T Drumheller on Iraqi Emigre Intel

I can still milk this for a while.

In his lengthy 2006 interview, Tyler Drumheller discussed the role of intelligence from Iraqi emigres. Drumheller noted: “I believe there was serious consideration, at least briefly, given to the ‘Afghanistan solution’ for Iraq. Then by the summer [of 2002], it was clear we were going to war with Iraq.”

He explained further:

…a lot of it was driven by émigré reporting. Also during that spring, Dr. Rice made a speech when she said, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” and the vice president said, “There’s no doubt that they have [reconstituted their nuclear program].” That had to come from these émigré sources, because we weren’t reporting that. Even the Pentagon wasn’t reporting that, that I saw. 

He also weighed in on European intel services’ view of the Iraq WMD threat, as well as what the intel actually said:

They always say, “Well, all these other European services and all these other countries around the world felt the same way.” Well, no, it wasn’t exactly the same way. They were all concerned; there was a general fear that Saddam was building [weapons] because Saddam was Saddam. … It’s the way he kept his enemies inside and outside the country off balance. This general view developed that the inspectors were a bunch of clowns, which wasn’t true. The inspectors are very serious guys, and they actually did an effective job — not perfect, but they were pretty effective. But the intelligence that was coming in was saying that there aren’t any weapons, the actual hard intelligence... most of it’s coming from the inspectors — I mean, not intelligence reporting from the inspectors through the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], but we had other very sensitive stuff.

Lastly, this is what he had to say about political pressure on the IC:

…the Silberman-Robb [commission] report and the SSCI report would say there was no direct political pressure [on the intelligence community], and that’s true. Nobody ever came up and said, “Write this NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] in that way.” But if you’ve been around Washington long enough, you know when there’s pressure. These are bureaucracies: The CIA is a bureaucracy; the Pentagon is a bureaucracy. People want to get ahead, and the way to get ahead was to move ahead on Iraq. And there were a lot of people that were concerned. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *