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Iraqi Official Gave U.S. (CIA) Information Far More Accurate Than What They Believed

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Iraqi Official Gave U.S. (CIA) Information Far More Accurate Than What They Believed

Old 03-21-06, 07:05 AM
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Iraqi Official Gave U.S. (CIA) Information Far More Accurate Than What They Believed

MSNBC:

In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Husseinís government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence.

What makes the story significant is the high rank of the source. His name, officials tell NBC News, was Naji Sabri, Iraqís foreign minister under Saddam. Although Sabri was in Saddam's inner circle, his cosmopolitan ways also helped him fit into diplomatic circles.

In September 2002, at a meeting of the U.N.ís General Assembly, Sabri came to New York to represent Saddam. In front of the assembled diplomats, he read a letter from the Iraqi leader. "The United States administration is acting on behalf of Zionism," he said. He announced that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that the U.S. planned war in Iraq because it wanted the countryís oil.

But on that very trip, there was also a secret contact made. The contact was brokered by the French intelligence service, sources say. Intelligence sources say that in a New York hotel room, CIA officers met with an intermediary who represented Sabri. All discussions between Sabri and the CIA were conducted through a "cutout," or third party. Through the intermediary, intelligence sources say, the CIA paid Sabri more than $100,000 in what was, essentially, "good-faith money." And for his part, Sabri, again through the intermediary, relayed information about Saddamís actual capabilities.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The sources say Sabriís answers were much more accurate than his proclamations to the United Nations, where he demonized the U.S. and defended Saddam. At the same time, they also were closer to reality than the CIA's estimates, as spelled out in its October 2002 intelligence estimate.

For example, consider biological weapons, a key concern before the war. The CIA said Saddam had an "active" program for "R&D, production and weaponization" for biological agents such as anthrax. Intelligence sources say Sabri indicated Saddam had no significant, active biological weapons program. Sabri was right. After the war, it became clear that there was no program.

Another key issue was the nuclear question: How far away was Saddam from having a bomb? The CIA said if Saddam obtained enriched uranium, he could build a nuclear bomb in "several months to a year." Sabri said Saddam desperately wanted a bomb, but would need much more time than that. Sabri was more accurate.

On the issue of chemical weapons, the CIA said Saddam had stockpiled as much as "500 metric tons of chemical warfare agents" and had "renewed" production of deadly agents. Sabri said Iraq had stockpiled weapons and had "poison gas" left over from the first Gulf War. Both Sabri and the agency were wrong.

In the weeks following September 2002, after first contact with Sabri was made in New York, the agency kept much of his information concealed within its ranks. Sabri would have been a potential gold mine of information, according to NBC News analyst retired Gen. Wayne Downing.

"I think itís very significant that the CIA would have someone who could tell them whatís on the dictatorís mind," says Downing.

But, intelligence sources say, the CIA relationship with Sabri ended when the CIA, hoping for a public relations coup, pressured him to defect to the U.S. The U.S. hoped Sabri would leave Iraq and publicly renounce Saddam. He repeatedly refused, sources say, and contact was broken off.

When war broke out, Sabri was defiant and outspoken. "Those aggressors are war criminals, colonialist war criminals. Crazy people led by a crazy, drunken, ignorant president," he said.

After the war, former CIA director George Tenet once boasted of a secret Iraqi source.

"A source," he said in a speech on Feb. 5, 2004, "who had direct access to Saddam and his inner circle." Sources tell NBC News Tenet was alluding to Sabri. Tenet said that the source ó meaning Sabri ó had said Iraq was stockpiling chemical weapons and that equipment to produce insecticides, under the oil-for-food program, had been diverted to covert chemical weapons production. However, in that speech, Tenet also laid out what Sabri had disclosed: that there was no biological program, that Saddam wanted nuclear weapons but had none.

After the war, Sabri was not arrested or put on the notorious "deck of cards." He lives in the Middle East and NBC News is not revealing his location for security reasons. According to Downing, that he is living in the Middle East may be significant.

"The fact that he was there, that he was able to get out, live openly, like he is, says that for some reason he received some special status," says Downing.

NBC News repeatedly requested comments about this report from Sabri, either in written form, by telephone or in person. NBC News contacted Sabri several times by phone, and hand delivered a letter to a representative of his, explaining in detail the substance of this report, including the details about weapons of mass destruction. Sabri confirmed he received the letter, but repeatedly refused to comment in any way, neither confirming nor denying any of the information in this report.

So did the CIA. The agency also would not comment on Sabri, or answer why it discounted or ignored Sabri's assessment of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program.
___________________

Hmm!! Interesting.

This obviously cast doubt on the 'quality' of U. S. intelligence in pre-war Iraq.

However - does this also raise questions as to the interpretation of all data available by the White House and the Bush administration? I would think so.
It seems they chose to believe what they wanted to believe and ignore what they didn't want to hear.

Last edited by classicman2; 03-21-06 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 03-21-06, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Hmm!! Interesting.

This obviously cast doubt on the 'quality' of U. S. intelligence in pre-war Iraq.

However - does this also raise questions as to the interpretation of all data available by the White House and the Bush administration? I would think so.
It seems they chose to believe what they wanted to believe and ignore what they didn't want to hear.
Is this some sort of revelation? It doesn't seem to change the perception that the Bush administration took information that they wanted to hear and used that to build their case for war. Anyone with a dissenting opinion was simply brushed aside. I could see the same thing happening here. "Well, if Sabri is saying this, he must be lying for Saddam, yada, yada, yada."
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Old 03-21-06, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
Is this some sort of revelation? It doesn't seem to change the perception that the Bush administration took information that they wanted to hear and used that to build their case for war. Anyone with a dissenting opinion was simply brushed aside. I could see the same thing happening here. "Well, if Sabri is saying this, he must be lying for Saddam, yada, yada, yada."
If they thought he was lying - why continue to pay him?
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Old 03-21-06, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
If they thought he was lying - why continue to pay him?
Maybe they thought they could get something else out of him. Maybe they believed some of his story and not the rest. Maybe the CIA believed him and the administration didn't and since $100,000 is chump change, the admin was too focused on other things to worry about such a small sum of money. I don't think they go over every pay out the CIA makes in its intelligence gathering. Who knows.

I personally think the CIA field agents believed the guy. As to what was going through the admin's mind, I think we all know that.
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Old 03-21-06, 07:59 AM
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shocking.
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Old 03-21-06, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
I personally think the CIA field agents believed the guy. As to what was going through the admin's mind, I think we all know that.
Don't you dare tell Pharoh that.
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Old 03-21-06, 10:31 AM
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However - does this also raise questions as to the interpretation of all data available by the White House and the Bush administration? I would think so.
It seems they chose to believe what they wanted to believe and ignore what they didn't want to hear.
I'm not sure what you are getting at. Sabri says that Saddam had stockpiles of chemical weapons. After 9/11, given Saddam's non-compliance with the surrender agreement, and the UN binding resolutions coupled with his willingness to use and have used WMD in the past, the admin decided that he shouldn't be left alone.
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Old 03-21-06, 10:44 AM
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So basically, we paid a guy $100,000 to say the same things he was telling the UN?
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Old 03-21-06, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
So basically, we paid a guy $100,000 to say the same things he was telling the UN?
It could have been worse if he didn't take the lump sum.
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Old 03-21-06, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
I'm not sure what you are getting at. Sabri says that Saddam had stockpiles of chemical weapons. After 9/11, given Saddam's non-compliance with the surrender agreement, and the UN binding resolutions coupled with his willingness to use and have used WMD in the past, the admin decided that he shouldn't be left alone.
You conveniently forget what he said about the nuclear & biological programs.

Admit it - this administration, at the very least, misled the hell out of the American people.
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Old 03-21-06, 11:16 AM
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You conveniently forget what he said about the nuclear & biological programs.

Admit it - this administration, at the very least, misled the hell out of the American people.
The part where he said Saddam was actively trying to pursue them?
Like I posted before, he said that there were stockpiles of chemical weapons which are in clear violation of the surrender agreement and UN resolutions. That alone is enough to remove Saddam from power. Regime change was passed by congress before Bush took office and was actively pursued through bombings by his predecessor.
In a post 9/11 world you are faulting Bush for believing and acting on a worst-case scenario?
Admit it - this administration, at the very least, misled the hell out of the American people.
Nice try but no. Every intelligence agency in the world including Russia believed Saddam had WMD(heck the article above posted to make Bush look bad actually supports his position when read properly).
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Old 03-21-06, 11:46 AM
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Nice try but no. Every intelligence agency in the world including Russia believed Saddam had WMD(heck the article above posted to make Bush look bad actually supports his position when read properly).
But Bush obviously had in his possession evidence to the contrary.

Nice try. Sorry! Bush clearly misled the American people.
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Old 03-21-06, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
But Bush obviously had in his possession evidence to the contrary.

Nice try. Sorry! Bush clearly misled the American people.

Evidence?
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Old 03-21-06, 12:20 PM
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so one of Saddam's loyal followers said Saddam didn't have them, and we're supposed to "buy" that lock stock & barrel? ( we fucking did buy it, literally - pitiful )
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Old 03-21-06, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Don't you dare tell Pharoh that.


Tell me what? How bad our intelligence agencies were/are? I need nobody reaffirming that to me.




As an aside, speaking outside of the case the administration made, stockpiles of weapons completely misses the security point. Iraq, or any rogue 'isolated', (word used very lightly), state does not need stockpiles. The usage of such weapons will be at a time and place of their choosing, stockpiles are unnecessary. It is the programmes and capabilities that are the relevant and crucial point.
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Old 03-21-06, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Evidence?
It proved to be not only evidence - but real & truthful evidence.

You're not denying that Bush knew about Mr. Sabri, are you?

so one of Saddam's loyal followers said Saddam didn't have them, and we're supposed to "buy" that lock stock & barrel? ( we fucking did buy it, literally - pitiful )
We paid quite a bit of money. You do admit that supposedly loyal folks do quite frequently rat on other folks, don't you?

Whether we bought it lock, stock, & barrel or not, it certainly should have been a major part of the equation about whether to rush headlong (which we ended up during) into what is looking more and more like an ill-fated invasion of Iraq. Certainly, as a clear majority of the American people believe, it was the wrong thing to do.
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Old 03-21-06, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Evidence?
We're up to our necks in evidence. Take your pick on the stories. There are so many out there, you shouldn't have a hard time finding them.

P.S. Every single incident the Bush Administration has been involved in, deals with withholding of information or slanting it.

If it walks like an idiot, talks like an idiot, handles national security like an idiot, then I'd say it's an idiot.
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Old 03-21-06, 01:34 PM
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I cannot believe that anyone would even question whether or not the Bush Administration cherry-picked the intelligence that supported the invasion of Iraq, and dismissed or diminished any evidence to the contrary.

Okay, here's a quick, easy question that should help clarify things: can anyone name one shred of evidence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack the United States or its allies, either directly or indirectly? Forget about proof -- can anyone show me anything that at any point even suggested that Iraq posed a threat to the US?
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Old 03-21-06, 02:28 PM
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Bush: 'No one, to my knowledge, in this administration said Saddam was directly responsible for 9/11. I know I didn't say it. But,.......................'

The media had somewhat of a field day of the answer(s) Bush gave.
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Old 03-21-06, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Okay, here's a quick, easy question that should help clarify things: can anyone name one shred of evidence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack the United States or its allies, either directly or indirectly? Forget about proof -- can anyone show me anything that at any point even suggested that Iraq posed a threat to the US?
Damn it Mojo, don't you understand that they COULD HAVE possibly posed a threat ONE DAY in the future?! That's the standard we used. Don't you liberals understand anything?

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Old 03-21-06, 03:08 PM
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Coach Bush entered the game with the special defensive plan called disarmament. That plan backfired so bad that the coach had to change the game strategy, but instead of firing his defensive coordinator and staff, he gives him a medal. Makes sense.
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Old 03-21-06, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Okay, here's a quick, easy question that should help clarify things: can anyone name one shred of evidence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack the United States or its allies, either directly or indirectly? Forget about proof -- can anyone show me anything that at any point even suggested that Iraq posed a threat to the US?
Where are the right-wingers to respond to this question? Why is it that these guys can't blather on enough when some troll thread pops up slamming Democrats... but when the tough questions come out, no one can answer?
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Old 03-21-06, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Okay, here's a quick, easy question that should help clarify things: can anyone name one shred of evidence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack the United States or its allies, either directly or indirectly? Forget about proof -- can anyone show me anything that at any point even suggested that Iraq posed a threat to the US?
Uh hello? Bowler hat? Rifle?

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Old 03-21-06, 07:45 PM
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It's a conspiracy by CNN to fool deh arepublicanses.
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Old 03-21-06, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Okay, here's a quick, easy question that should help clarify things: can anyone name one shred of evidence that suggested that Saddam Hussein was planning to attack the United States or its allies, either directly or indirectly?
Easy. $20,000 for every family that had a suicide bomber target Israel. Last I checked, Israel is an ally. Second, he had already invaded Kuwait and used WMD in the past. Let alone new documents coming to light that he had more to do with Al quida than previously thought.
In the post 9/11 world, you can't let threats fester before acting.
Forget about proof -- can anyone show me anything that at any point even suggested that Iraq posed a threat to the US?
See above. One of the reasons that 9/11 occured is that Osama saw Clinton run away with his tail between his legs after a few soldiers got killed because of his administrations bungling. This emboldened OBL to attack more targets of the US. When he did and all the US did was bite its lip and shed a few tears and then go playing with cigars, they planned 9/11. Saddam had repeatedly violated the surrender agreement and was about to get away with it. This certainly would have emboldened our enemies. I'm sure they think, "hey, he lost a war and is continuing to violate the surrender and yet the US isn't doing anything. We haven't lost a war, we can basically do anything and the US doesn't have the stomach to stop us."
Where are the right-wingers to respond to this question? Why is it that these guys can't blather on enough when some troll thread pops up slamming Democrats... but when the tough questions come out, no one can answer?
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