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“That people in government have to be discreet in what they say publicly is so obvious—‘If I tell you the truth I can’t but help the enemy.’ “ But there is nothing in Strauss’s work, he added, that “favors preëmptive action. If you could have got rid of Hitler in the nineteen-thirties, who’s not going to be in favor of that? Saddam had enough time to move them.” There were suggestions from the Pentagon that Saddam might be shipping weapons over the border to Syria.

He said, “Abe is very gentle and slow to anger, with a sense of irony. It urged that two analysts working with Shulsky be given the authority to “investigate linkages to Iraq” by having access to the “proper debriefing of key Iraqi defectors.” A former C. And, when they aren’t found, there’s this whole bullshit about the weapons being in Syria.” In Congress, a senior legislative aide said, “Some members are beginning to ask and to wonder, but cautiously.” For now, he told me, “the members don’t have the confidence to say that the Administration is off base.” He also commented, “For many, it makes little difference. In a speech last week, President Bush said, “We’ve begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.” Meanwhile, if the American advance hasn’t uncovered stashes of weapons of mass destruction, it has turned up additional graphic evidence of the brutality of the regime.

(In 1992, Chalabi was convicted in absentia of bank fraud in Jordan. It’s a political unit—not an intelligence agency.” In August, 1995, General Hussein Kamel, who was in charge of Iraq’s weapons program, defected to Jordan, with his brother, Colonel Saddam Kamel. In 1996, Saddam Hussein lured the brothers back with a promise of forgiveness, and then had them killed. Last October, in a speech in Cincinnati, the President cited the Kamel defections as the moment when Saddam’s regime “was forced to admit that it had produced more than thirty thousand liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. “You have an important role in Iraq,” Kamel said, according to the record, which was assembled from notes taken by Smidovich. You are very effective in Iraq.” When Smidovich noted that the U. teams had not found “any traces of destruction,” Kamel responded, “Yes, it was done before you came in.” He also said that Iraq had destroyed its arsenal of warheads. Despite their importance, he wrote, “it is difficult to be certain that they are genuine. The resulting articles had dramatic accounts of advances in weapons of mass destruction or told of ties to terrorist groups. Haideri was apparently a source for Secretary of State Colin Powell’s claim, in his presentation to the United Nations Security Council on February 5th, that the United States had “firsthand descriptions” of mobile factories capable of producing vast quantities of biological weapons. In a statement to the Security Council in March, on the eve of war, Hans Blix, the U. began to publicize the stories of defectors who claimed that they had information connecting Iraq to the attacks. rebuttal, like the original report, was classified. They didn’t like the intelligence they were getting, and so they brought in people to write the stuff.

Middle East station chief told me, essentially because the agency had doubts about Chalabi’s integrity. has a track record of manipulating information because it has an agenda. The interview, on August 22, 1995,was conducted by Rolf Ekeus, then the executive chairman of the U. inspection teams, and two of his senior associates—Nikita Smidovich and Maurizio Zifferaro. Hamza settled in the United States with the help of the I. On April 26th, according to the , he returned to Iraq as a member of a group of exiles designated by the Pentagon to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure. The advantages and disadvantages of relying on defectors has been a perennial source of dispute within the American intelligence community—as Shulsky himself noted in a 1991 textbook on intelligence that he co-authored. With the Pentagon’s support, Chalabi’s group worked to put defectors with compelling stories in touch with reporters in the United States and Europe. One, he said, was underneath a hospital in Baghdad. teams that returned to Iraq last winter were unable to verify any of al-Haideri’s claims.

They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal—a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. The director of the Special Plans operation is Abram Shulsky, a scholarly expert in the works of the political philosopher Leo Strauss. “Shulsky and Luti won the policy debate,” the adviser said. There’s no mystery why they won—because they were more effective in making their argument. Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons in the past. How Strauss’s views might be applied to the intelligence-gathering process is less immediately obvious. The Defense Department and the Office of the Vice-President write their own pieces, based on their own ideology. expert who spent the past decade immersed in Iraqi-exile affairs said of the Special Plans people. They’ve convinced themselves that they’re on the side of angels, and everybody else in the government is a fool.” More than a year’s worth of increasingly bitter debate over the value and integrity of the Special Plans intelligence came to a halt in March, when President Bush authorized the war against Iraq. The Pentagon flew Chalabi and hundreds of his supporters, heavily armed, into Iraq, amid tight security, over angry objections from the State Department. His advocates in the Pentagon point out that he is not only a Shiite, like the majority of Iraqis, but also, as one scholar put it, “a completely Westernized businessman” (he emigrated to England with his parents in 1958, when he was a boy), which is one reason the State Department doubts whether he can gain support among Iraqis.

In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. Shulsky has been quietly working on intelligence and foreign-policy issues for three decades; he was on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Com-mittee in the early nineteen-eighties and served in the Pentagon under Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle during the Reagan Administration, after which he joined the Rand Corporation. “They beat ’em—they cleaned up against State and the C. At some point, he assembled thousands of chemical warheads, along with biological weapons, and made a serious attempt to build a nuclear-weapons program. As it happens, Shulsky himself explored that question in a 1999 essay, written with Gary Schmitt, entitled “Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean denotes the highest form of rationality. may even be said to resemble, however faintly, the George Smiley of John le Carré’s novels.” Echoing one of Strauss’s major themes, Shulsky and Schmitt criticize America’s intelligence community for its failure to appreciate the duplicitous nature of the regimes it deals with, its susceptibility to social-science notions of proof, and its inability to cope with deliberate concealment. officers and analysts described the agency as increasingly demoralized. We collect so much stuff that you can find anything you want.” “They see themselves as outsiders, ” a former C. After a few weeks of fighting, Saddam Hussein’s regime collapsed, leaving American forces to declare victory against a backdrop of disorder and uncertainty about the country’s future. Chalabi is not the only point of contention, however.

We recognized the fact that they hadn’t done the analysis. They persuaded the President of the need to make a new security policy. And, unless you believe that we have uncovered everything, you have to assume there is more than we’re able to report.” Last October, an article in the reported that Rumsfeld had ordered up an intelligence operation “to search for information on Iraq’s hostile intentions or links to terrorists” that might have been overlooked by the C. “I’m told that after September 11th a small group, I think two to start with, and maybe four now . The Straussian movement has many adherents in and around the Bush Administration.

A Pentagon official who works for Luti told me, “I did a job when the intelligence community wasn’t doing theirs. When Rumsfeld was asked about the story at a Pentagon briefing, he was initially vague. were asked to begin poring over this mountain of information that we were receiving on intelligence-type things.” He went on to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know. He was widely known for his argument that the works of ancient philosophers contain deliberately concealed esoteric meanings whose truths can be comprehended only by a very few, and would be misunderstood by the masses. It is, of course, possible for such a camp to be converted from one purpose to another. Apparently, neither the camp nor the former biological facility has yielded evidence to substantiate the claims made before the war. The agent relied on an interpreter supplied by Chalabi’s people. Both men received their doctorates under Strauss in 1972. Chalabi had some Democratic supporters, too, including James Woolsey, the former head of the C. (At the time, Iran and Iraq were at war, and America favored Iraq.) Iraq then sought assistance from the West, and got what it wanted from Britain’s MI6. Inspectors recalled seeing the body of an airplane—which appeared to be used for counter-terrorism training—when they visited a biological-weapons facility near Salman Pak in 1991, ten years before September 11th. “That’s Hollywood rinky-dink stuff,” the former agent said. You don’t need a real airplane to practice hijacking. But to take one back you have to practice on the real thing.” Salman Pak was overrun by American troops on April 6th. Like Wolfowitz, he was a student of Leo Strauss’s, at the University of Chicago. He was even interrogated by a team before he left and was allowed to go.” After his defection, Hamza became a senior fellow at the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington disarmament group, whose president, David Albright, was a former U. There were no takers, Albright said, and Hamza eventually “started exaggerating his experiences in Iraq.” The two men broke off contact. In 1998, Albright told me, he and Hamza sent publishers a proposal for a book tentatively entitled “Fizzle: Iraq and the Atomic Bomb,” which described how Iraq had failed in its quest for a nuclear device.Dating is rare in Afghanistan because most marriages are arranged by parents, and schools are separate for boys and girls.