Douglas Feith, the much-maligned former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, launched a new website today in order to defend himself against the criticism resulting from the DoD Inspector General's report released a few weeks ago.
The report concluded that an October 2002 assessment, produced by Feith's unit, asserting there to be a "mature, symbiotic relationship" between al Qaeda and Saddam was based on "reporting of dubious quality or reliability."
In Feith's opening statement on his new website, he commits the same error in judgment that his Office of Special Plans has been so often accused: cherrypicking.
The IG later admitted never having determined if the pre-war criticism of the CIA was actually correct. He called it "inappropriate" whether or not it was right, simply because it deviated from the "consensus of the intelligence community."
Feith is trying to support the overall thesis that, "This IG report controversy is, in essence, a debate over whether the CIA should be protected against criticism by policy officials."
Feith pretends that the IG report didn't say there was anything wrong with his unit's reporting, but only a problem in that it went against the conventional wisdom. He warns that:
"The CIA has made important errors over the years - think of the Iraqi WMD assessments. To guard against such errors, policy officials should be praised, not slapped, for challenging CIA products."
Feith made a greivous error in propagating the belief that a cooperative relationship existed between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, but he can't seem to admit it. He reacts like a child, who when scolded responds with a "but my brother did something worse" revelation for the angry parent.
Essentially, Feith ignores the IG ever wrote that OSP assessments were based on "reporting of dubious quality or reliability," so he can shift the focus away from his own mistakes and/or misdeeds and towards a more comfortable topic: the need to reform the CIA.
For further reading, I recently posted a piece about former CIA offical Michael Scheuer's opinion on the Feith assessments, the insider view from Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired former USAF colonel and former member of the Pentagon unit, and current under secretary of defense for policy Eric Edelman's assessment of the IG report.