Bush Deleted Intel Report Passage Saying Saddam Would Only Attack in Self-Defense
New film on the prosecution of Bush in theaters
Of all the many Bush administration deceptions employed to frighten the American people into supporting the invasion of Iraq, perhaps the most important and best-kept secret is the doctoring of the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, the "gold standard" report which combined the considered opinion of 16 US intelligence agencies. In the run-up to the invasion, there were two versions of the report: the classified report which the intelligence agencies gave to Bush, and the one that the Bush administration gave to Congress.
Contrary to the mindless repetition at the time from pundits such as Sean Hannity that Congress was "looking at the same intelligence," it was not.
In the summary section called "Key Judgements" of the classified report which Bush was given, US intelligence said that Saddam Hussein would likely only support terrorist attacks on the US in self-defense, if he felt threatened. The classified National Intelligence Estimate 2002 (NEI 2002) read on page 8:
"Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger cause for making war.
Iraq probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the US Homeland if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge."
In other words, the classified, full version of the report that Bush had was saying that Saddam knew that if any part or role in a terrorist attack was ever traced back to him, it would be national suicide.
This was contrary to statements by Bush, Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that Saddam presented a direct, immediate threat to the United States, and that he was ready to attack the United States "in as little as 45 minutes." In the version given to the public and to Congress, this opinion was completely deleted from the "Key Judgements" section.
This may all seem ancient history, unless, of course, you are one of thousands of soldiers living with a brain rattle injury, missing limbs, burn disfigurations, or worse, one of 5,000 families living with an empty dinner table seat which will never be filled.
The complete classified version in fact said that a US invasion of Iraq would make it more likely that Saddam would support terrorist attacks, not less likely.
Jonathan S. Landay of Knight-Ridder Newspapers wrote in "Doubts, Dissent Stripped from Public Version of Iraq Assessment":
"Deleted from the public version was a line in the classified report that cast doubt on whether Saddam was prepared to support terrorist attacks on the United States, a danger that Bush and his top aides raised repeatedly in making their case for war."
More than 20 countries currently possess some form of weapon of mass destruction, i.e. chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. The most important assessment is the intent of the regime in possessing them. Famed Los Angeles county prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted Charles Manson and who wrote the book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," gave testimony before the Rep. John Conyers' Judiciary Committee in 2008 in which he told of the doctoring of the report.
Bugliosi was listening to the president explain on television what an imminent threat Saddam was. This was soon after, in the course of his research, Bugliosi had asked a congressional staffer to send him a copy of the public, unclassified NEI. What Bugliosi received in the mail was the classified version. As Bugliosi listened to Bush make the case that Saddam was a threat who intended to attack the United States, Bugliosi had in front of him the classified intelligence report which said exactly the opposite. Bugliosi was astounded.
Bugliosi's book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" has recently been made into a film, "The Prosecution of an American President," for release this October. With the Italian Supreme Court just having recently upheld the conviction of 23 CIA operatives, including the Milan station chief, for kidnap and torture in the Global War on Terror, the wheels of justice cannot apparently always be stopped by Obama administration pressure.
It is predicted that the Italian government will now request the extradition of former Milan CIA station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, who has been sentenced to nine years by the Italian Court, and the other agents. The extradition of American war criminals may now become a treaty issue affecting alliances and the stationing of US troops.
But ultimately, the strongest signals to be watched for will come from the soldiers and the families who unhesitatingly answered a call to defend America, but who had critical facts hidden from them in the course of the national debate preceding the invasion.