Stephen Hayes has an excellent piece in the current Weekly Standard on what we do and don’t know about the relationship between Saddam Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda.
One of the disquieting phenomena that Hayes documents is the CIA’s role in undermining the administration’s effort to give the public an accurate understanding of what our intelligence shows:
“[T]he Bush administration has otherwise been reluctant to provide details of the links between Iraq and al Qaeda. That is not, officials from across the administration insist, because there are serious questions about the connections. Rather, the White House is nervous that publicly discussing the links could trigger another set of leaks, most of them presumed to come from the CIA, attempting to discredit the new information. Those are battles the White House doesn’t want to fight.”
Hayes’ account of how a CIA leak resulted in grotesquely misleading news stories about the interrogation of al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, purporting to show that there was no link between Iraq and al Qaeda, is chilling. There is no doubt that the CIA needs to be brought under control, much like the State Department, but it is doubtful whether George Tenet is the man for the job. And when the national press goes into a frenzy about leaks, they aren’t talking about leaks from Democratic CIA officials who set out to undermine the administration.
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