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StateSide:Policy
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Pentagon's IG: Feith Acts "Inappropriate"
New Report Cites Fresh Post-invasion Intel
04/06/2007 6:57 PM ET
As noted earlier on Slogger, a newly declassified report prepared by the Pentagon Inspector General audits prewar intelligence activities of the office of then-Defennse Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith, and rebuffs the most controversial arguments made in the leadup to the Iraq invasion.

Acting Inspector General Thomas Gimble released a summary of the report in February, but the full text has only just been released, and is available for download (PDF, 5MB) on the website of Sen. Carl Levin, who was instrumental in the document's declassification.

As an example of what the report calls "inappropriate" intelligence activits, Levin also made available a series of briefing slides (PDF) prepared by Feith's office before the war, alleging that the Ba'thist regime and al-Qa'ida were linked.

While the report's conclusions were available in summary form since February, the newly declassified docuument significantly advances the story by referring in a footnote to post-invasion intelligence assessments that validate the pre-war skepticism of the intel community of Saddam-Qa'ida ties:

Noteworthy is that post-war debriefs of Sadaam Hussein, Tariq Aziz, al-Tikriti and al-Libi as well as document exploitation by DIA all confirmed that the Intelligence Community was correct: Iraq and al-Qaida did not cooperate in all categories. The terms the Intelligence Community used to describe the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida were validated, “no conclusive signs,” and “direct cooperation ... has not been established.” (p. 11).

Under the heading "Results" the report's conclusions are expressed:

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision makers. While such actions were not illegal or unauthorized, the actions were, in our opinion, inappropriate given that the intelligence assessments were intelligence products and did not clearly show the variance with the consensus of the Intelligence Community. This condition occurred because of an expanded role and mission of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from policy formulation to alternative intelligence analysis and dissemination. As a result, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy did not provide “the most accurate analysis of intelligence” to senior decision makers.

For further reading, see Slogger's coverage of reaction to the release of the report summary, from Karen Kwiatkowski and Michael Scheuer as well as the letter from Senators Hoyer, Reyes, and Skelton asking Robert Gates what measures he proposes be put in place to prevent the kind of flawed assessments the DoD's IG report found came from Feith's unit.

IraqSlogger's Christina Davidson reported on Feith's efforts to counter the conclusions of the report. See also the dissenting response of the current undersecretary for policy, Eric Edelman, whose reaction to the draft report is included in the appendeces to the full declassified document.

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