On the Phone… Douglas Feith Comes Clean On Iraq & Terror!
“These documents point out that the Iraqis were training something like 5,000-7,000 foreign terrorists (non-Iraqis) from around the Middle East and the Muslim world in Iraq in the several years leading up to the current war.”
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
February 16, 2007
One Jerusalem held a timely newsmaker blogger call with former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. I was fortunate enough to sit in on the call.
RedState has a lengthy commentary on the democrat’s campaign to discredit Feith and analysis of the “Review of the Pre-Iraqi War Activities of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy” report released by the Pentagon.
Since this report, Secretary Feith has been characterized as the evil genius behind making the case for invading Iraq by Senator Carl Levin, The New York Times, and other liberal media outlets. The Left has made its case by distorting the facts.
Doug Feith received some support from the Wall Street Journal, The New York Sun, and Hugh Hewitt.
Here is what Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith had to say today about the controversy and the links between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Al Qaeda.
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith-
Al Qaeda and Iraq: The Connections:
The idea that our product improved the CIA’s product is not just my assertion but it is what the Senate Intelligence Committee when it looked at this matter in 2004 said in a report that was bipartisan and unanimous and interesting enough was endorsed by both Senator Levin and Senator Rockefeller.
FBI Director George Tenet came out with a statement that said that Oct. 7, 2002 in an unclassified letter to the senate intelligence chairman there was solid reporting of senior level contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq going back a decade and credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe havens and reciprocal non-aggression and there is also discussion there about cooperation involving poisonous gasses and conventional bombs.
This work created some resentment with CIA. This led to allegations that my office had misled Congress according to Senator Levin. Senator Rockefeller and Senator Levin claimed that my office had misled Congress. The Inspector General was asked to look into these allegations. The IG came out with a report that said everything that my office did was lawful, authorized and we did not mislead Congress.
The report said the criticism of the CIA was inappropriate and also said that what the people in my office did in briefing White House officials about the CIA was not the most accurate analysis of intelligence.
Under questioning it became clear that the Inspector General had not evaluated the underlying intelligence. He used circular logic to criticize the work of the briefers. This was illogical and he also made a number of assumptions that were false and he didn’t check them in the course of his investigation.
The Main Point: What the Inspector General was saying here would make it harder to criticize intelligence. When people look at intelligence failures in recent years and in particular the WMD mistakes that the CIA made that were so important; when we look at those mistakes we see we need more questioning and not less. I think what he is pushing for is bad for the quality of intelligence and the quality of policy making in the government.
Allen Roth: Why do you think there is this personal assault on you and your work and motivations?
Doug Feith: There are a lot of people who have raised voices in this whole matter and I’m sure that each has his own motives… It is clear from some things that were written that there are some people who are strongly intent on trying to prove that we got into war in Iraq because the president and all of his top officials lied. A large part of this (Senator Levin) has been to try to prove the proposition that the president lied the country into war.
Personally, there have been a lot of people that tried to make the argument that the war was somehow the result of neocon, Zionist, Likudnish, svengalis who were somehow manipulating the US government to make war on Iraq out of disloyalty to the United States and service to Israel. There are thousands and thousands of articles on the internet that have spun a conspiracy theory about the neocons.
Allen Roth: Non neocon General Peter Pace said this, “It irritates me not that anyone would question his thoughts or his policies. That is absolutely fair game; But, that anyone would question his loyalty or his motives.”
Gateway Pundit: Have you heard about the current leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq training terrorists back in 2001 after he fled Afghanistan in southern Iraq?
Doug Feith: Something that anyone interested in this subject should read that sheds light on the Iraqi government’s training of foreign terrorists is a document called the Iraqi Perspectives Report. This report was put together by historians who reviewed the records of the interrogations that the United States have been conducting in Iraq of captured Iraqi and civilian military leaders. This includes the top political figures captured in Iraq (Saddam, Aziz, etc.) It is downloadable. It is a fascinating document for many reasons not the least being there’s a section on the Iraqi government’s training of foreign terrorists in the years leading up to the Operation Iraqi Freedom. They review some of the captured documents.
** “These documents point out that the Iraqis were training something like 5,000-7,000 foreign terrorists (non-Iraqis) from around the Middle East and the Muslim world in Iraq in the several years leading up to the current war.”
It is a general light that shines on Iraq’s support for international terrorism.
American Thinker: What about those who say that this report is an attempt to underm
ine our efforts in dealing with the Iranian threat?
There are so many playing in this field with their own agenda. The rational for war was not the Al Qaeda-iraq connections. Critics claim this was a critical point in going to war.
There are many democratic members of Congress who voted in favor of the war and now they want to be in the forefront of condemning the war.
The escape hatch is to claim that they were lied to. Hillary has said this specifically. Interesting is that last week’s report said that we did not mislead Congress. It is a distortion of what he said in saying we misled Congress.
Tom Joselyn (sp?): Why has Bush not done more to communicate his message to the public?
Doug Feith: The Administration was saying Saddam was a man with a terrible record of aggression and hostility to us and connections to various terrorist groups and use of WMD; and there was a great danger that he could harm us, and that he might harm us by providing weapons to terrorist groups.
There is a general view that there are those of us who think the president’s basic strategy for the war on terrorism is correct and his basic strategy for Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein was correct.
There is a general view that this administration has done a much better job of developing its strategy than explaining it to the public. And… the administration has fallen down terribly in explaining what it is doing and why, and I find it baffling because the administration have many talented political people who have not done a good job of explaining important facts to the public in explaining foreign policy.
Allen Roth: Friends of US in Europe are begging the US to explain themselves so that they can help fight our battles in the UK or France in the public arena.
(There is more on the audio at One Jerusalem– It is about40 minutes long)