Another Damning CIA Report Withheld

From Holden:

We’ve all read about the CIA Inspector General’s Report assigning blame for the Sep. 11th attacks and how it is being witheld by Porter Goss until after the election.

Today we learn of a second CIA report that won’t be delivered until after November 2, this one assessing whether or not Chimpy’s War on Iraq has made us more or less safe.

American intelligence agencies are drafting a report that could address whether the Iraq war has increased or decreased the foreign terrorist threat to the United States, but it will not be completed before Election Day, according to senior government officials.

In an internal memorandum sent to the White House in August, the C.I.A. declined to take a position on whether overthrowing Saddam Hussein had made America “safer,” the officials said. Spokesmen for the C.I.A. and the White House said that stance reflected the agency’s unwillingness to become involved in policy judgments.

But in that memorandum, administration officials acknowledged, the agency proposed “factual corrections” to assertions included in a draft fact sheet prepared by the White House titled “America Is Safer Without Saddam Hussein.”

The assertions to which the C.I.A. recommended changes were included under headings that described Mr. Hussein as “a major obstacle” to political reform in the Middle East and said he “maintained ties to terrorists and terrorist organizations.”


The C.I.A. memorandum to the White House was sent in August in response to the draft fact sheet. “We are not commenting on the policy judgments or conclusions in the fact sheet,” the agency said in the response, according to an administration official.

Among the “factual corrections” contained in the document were a recommendation that Mr. Hussein be described as “an obstacle” to reform in the Middle East rather than “a major obstacle,” as he had been called by the White House, the official said. A second factual correction was to make “more general” statements about Mr. Hussein’s ties to Palestinian terrorist organizations and the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that had been used to substantiate the White House assertion that Mr. Hussein “maintained ties to terrorists and terrorist organizations,” the administration official said.

The White House fact sheet was never released, but a copy was obtained by The New York Times. A White House spokesman, Sean McCormack, said the decision not to release it had nothing to do with the C.I.A.’s comments. A spokesman for the agency described its handling of the fact sheet as routine.