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Ex-Reagan CIA Head: Source Of Fake Niger Document Is Michael Ledeen

Al Jazeera | April 12 2005

In an interview with the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, Vincent Cannistaro, he was asked if the documents on Iraq's purchase of uranium from Niger came from Italian intelligence to which he answered in the affirmative.

However according to Cannistaro "…When we're talking about acquiring information on Iraq. It isn't that anyone had a good source on Iraq - there weren't any good sources. The Italian intelligence service, the military intelligence service, was acquiring information that was really being hand-fed to them by very dubious sources. The Niger documents, for example, which apparently were produced in the United States, yet were funneled through the Italians."

When the former CIA head of counter-terrorism was asked if a Michael Ledeen had been the one who produced the Iraq documents he said "You'd be very close."

This is consistent with the theory that the documents are the work of Iraqi dissidents associated with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

The documents would have flowed from Chalabi to Ledeen to SISME, and thus would have been laundered to make them appear as legitimate products discovered by a legitimate intelligence agency.

This sophistication in the use of foreign intelligence agencies appears to be part of the modus operandi of the neocons, and may derive from the particular expertise of Ledeen and Richard Perle, developed in various shenanigans going back to the 1970's in particular the Iran-Contra affair.

Intelligence agencies in Britain, France, and Germany were also used in the same campaigns of lies which led to the attack on Iraq. One of the strategies was to feed some nonsense to one intelligence agency, and then have that nonsense distributed to other intelligence agencies. Then the claim would be that the information must be true, as it came from multiple sources.

In an interview with the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, Vincent Cannistaro, he was asked if the documents on Iraq's purchase of uranium from Niger came from Italian intelligence to which he answered in the affirmative.

However according to Cannistaro "…When we're talking about acquiring information on Iraq. It isn't that anyone had a good source on Iraq - there weren't any good sources. The Italian intelligence service, the military intelligence service, was acquiring information that was really being hand-fed to them by very dubious sources. The Niger documents, for example, which apparently were produced in the United States, yet were funneled through the Italians."

When the former CIA head of counter-terrorism was asked if a Michael Ledeen had been the one who produced the Iraq documents he said "You'd be very close."

This is consistent with the theory that the documents are the work of Iraqi dissidents associated with Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

The documents would have flowed from Chalabi to Ledeen to SISME, and thus would have been laundered to make them appear as legitimate products discovered by a legitimate intelligence agency.

This sophistication in the use of foreign intelligence agencies appears to be part of the modus operandi of the neocons, and may derive from the particular expertise of Ledeen and Richard Perle, developed in various shenanigans going back to the 1970's in particular the Iran-Contra affair.

Intelligence agencies in Britain, France, and Germany were also used in the same campaigns of lies which led to the attack on Iraq. One of the strategies was to feed some nonsense to one intelligence agency, and then have that nonsense distributed to other intelligence agencies. Then the claim would be that the information must be true, as it came from multiple sources.

The handling of the source of the main lies used to justify the attack, the aptly named 'Curveball', also displays the same sophistication in technique. Curveball was too obviously undependable to be sent directly to the CIA. As Joseph Cannon writes:

". . . the [Office of Special Plans] could feed lies directly into the Oval Office - but they needed more. They needed to find a way to make the CIA bestow its imprimatur onto this silliness. Thus, the neo-cons somehow arranged for Curveball to be routed through German intelligence - we don't yet know how it happened, but it happened. Why give this alky German minders? If the CIA had dealt with Curveball directly, they would have seen through his deceptions rather easily.

But since the information came by way of the BND, the CIA tended to trust it. By the time the agency decided to take a closer look at the sourcing, war was already a done deal.

Furthermore, this little scheme offered a bonus: Since Tenet and McLaughlin had bought into the BND's information if it all went haywire responsibility could be laid to rest at the feet of the CIA. Not the OSP, not the INC, not the BND, not Mossad, not the neocon ideologues.

Once again, we see use of a bold tactic: The use of a foreign spy shop as a go-between, in order to legitimise and circulate bogus (but ideologically useful) data within the U.S. intelligence community."

If you feed Curveball's shoddy information through German intelligence, with no CIA experts allowed to see him, and ignore the German protestations that he could not be trusted, you can have the lies fed into the American system without any caveats about reliability. The added bonus is that by using the CIA to convey the information, you can then blame the CIA when trouble erupts.

The common thread in the forged Niger documents, the use of Curveball, and the British intelligence manipulations which ended up getting David Kelly killed, is a very clever use of multiple intelligence agencies to disguise the source of a collection of rather obvious lies which were used to justify the attack on Iraq.

Whoever was behind this had to have had a long history of involvement in American government and involvement with multiple foreign intelligence agencies. There aren't that many people with that kind of experience. Who was: 1) a neocon in favor of an attack on Iraq; with 2) connections to Feith's Office of Special Plans; and with 3) ties to Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress; and with 4) long-standing documented relationships with foreign intelligence agencies, particularly SISME?