unnamed quotes they or their colleagues previously supplied.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 325]
People and organizations involved: Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Andrew Card, White House Iraq Group, Stephen Hadley, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Mel Sembler
          

(August 2002)

       Pentagon officials working in the Office of Special Plans visit George Tenet at CIA headquarters under the direction of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith to voice their objections to the final draft of a CIA assessment on Iraq's supposed links to militant Islamic groups. The officials disputed the report's conclusion that intelligence suggesting an alleged April 2001 Prague meeting between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani (see 1999) was not credible. As a result of Pentagon officials' objections, the CIA's assessment is postponed until September 18. Tenet will later say he “didn't think much of” the briefing. [Newsweek, 7/19/04; Telegraph, 7/11/04]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet
          

August 1-31, 2002

       US and British warplanes drop 14.1 tons of ordnance on targets in Iraq “no-fly” zones. [Statesman, 5/30/2005]
          

August 2002

       Retired Army General Henry H. Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells The Washington Post, “If we get drawn into something in Iraq, then our focus will go very heavily there, and it will be hard to sustain the momentum in the war on terrorism. That's the biggest danger that I see.” [The Washington Post, 9/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Henry H. Shelton
          

Early August 2002

       Several Pentagon officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, meet with the FBI's assistant director for counterterrorism, Pat D'Amuro, to discuss the latest intelligence concerning the alleged April 2001 (see April 8, 2001) meeting between 9/11 plotter Mohammed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. Wolfowitz pressures the FBI briefers to confirm that the Prague meeting had in fact happened. The FBI concedes that the occurrence of the meeting, though not proven, was at least possible. [Time, 9/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, Paul Wolfowitz, Mohamed Atta, Pasquale D'Amuro
          

August 2002

       General James L. Jones, the four-star commander of the Marine Corps who will be taking over as NATO's supreme allied commander, tells The Washington Times that toppling Iraq's government and defeating its army will be much more difficult than it was to remove the Taliban. “Afghanistan was Afghanistan; Iraq is Iraq,” he explains. “It would be foolish, if you were ever committed to going into Iraq, to think that the principles that were successful in Afghanistan would necessarily be successful in Iraq. In my opinion, they would not.” The general suggests that a large force will be needed to successfully invade the country. [Telegraph, 8/23/02]
People and organizations involved: James L. Jones
          

August 3, 2002

       US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton tells John Humphries of the BBC: “Let there be no mistake... our policy... insists on regime change in Baghdad and that policy will not be altered whether the inspectors go in or not... we are content that at the appropriate moment we will have the requisite degree of international support.” When Humphries asks, “But if you don't have it, and all the indications are that at the moment you won't, then what?” Bolton responds, bluntly: “We will have it Mr. Humphries.” [BBC, 4/29/2005]
People and organizations involved: John R. Bolton
          

August 4, 2002

       Appearing on CBS's “Face the Nation,” Brent Scowcroft warns that a unilateral invasion of Iraq could destabilize the Middle East and undermine efforts to defeat international anti-American militant groups. Scowcroft says: “It's a matter of setting your priorities. There's no question that Saddam is a problem. He has already launched two wars and spent all the resources he can working on his military. But the president has announced that terrorism is our number one focus. Saddam is a problem, but he's not a problem because of terrorism. I think we could have an explosion in the Middle East. It could turn the whole region into a cauldron and destroy the War on Terror.” [Times, 8/5/02]
People and organizations involved: Brent Scowcroft  Additional Info 
          

August 5, 2002

       US military planners decide that the operation to depose Saddam Hussein will begin with an air offensive—under the guise of enforcing the so-called “no-fly” zone —and Special Forces operations aimed at weakening Iraqi air defenses. This will begin without any formal declaration or authorization from the UN. Meanwhile the US and British will build up forces in Kuwait in preparation for a full-scale ground invasion. [London Times, 5/29/2005] The tonnage of ordnance dropped on targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones will increase dramatically over the next few months (see August 1-31, 2002) (see September 1-30, 2002) (see October 1-31, 2002).
          

(8:00 p.m.) August 5, 2002

       After dinner at the White House, Colin Powell speaks privately with George Bush and convinces him that international backing would be crucial for an invasion of Iraq and the inevitable occupation that would follow. Powell cites polls which indicate that a majority of Americans favor seeking a UN resolution. Bush reluctantly agrees. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pg 284]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, George W. Bush
          

August 7, 2002

       Speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, Cheney states, “Many of us, I think, are skeptical that simply returning the inspectors will solve the problem. A debate with [Mr Hussein] over inspectors simply, I think, would be an effort by him to obfuscate, delay and avoid having to live up to the accords that he signed up to at the end of the Gulf war.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02] In the speech, he also tells his audience that Saddam “sits on top of 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves. He has enormous wealth being generated by that,” adding, “And left to his own devices, it's the judgment of many of us that in the not too distant future he will acquire nuclear weapons.” [New York Times, 8/7/02; Observer, 8/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 12, 2002

       Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger writes an op-ed piece which is published in the paper edition of The Washington Post. In it, Kissinger argues against a unilateral preemptive strike against Iraq without first creating a new international security framework that allows for nations to conduct preemptive strikes only under specific limited conditions. Otherwise, Kissinger argues, such an action would set a dangerous precedent that other nations might attempt to use in justifying their own policies. [New York Times, 8/16/02; Fox News, 8/16/02; Times of London, 8/13/02; Independent, 8/17/02]
People and organizations involved: John Larson  Additional Info 
          

August 13, 2002

       Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joins Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his advisors for a meeting. Describing the meeting, the New York Times reports three days later that they “have decided that they should focus international discussion on how Iraq would be governed after Mr. Hussein—not only in an effort to assure a democracy but as a way to outflank administration hawks and slow the rush to war, which many in the department oppose.” [New York Times, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Henry A. Kissinger
          

August 15, 2002

       USA Today reports: “US intelligence cannot say conclusively that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, an information gap that is complicating White House efforts to build support for an attack on Saddam's Iraqi regime. The CIA has advised top administration officials to assume that Iraq has some weapons of mass destruction. But the agency has not given President Bush a ‘smoking gun,’ according to US intelligence and administration officials. The most recent unclassified CIA report on the subject goes no further than saying it is ‘likely’ that Iraq has used the four years since United Nations inspectors left the country to rebuild chemical and biological weapons programs.” [USA Today, 8/15/02 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence and administration officials]
          

August 15, 2002

       Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleberger says on ABC News that unless Mr. Hussein “has his hand on a trigger that is for a weapon of mass destruction, and our intelligence is clear, I don't know why we have to do it now, when all our allies are opposed to it.” [New York Times, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Lawrence Eagleburger
          

August 15, 2002

       Kenneth Adelman, a former Reagan official with close ties to senior Bush aides, “It'll be a piece of cake to get public support. The American people will be 90 percent for it. Almost nobody in Congress will object, and the allies will pipe down.” [The Washington Post, 8/18/02]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Kenneth Adelman
          

August 15, 2002

       The Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthhammer, speaking on “Inside Washington” in a discussion with fellow Post columnist Charlie King and Post military reporter Thomas Ricks, argues in favor of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. At one point, moderator Gordan Petersons asks what the US should do after deposing Saddam. Krauthhammer responds: “We don't speak about exit strategies; this is not Bosnia, or Haiti, or the Balkans. This is very important, everybody understands it, we are not going to run away. We are going to get there, and we are going to stay. We are going to try to make a reasonably civil society, reasonably pro-American, a good influence on the neighbors, and disarmed. That's a large undertaking, and I think we are absolutely [unintelligible] everybody who is supporting the war or the invasion is in favor of staying and doing the job.” When Thomas Ricks notes that Krauthhammer's proposal would involve nine of the US Army's ten active-duty divisions, he counters, “That assumption is entirely unwarranted. I think we will be accepted as liberators, as we were in Afghanistan.” He also shoots down a comment from Peterson referring to the cost of invading Iraq. “If we win the war, we are in control of Iraq, it is the single largest source of oil in the world, it's got huge reserves, which have been suppressed because of Iraq's actions, and Saddam's. We will have a bonanza, a financial one, at the other end, if the war is successful,” Krauthhammer explains. [WUSATV, 8/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Charles Krauthhammer
          

August 15, 2002

       In an interview broadcast by BBC Radio 4's Today Program, Condoleezza Rice says: “This is an evil man who, left to his own devices, will wreak havoc again on his own population, his neighbors and, if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, on all of us. There is a very powerful moral case for regime change. We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing.... Clearly, if Saddam Hussein is left in power doing the things that he is doing now, this is a threat that will emerge, and emerge in a very big way.... The case for regime change is very strong. This is a regime that we know has twice tried and come closer than we thought at the time to acquiring nuclear weapons. He has used chemical weapons against his own people and against his neighbors, he has invaded his neighbors, he has killed thousands of his own people. He shoots at our planes, our airplanes, in the no-fly zones where we are trying to enforce UN security resolutions.... History is littered with cases of inaction that led to very grave consequences for the world. We just have to look back and ask how many dictators who ended up being a tremendous global threat and killing thousands and, indeed, millions of people, should we have stopped in their tracks.” [Telegraph, 8/16/02; Times, 8/16/02; Guardian, 8/15/02; Reuters, 8/15/02] Interestingly, Rice does not say Iraq has chemical, biological or nuclear arms. Instead, she speaks of the danger Saddam would pose, “if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.” [USA Today, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice  Additional Info 
          

August 15, 2002

       Brent Scowcroft is the source of major embarrassment for the administration when he authors an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing against the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power. He says that the toppling of Saddam's regime would destabilize the Middle East and thus “turn the whole region into a cauldron and destroy the War on Terror.” Noting that “there is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks,” he calls on Bush to abandon his designs on Saddam Hussein and instead refocus his foreign policy on the war on terrorism. [Wall Street Journal] It is suggested that Scowcroft's criticisms probably reflect the feelings of the president's father. The Los Angeles Times reports: “Several former officials close to Scowcroft said they doubted he would have gone public with that posture without clearing the move first with the senior Bush, heightening questions about the latter's view on confronting Iraq. The former president has not commented publicly, which has only fed speculation.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/17/02]
People and organizations involved: Brent Scowcroft, George Herbert Walker Bush  Additional Info 
          

August 16, 2002

       After a spate of criticism of his administration's Iraq policy from several prominent Republican former US government officials, President George Bush says from his ranch in Mount Crawford, Texas: “I am aware that some very intelligent people are expressing their opinions about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. I listen very carefully to what they have to say. I'll continue to consult.... I will use all the latest intelligence to make informed decisions about how best to keep the world at peace, how best to defend freedom for the long run.... Listen, it's a healthy debate for people to express their opinion. People should be allowed to express their opinion. But America needs to know, I'll be making up my mind based upon the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies.” But he also adds, “There should be no doubt in anybody's mind that this man is thumbing his nose at the world, that he has gassed his own people, that he is trouble in his neighborhood, that he desires weapons of mass destruction.” [New York Times, 8/17/02; CNN, 8/16/02; Fox News, 8/16/02]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush  Additional Info 
          

August 18, 2002

       In a Washington Post op-ed piece, Zbigniew Brzezinski reprimands the Bush administration for its reckless foreign policy, saying that “war is too serious a business and too unpredictable in its dynamic consequences—especially in a highly flammable region—to be undertaken because of a personal peeve, demagogically articulated fears or vague factual assertions.” He adds that “[i]f it is to be war, it should be conducted in a manner that legitimizes US global hegemony and, at the same time, contributes to a more responsible system of international security.” He then makes several recommendations for improving US foreign policy, including a summary of “a wrong way for America to initiate a war.” [The Washington Post, 8/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Zbigniew Brzezinski  Additional Info 
          

August 18, 2002

       Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded allied forces during the Gulf War, warns against invading Iraq without the support of allies. He explains: “In the Gulf War we had an international force and troops from many nations. We would be lacking if we went it alone at this time.... It is not going to be an easy battle but it would be much more effective if we didn't have to do it alone.” [Times, 8/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Norman Schwarzkopf
          

August 19-21, 2002

       86 percent of those polled in a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll say they believe that Saddam Hussein supports groups “that have plans to attack the United States” and 53 percent think Saddam was “personally involved in the September 11 attacks.” The results are based on telephone interviews with 801 adults and the margin of error is estimated at 4 percent. [Gallup, 08/23/02]
          

August 20, 2002

       During an interview with Fox News, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mocks calls from Washington, Europe and the Arab world demanding that the Bush administration show them evidence to substantiate the hawk's claim that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the US and its allies. “Think of the prelude to World War Two,” the Defense Secretary says. “Think of all the countries that said, well, we don't have enough evidence. I mean, Mein Kampf had been written. Hitler had indicated what he intended to do. Maybe he won't attack us. Maybe he won't do this or that. Well, there were millions of people dead because of the miscalculations. The people who argued for waiting for more evidence have to ask themselves how they are going to feel at that point where another event occurs.” [Telegraph 8/21/02; Guardian 8/22/02; Fox News, 8/20/03] Rumsfeld also says during a news conference that according to “intelligence reports,” Saddam's government is “hosting, supporting or sponsoring” an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. Responding to a question about whether he has any evidence to support the claim that al-Qaeda is operating in Iraq, Rumsfeld states, “There are Al-Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq.... The suggestion that ... [Iraqi government officials] who are so attentive in denying human rights to their population aren't aware of where these folks [al-Qaeda] are or what they're doing is ludicrous in a vicious, repressive dictatorship.... [I]t's very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what's taking place in the country.” [New York Times 8/20/02] Shortly after Rumsfeld's remarks, a senior US intelligence official tells The Guardian that there is no evidence to back the defense secretary's claims. “They are not the official guests of the Government,” a second official says, adding that any al-Qaeda in the region are still “on the run.” [Guardian 8/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

August 20, 2002

       Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, citing various “intelligence reports,” claims that the Iraqi government is “hosting, supporting or sponsoring” an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. When asked if he has evidence to support this claim Rumsfeld responds: “There are al-Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq.... The suggestion that ... [Iraqi government officials] who are so attentive in denying human rights to their population aren't aware of where these folks [al-Qaeda] are or what they're doing is ludicrous in a vicious, repressive dictatorship.” He also says, “It's very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what's taking place in the country.” [US Department of Defense, 8/20/02; New York Times, 8/20/02] Shortly after the defense secretary's allegations, an unnamed intelligence official tells the Guardian, “They are not the official guests of the government,” adding that any al-Qaeda in the region are still “on the run.” A month later, Knight Ridder reports that according to an anonymous US official, Rumsfeld's charge is based on information from Kurdish opposition groups which are feeding information to the Pentagon. [Knight Ridder, 9/25/02; Guardian, 8/22/02 Sources: Unnamed US official, Unnamed US intelligence official]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

August 21, 2002

       Following a trip to several Middle Eastern countries, which included meetings with several diplomats and foreign dignitaries, US Representative John Larson warns that “the innocent slaughter of Muslims will create, in essence, what Osama bin Laden was unable to do, a united Islamic jihad against us.” [New Britain Herald, 8/22/02]
People and organizations involved: John Larson
          

August 23, 2002

       In a speech to the Economic Club of Florida in Tallahassee, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, who recently served as the president's special envoy to the Middle East, argues that there are more pressing issues than Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Specifically, he points to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instability in Afghanistan, the continuing existence of the al-Qaeda network, and the theocracy in Iran. He adds that the proposed war with Iraq would be expensive and would put considerable strain on the military's resources, which already are “stretched too tight all over the world.” Furthermore, notes the general, invading Iraq would further antagonize America's allies in the Middle East. “We need to quit making enemies that we don't need to make enemies out of,” he says. He also notes, “It's pretty interesting that all the generals see it the same way and all the others who have never fired a shot and are hot to go to war see it another way.” [Tampa Tribune, 8/24/02]
People and organizations involved: James L. Jones
          

August 25, 2002

       The New York Times publishes an opinion article by James Baker, a former secretary of state and a close friend of the Bush family. In his piece, Baker writes that the US must raise a coalition and secure a broad base of support before attempting to remove Saddam Hussein by force. Although it may be possible to successfully invade the country and depose its regime, he argues, America's image would suffer irreparable damage as a consequence. Therefore, according to Baker, a unilateral preemptive strike in the midst of massive opposition from US allies in Europe and the Middle East would be detrimental to American strategic interests. [New York Times, 8/25/02]
People and organizations involved: James Baker
          

August 26, 2002

       In a speech to the Nashville convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice President Richard Cheney says Saddam Hussein will “seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.” He also states unequivocally that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” he says. “There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us ... What he wants is time, and more time to husband his resources to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons program, and to gain possession of nuclear weapons.” Therefore he argues, the answer is not weapons inspections. “Against that background, a person would be right to question any suggestion that we should just get inspectors back into Iraq, and then our worries will be over. Saddam has perfected the game of shoot and retreat, and is very skilled in the art of denial and deception. A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with UN resolutions.” [New York Times, 8/26/02] Cheney's speech marks the first major statement from the White House regarding the Bush administration's Iraq policy following a flood of criticisms from former officials. Significantly, the speech was not cleared by the CIA or the State Department. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Unnamed sources interviewed by Newsweek] Furthermore, Cheney's comments dismissing the need for the return of inspectors, were not cleared by President Bush. [Newsweek, 9/9/02 Sources: Andrew Card] Three days after the speech, a State Department source tells CNN that Powell's view clashes with that which was presented in Cheney's speech, explaining that the secretary of state is opposed to any military action in which the US would “go it alone ... as if it doesn't give a damn” what other nations think. The source also says that Powell and “others in the State Department were ‘blindsided’ by Cheney's ‘time is running out’ speech ... and were just as surprised as everyone else,” CNN reports. [CNN, 8/30/02 Sources: Unnamed source interviewed by CNN]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard ("Dick") Cheney  Additional Info 
          

August 27, 2002

       After a meeting between President Bush and Saudi ambassador Bandar bin Sultan, Ari Fleischer tells the press, “The president stressed that he has made no decisions, that he will continue to engage in consultations with Saudi Arabia and other nations about steps in the Middle East, steps in Iraq.” [CNN, 8/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush, Bandar bin Sultan
          

August 27, 2002

       Speaking to US Marines of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton in California, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says: “Leadership in the right direction finds followers and supporters.... It's less important to have unanimity than it is making the right decision and doing the right thing, even though at the outset it may seem lonesome.” [US Department of Defense, 8/27/03; Associated Press, 8/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

Late August 2002

       Gideon Ezra, Israel's deputy interior minister, says, “The more aggressive the attack is, the more it will help Israel against the Palestinians. The understanding would be that what is good to do in Iraq, is also good for here.” He also says that a US invasion of Iraq would “undoubtedly deal a psychological blow” to the Palestinians. [Christian Science Monitor, 8/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Gideon Ezra
          

Late August 2002

       Yuval Steinitz, a Likud party member of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, suggests that the imposition of a pro-American regime in Baghdad would ease Israel's discomfort with Syria, which it views as a threat. Steinitz says, “After Iraq is taken by US troops and we see a new regime installed as in Afghanistan, and Iraqi bases become American bases, it will be very easy to pressure Syria to stop supporting terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, to allow the Lebanese army to dismantle Hezbollah, and maybe to put an end to the Syrian occupation in Lebanon. If this happens we will really see a new Middle East.” [Christian Science Monitor, 8/30/02]
People and organizations involved: Yuval Steinitz
          

Before September 2002

       According to a senior intelligence official interviewed by the Associated Press in June of 2003, the CIA shares with Britain the results of Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger (see February 21, 2002-March 4, 2002), advising British intelligence that claims that Iraq attempted to procure uranium from Niger are unsubstantiated. But another report, by the Guardian in London the following month, contradicts this AP report. It cites a series of letters to the British Foreign Affairs Committee which show that the US had asked Britain not to use the Africa-uranium claim, but did not provide details about Wilson's mission to Niger. [Associated Press, 6/12/03; Observer, 7/13/03; Time Magazine, 7/21/03] In spite of this warning, Britain publishes a dossier in September which includes the claim.(see September 24, 2002)
People and organizations involved: Joseph C. Wilson
          

September 2002

       A member of the National Security Council staff speaks with a CIA analyst about the allegation that Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. The CIA analyst reportedly tells the NSC staff member that the claim should be removed from an upcoming speech (It is not known which speech this concerns). The CIA analyst later tells a Senate investigative committee that the NSC staff member said removing the allegation would leave the British “flapping in the wind.” [Sources: Report On The US Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq]
People and organizations involved: France
          

September 2002

       Representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence agency meet to discuss the draft of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which will be published the following month (see October 1, 2002). Representing the DOE's intelligence service is Thomas Ryder, who is temporarily filling in as the office's acting director. Significantly, Ryder is a “human resources guy” with no intelligence background. “Ryder is not an intelligence guy by any stretch of the imagination,” a DOE source will later explain to World Net Daily. “He [has] ... no intel background whatsoever. He [works] on all the personnel stuff—paperwork for promotions, hiring contractors, stuff like that.” At the meeting, Ryder is supposed to represent the position of the DOE's scientists and intelligence officers, who believe that Iraq has not reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. Scientists in the Energy Department as well as officers in the department's intelligence office want to join the INR in its dissenting vote. One official will later explain to World Net Daily, “Senior folks in the office wanted to join INR on the footnote, and even wanted to write it with them, so the footnote would have read, ‘Energy and INR.’ ” [New York Times, 10/3/2004; World Net Daily, 8/12/03 Sources: Unnamed US official] Instead Ryder will side with the other intelligence agencies who claim that Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. An official later tells World Net Daily that when Ryder and his staff were arguing over Iraq's alleged program during a pre-brief, Ryder told them to “shut up and sit down.” [World Net Daily, 8/12/03 Sources: Unnamed US official] When the voting takes place, Ryder does not sign his department onto the State Department's dissenting opinion. As a result, the final vote is a near unanimous 5-1. “Time comes for the Iraq NIE, and instead of being hard-charging and proactive and pulling everybody together, he just didn't know what to do,” one source later says. “He wasn't a strong advocate. He just didn't have the background. He didn't have the gravitas.” The Department of Energy's position on the issue is considered very important. “Energy's vote on the nuclear allegation was critical, because the department is viewed as the final arbiter of technical disputes regarding nuclear-proliferation issues,” World Net Daily will note. [World Net Daily, 8/12/03; World Net Daily, 8/12/03 Sources: Unnamed US official] While serving in the temporary DOE position, Ryder, who is said to be close to Secretary Spencer Abraham, receives bonuses totaling $20,500. Energy insiders will say they cannot remember a previous instance where an intelligence chief had been provided with such a large bonus. “That's a hell of a lot of money for an intelligence director who had no experience or background in intelligence, and who'd only been running the office for nine months,” one official says. “Something's fishy.” [World Net Daily, 8/12/03]
People and organizations involved: Thomas S. Ryder, Spencer Abraham, Bureau of Intelligence and Research  Additional Info 
          

September 2002

       The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issues an 80-plus-page classified report titled, “Iraq: Key Weapons Facilities—An Operational Support Study,” concluding that there is “no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons.” [Bloomberg News, 6/6/03; Reuters, 6/6/03; US News and World Report, 6/9/03 Sources: Iraq: Key Weapons Facilities—An Operational Support Study] When this is reported in the press in June 2003, Michael Anton, a spokesman with the National Security Council, immediately denies that the report suggested the administration had misrepresented intelligence. “The entire report paints a different picture than the selective quotes would lead you to believe. The entire report is consistent with [sic] the president was saying at the time,” he claims. [Fox News, 6/6/03] But two Pentagon officials confirm to Fox News that according to the report, the Defense Intelligence Agency indeed had no hard evidence of Iraqi chemical weapons. [Fox News, 6/6/03]
People and organizations involved: Defense Intelligence Agency  Additional Info 
          

Before September 2002

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld orders commanders to focus US and British aerial strikes in Iraq on the country's air defense communications centers, command buildings, and fiber-optic links, in order to degrade Iraq's air defense network. [Washington Post, 12/12/2002; Washington Post, 1/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

(Autumn 2002)

       The British government is “shocked” when it learns “that in the postwar period, the Defense Department would still be running the show.” [Washington Post, 6/12/2005 Sources: Unnamed British official]
          

Fall 2002

       The Bush White House establishes a “high-level, interagency task force” charged with the task of “coordinating all Iraq war planning efforts and postwar initiatives.” The task force is headed by the Deputies Committee, which is made up of the “No. 2 officials at the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff, State Department, CIA, National Security Council, and vice president's office.” The committee's job is to review the work of other groups who have been involved in the planning of post-war Iraq, and provide recommendations to Bush's top advisors. The committee presumably draws on the work of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (OSP) (see 2002-2003) (see September 2002), Elliot Abrams' group (see November 2002-December 2002) (see December 2002) and the State Department's “Future of Iraq” project (see April 2002-March 2003). Later accounts make clear that Abrams' and the OSP's recommendations have much more influence. The Deputies Committee usually meets in the White House situation room. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice keeps President Bush updated on the progress of the task force's work. In November, US News reports that a consensus is forming “at the highest levels of the Bush administration over how to run the country after Saddam and his regime are history.” [Financial Times, 11/4/02; US News, 11/25/03; Reuters, 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed US government officials]
Some Conclusions of the Deputies Committee, as reported by US News and World Report -

The US should not create a provisional government or a government in exile. “We are not going to be in the business of choosing” who should lead Iraq, a senior official tells US News and World Report. [US News 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed senior official]

The invasion of Iraq will likely be followed by a lengthy occupation. This conclusion is passed on to Bush. “I have been with the president when he has been briefed about the need to have US forces there for an extended period of time,” a senior administration official will later tell US News and World Report. [US News 11/25/03 Sources: Unnamed senior administration official]

During the first phase of the occupation, Iraq will be ruled by the military, probably a US general. The primary objective during this phase will be maintaining security and preventing the emergence of hostilities between the Shiites and Sunnis. Pentagon officials involved in planning this stage are reported to have reviewed the archived plans for the occupation of Germany and Japan. The second phase of the occupation will involve some sort of international civilian administration, with a diminished US military presence, and Iraqis will be given a larger role in the government. In the last phase, a constitution will be drafted, transferring power to a representative, multiethnic Iraqi government that commits to being free of weapons of mass destruction. [US News 11/25/03]

Revenue generated from the sale of Iraq's oil will be used for the cost of reconstruction and for conducting humanitarian operations. Hardliners however want the funds to pay for the military costs of the invasion as well. [US News 11/25/03]

No firm decisions are made about the what role, if any, Iraqi exiles affiliated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) will play in post-Saddam Iraq. Pentagon hardliners and some top officials in the White House favor giving them a prominent role, while the CIA and State Department adamantly oppose their inclusion, arguing that the exiles cannot be trusted. [US News 11/25/03]

Iraqis will not necessarily treat the invading American soldiers as “liberators.” Many Iraqis harbor a deep resentment against the US for the decades-long sanction policy. [US News, 11/25/03]

People and organizations involved: Ahmed Chalabi, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush
          

September 2002

       A US official with inside knowledge of the interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tells USA Today that the administration's recent assertions that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members are based on uncorroborated information from a single detainee. The source also notes that the detainees may be lying to US authorities to encourage a US invasion of Iraq in order to add support to the al-Qaeda argument “that the United States is the mortal enemy of Muslim countries.” [USA Today, 9/26/02 Sources: Unnamed US official]
          

September 2002

       Senior intelligence officials tell the Washington Post that the CIA has yet to find solid evidence that Saddam Hussein has ties to international militant Islamic groups despite substantial efforts including analysis of surveillance photos and communications intercepts. [Washington Post, 9/10/02; Washington Post, 9/26/02 Sources: Unnamed senior intelligence officials]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein
          

Fall 2002

       The Bush administration picks Philip Carroll, a former CEO of Royal Dutch/Shell's US division, to advise post-Saddam Iraq's oil ministry. [Harpers Magazine, 4/05, pp 74-76]
People and organizations involved: Philip J. Carroll
          

September 2002

       Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, adamant hawks, rename the Northern Gulf Affairs Office on the Pentagon's fourth floor (in the seventh corridor of D Ring) the “Office of Special Plans” (OSP) and increase its four-person staff to sixteen. [Mother Jones, 1/04; Tom Paine [.com], 8/27/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; American Conservative, 12/1/03; New Yorker, 5/5/03; Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 8/16/02 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Karen Kwiatkowski, Greg Thielmann] William Luti, a former navy officer and ex-aide to Vice President Cheney, is put in charge of the day-to-day operations. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Mother Jones, 1/04] The Office of Special Plans is staffed with a tight group of like-minded neoconservative ideologues, who are known advocates of regime change in Iraq. Notably, the staffers have little background in intelligence or Iraqi history and culture. [American Conservative, 12/1/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Salon, 7/16/03; Mother Jones, 1/04 Sources: A Pentagon adviser, Karen Kwiatkowski, Greg Thielmann] Some of the people associated with this office were earlier involved with the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, also known as the “Wurmser-Maloof” project (see Shortly after September 11, 2001). They hire “scores of temporary ‘consultants’ ... including like-minded lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy wonks from the numerous rightwing think-tanks in the US capital.” Neoconservative ideologues, like Richard Perle and Newt Gingrich, are afforded direct input into the Office of Special Plans. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Mother Jones, 1/04] The office works alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau, also under the authority of Douglas Feith [Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Mother Jones, 1/04 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski] The official business of Special Plans is to help plan for post-Saddam Iraq. The office's staff members presumably “develop defense policies aimed at building an international coalition, prepare the secretary of defense and his top deputies for interagency meetings, coordinate troop-deployment orders, craft policies for dealing with prisoners of war and illegal combatants, postwar assistance and reconstruction policy planning, postwar governance, Iraqi oil infrastructure policy, postwar Iraqi property disputes, war crimes and atrocities, war-plan review and, in their spare time, prepare congressional testimony for their principals.” [Insight, 12/2/03] But according to numerous well-placed sources, the office becomes a source for many of the administration's prewar allegations against Iraq. It is accused of exaggerating, politicizing, and misrepresenting intelligence, which is “stovepiped” to top administration officials who use the intelligence in their policy decisions on Iraq. [Telegraph, 7/11/04; Mother Jones, 1/04; CNN, 7/11/04; Tom Paine [.com], 8/27/03; Knight Ridder Newspapers, 8/16/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02; American Conservative, 12/1/03; New Yorker, 5/5/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski, Greg Thielmann, Unnamed administration official] There are very few news reports in the American mainstream media that report on the office. In fact, the office is reportedly Top Secret. [Bamford, 2004, pp 308] “We were instructed at a staff meeting that this office was not to be discussed or explained,” OSP staffer Karen Kwiatkowski will later say, “and if people in the Joint Staff, among others, asked, we were to offer no comment.” [American Conservative, 12/1/03] Colin Powell is said to have felt that Cheney and the neoconservatives in this “Gestapo” office had established what was essentially a separate government. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/04 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] Among the claims critics find most troubling about the office are:
The office relies heavily on accounts from Iraqi exiles and defectors associated with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), long considered suspect by other US intelligence agencies. [Salon, 7/16/03; Guardian, 7/17/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; New Yorker, 5/5/03; Mother Jones, 1/04; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Unnamed administration official, Greg Thielmann]
One defector in particular, code-named “Curveball,” provides as much as 98 percent of the intelligence on Iraq's alleged arsenal of biological weapons. [CNN, 7/11/04] Much of the information provided by the INC's sources consists of “misleading and often faked intelligence reports,” which often flow to Special Plans and NESA directly, “sometimes through Defense Intelligence Agency debriefings of Iraqi defectors via the Defense Human Intelligence Service and sometimes through the INC's own US-funded Intelligence Collection Program, which was overseen by the Pentagon.” [Mother Jones, 1/04] According to Karen Kwiatkowski, the movement of intelligence from the INC to the Office of Special Plans is facilitated by Colonel Bruner, a former military aide to Gingrich. [Salon, 3/10/04; Mother Jones, 1/04; Newsweek, 12/15/03 Sources: Memo, Karen Kwiatkowski] Bruner “was Chalabi's handler,” Kwiatkowski will tell Mother Jones. “He would arrange meetings with Chalabi and Chalabi's folks.” [Mother Jones, 1/04 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski]
The Office of Special Plans purposefully ignores intelligence that undermines the case for war while exaggerating any leads that support it. “It wasn't intelligence,—it was propaganda,” Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked at the NESA desk, will later explain. “They'd take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don't belong together.” [New Yorker, 5/5/03; New York Times, 10/24/02; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Guardian, 7/17/03; Salon, 7/16/03; Mother Jones, 1/04; Independent, 9/30/03 Sources: Ellen Tauscher, Greg Thielmann, Unnamed former intelligence official]

The OSP bypasses established oversight procedures by sending its intelligence assessments directly to the White House and National Security Council without having them first vetted by a review process involving other US intelligence agencies. [Guardian, 7/17/03; Salon, 7/16/03; Mother Jones, 1/04; New Yorker, 5/5/03 Sources: Unnamed senior officer who left the Pentagon during the planning of the Iraq war, David Obey, Greg Thielmann]
The people at Special Plans are so successful at bypassing conventional procedures, in part, because their neoconservative colleagues hold key positions in several other agencies and offices. Their contacts in other agencies include: John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International; Bolton's advisor, David Wurmser, a former research fellow on the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute, who was just recently working in a secret Pentagon planning unit at Douglas Feith's office (see Shortly after September 11, 2001); Elizabeth Cheney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs; Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser; Elliott Abrams, The National Security Council's top Middle East aide; and Richard Perle, Newt Gingrich, James Woolsey and Kenneth Adelman of the Defense Policy Board. The office provides very little information about its work to other US intelligence offices. [Salon, 7/16/03; Inter Press Service, 8/7/03; Guardian, 7/17/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski, Unnamed An unnamed senior officer who left the Pentagon during the planning of the Iraq war, Greg Thielmann, David Obey]
Lastly, the people involved in Special Plans openly exhibit strong pro-Israel and anti-Arab bias. The problem, note critics, is that the analysis of intelligence is supposed to be apolitical and untainted by ideological viewpoints. [American Conservative, 12/1/03 Sources: Karen Kwiatkowski]
According to a CIA intelligence official and four members of the Senate's Intelligence Committee, Special Plans is the group responsible for the claim Bush will make in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from an African country (see January 28, 2003). [Information Clearing House, 7/16/03; The Nation, 6/19/03] After the existence of the Office of Special Plans is revealed to the public, the Pentagon will deny that it served as a direct conduit to the White House for misleading intelligence, instead claiming that its activities had been limited to postwar plans for Iraq. [New Yorker, 5/5/03] And a December 2003 opinion piece published in Insight magazine will call the allegations surrounding the Office of Special Plans the work of conspiracy theorists. [Insight, 12/2/03]
People and organizations involved: Colonel Bruner, James Woolsey, Newt Gingrich, Kenneth Adelman, Colin Powell, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Stephen Hadley, Karen Kwiatkowski, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Abram Shulsky, David Wurmser, Elizabeth Cheney  Additional Info 
          

Fall 2002

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Fortune magazine, “If you [worry about just] the cost, the money, Iraq is a very different situation from Afghanistan ... Iraq has oil. They have financial resources.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          
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