By Ron Suskind
07/08/08 “Huffington Post“
What just happened? Evidence. A secret that has been judiciously kept for five years just spilled out. All of what follows is new, never reported in any way:
The Iraq Intelligence Chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush — a man still carrying with $1 million reward for capture, the Jack of Diamonds in Bush’s famous deck of wanted men — has been America’s secret source on Iraq. Starting in January of 2003, with Blair and Bush watching, his secret reports began to flow to officials on both sides of the Atlantic, saying that there were no WMD and that Hussein was acting so odd because of fear that the Iranians would find out he was a toothless tiger. The U.S. deep-sixed the intelligence report in February, “resettled” Habbush to a safe house in Jordan during the invasion and then paid him $5 million in what could only be considered hush money.
In the fall of 2003, after the world learned there were no WMD — as Habbush had foretold — the White House ordered the CIA to carry out a deception. The mission: create a handwritten letter, dated July, 2001, from Habbush to Saddam saying that Atta trained in Iraq before the attacks and the Saddam was buying yellow cake for Niger with help from a “small team from the al Qaeda organization.”
The mission was carried out, the letter was created, popped up in Baghdad, and roiled the global newcycles in December, 2003 (conning even venerable journalists with Tom Brokaw). The mission is a statutory violation of the charter of CIA, and amendments added in 1991, prohibiting CIA from conduction disinformation campaigns on U.S. soil.
So, here we go again: the administration full attack mode, calling me names, George Tenet is claiming he doesn’t remember any such thing — just like he couldn’t remember “slam dunk” — and reporters are scratching their heads. Everything in the book is on the record. Many sources. And so, we watch and wait….
Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind is the author of The Way of the World. See http://www.ronsuskind.com
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