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George W. Bush: A CIA Analysis

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Editor's Note:

Another gem from former CIA, Ray McGovern...

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                  Video Clip Of The Week

  Dick Cheney - 1994: Invading Iraq Would Be A Quagmire 

In 1994, Dick Cheney gave a speech outlining the reasons 
why the US should not go into Baghdad and depose Saddam 
Hussein. The mainstream media has decided NOT to show you 
this video clip, but we sure will. Please view! 

View: Dick Cheney - 1994: Invading Iraq Would Be A Quagmire 
   
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George W. Bush: A CIA Analysis
by Ray McGovern

It is as though I'm back as an analyst at the CIA, trying 
to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran. The putative 
attacker, though, happens to be our own president. 

It is precisely the work we analysts used to do. And, while 
it is still a bit jarring to be turning our analytical 
tools on the U.S. leadership, it is by no means entirely 
new. For, of necessity, we Veteran Intelligence 
Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been doing that for 
almost six years now – ever since 9/11, when "everything 
changed." Of necessity? Yes, because, with very few 
exceptions, American journalists lose their jobs if they 
expose things like fraudulent wars. 

The craft of CIA analysis was designed to be an all-source 
operation, meaning that we analysts were responsible – and 
held accountable – for assimilating information from all 
sources and coming to judgments on what it all meant. We 
used information of all kinds, from the most sophisticated 
technical collection platforms to spies to open media. 

Here I have to reveal a trade secret, which punctures the 
mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 
80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments 
on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open 
media. 

It helps to have training from past masters of media 
analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting 
Japanese and German media in the 1940s. But, truth be 
told, everyone with a high-school education can do it. 
It is not rocket science. 

This is not to denigrate the contribution of CIA operations 
officers, case officers running sensitive agents, for 
though small in percentage of the whole nine yards 
available to be analyzed, information from such sources 
can often make a crucial contribution. 

Consider, for example, the daring recruitment in mid-2002 
of Saddam Hussein's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, who was 
"turned" into working for the CIA and quickly established 
his credibility. Sabri told us there were no weapons of 
mass destruction in Iraq. 

My former colleagues, perhaps a bit naively, were quite 
sure this would come as a vast relief to President George 
W. Bush and his advisers. Instead, they were told that 
the White House had no further interest in reporting from 
Sabri; rather, that the issue was not really WMD, it was 
"regime change." 

(Don't feel embarrassed if you did not know this; our 
corporate-owned, war-profiteering media has largely 
suppressed all this.) 

So our former colleague, operations officer par excellence 
Robert Baer, reports (in this week's Time) that, according 
to his sources, the Bush/Cheney administration is winding 
up for a strike on Iran, that Bush's plan to put Iran's 
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terrorism list 
points in the direction of such a strike, and that 
delusional "neoconservative" thinking that still guides 
White House policy concludes that such an attack would 
lead to the fall of the clerics and rise of a more friendly 
Iran. 

Hold on, it gets even worse: Baer's sources tell him that 
administration officials are thinking that "as long as we 
have bombers and missiles in the air, we will hit Iran's 
nuclear facilities." 

VIPs member Phil Giraldi, writing in The American 
Conservative, earlier noted that Karl Rove has served as a 
counterweight to Vice President Dick Cheney, determined as 
Cheney seems to be to expand the Middle East quagmire to 
Iran. 

And former Pentagon analyst retired Lt. Col. Karen 
Kwiatkowski, who worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the most 
rabid Pentagon neocons just before the attack on Iraq, has 
put into words (on LewRockwell.com) speculation several of 
us have been indulging in with respect to Rove's departure. 

In short, it seems a good bet that Rove, who is no one's 
dummy and would not want to have to "spin" an unnecessary 
war on Iran, lost the battle with Cheney over the merits 
of a military strike on Iran, and only then decided to 
spend more time with his family. 

Whatever else Rove has been, he has served as a counter-
weight to Dick Cheney's clear desire to expand the Middle 
East quagmire into Iran. 

As for White House spokesperson Tony Snow, it seems equally 
possible that, before deciding he has to make more money, 
he concluded that his stomach could not withstand the task 
explaining why Bush/Cheney needed to attack Iran. 

With the propaganda buildup we have seen so far, what 
seems most likely, at least initially, is an attack on 
Revolutionary Guard training facilities inside Iran, and 
that can be done with cruise missiles. 

With some 20 targets already identified by anti-Iranian 
groups, there are enough assets already in place to do that 
job. But the while-we're-at-it neocon logic referred to 
above may well be applied after, or even during, that kind 
of attack from the air. 

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Cheerleading in the MSM

Yes, it is happening again.

The lead editorial in Tuesday's Washington Post 
regurgitates the unproven allegations that Iran's 
Revolutionary Guard Corps is "supplying the weapons that 
are killing a growing number of American soldiers in Iraq;" 
that it is "waging war against the United States and trying 
to kill as many American soldiers as possible." 

Designating Iran a "specially designated global terrorist" 
organization, says the Post, "seems to be the least the 
United States should be doing, giving the soaring number 
of Iranian-sponsored bomb attacks in Iraq." 

It's as though Dick Cheney is again writing the Post 
editorials. And not only that, arch neocon James Woolsey 
has just told Lou Dobbs that the U.S. may have no choice 
but to bomb Iran in order to halt its nuclear weapons 
program. 

As Woolsey puts it, "I'm afraid within, well, at worst, a 
few months; at best, a few years; they could have the bomb."

Woolsey, self-described "anchor of the Presbyterian wing of 
the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs," has 
long been way out in front plumbing for wars, like Iraq, 
that he and other neocons myopically see as being in 
Israel's, as well as America's, interest. 

Within days of 9/11, Woolsey was arguing for war with Iraq 
even while conceding, at the time, that there was no 
evidence tying Iraq to 9/11. 

The latest is also rubbish. And Woolsey knows it. And so 
do the reporters for the Washington Post, who are aware 
of, but have been forbidden to tell, a highly interesting 
story. 


The NIE That Didn't Bark

The National Intelligence Estimate on if and when Iran is 
likely to have the bomb has been ready since February. 
It has been sent back four times – no doubt because its 
conclusions do not support what folks like Cheney and 
Woolsey are telling the president. 

The conclusions of the most recent NIE on the issue (early 
2005) was that Iran could probably not have a nuclear 
weapon until "early to mid-next decade," a formula 
memorized and restated by Director of National Intelligence 
Michael McConnell at his confirmation hearing in February. 

One can safely assume that McConnell had been fully briefed 
on the first "final draft" of the new estimate, which has 
now been in limbo for half a year. It is a safe bet that 
the conclusions of the new draft resemble those of the 2005 
estimate all too closely to suit Cheney. 

It is a scandal that the congressional oversight committees 
have not been able to get hold of the new estimate, even in 
draft. For it is a safe bet it would give the lie to the 
claims of Cheney, Woolsey, and other cheerleaders for war 
with Iran and provide powerful ammunition to those arguing 
for a more sensible approach to Iran. 

Despite the administration's warlike record, many Americans 
may still cling to the belief that attacking Iran won't 
happen because it would be crazy; that Bush is a lame-duck 
president who wouldn't dare undertake a new reckless 
adventure when the last one went so badly. 

But – with this administration – rationality has not 
exactly been a strong suit. Bush has placed himself in a 
neoconservative bubble that operates with its own false 
sense of reality. As psychiatrist Justin Frank noted in 
a July 27 memorandum updating his book, Bush on the Couch: 

"We are left with a president who cannot actually govern, 
because he is incapable of reasoned thought in coping with 
events outside his control, like those in the Middle East. 

"This makes it a monumental challenge – as urgent as it is 
difficult – not only to get him to stop the carnage in the 
Middle East, but also to prevent him from undertaking a 
new, perhaps even more disastrous adventure – like going 
to war with Iran, in order to embellish the image he so 
proudly created for himself after 9/11 as the commander 
in chief of 'the first war of the 21st century.'" 

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