This is a statement posted to the CIA website, and according to Publishers Weekly (see CIA Goes On The Record About Suskind Book), 'blasted' in email to a lot of folks. Date: Aug 22, 2008. Author: unknown, unlisted.
says it performed a records search, interviews? Edit
It talks about the denials by Tenet, the Whitehouse, re the order to ceate a forgery never happened, talks about Maguire and Richer denials, and then.. those denials ". . . are also backed by a thorough, time-consuming records search within CIA and by interviews with other officers—senior and junior alike—who were directly involved in Iraq operations."
Question: when was this search conducted and why? Did the CIA spend the 17 days between the book coming out and this statement, to go and do searches and interviews on this topic? Did they only interview current employees, or former employees too?
talks about the law Edit
"While recounting his tale, Suskind has accused the Agency of violating the National Security Act. That basic law specifically prohibits covert actions “intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.” CIA knows and respects the legal framework within which our democracy conducts intelligence activities. To state what should be obvious, it is not the policy or practice of this Agency to violate American law."
Question: this would appear to indicate that the CIA believes the actions Suskind describes, do, in fact, break the law, if they occured. Some people have wondered if this is so... (see Habbush Letter, the section on 'would it really be illegal')... so... is the CIA saying that it is illegal for it to plant any stories in foreign media, at all?
Question: which agencies, if any, or contracors, are allowed to do this sort of thing, legally?
says the US did not know whether there were WMDs Edit
". . . Suskind also alleges that the United States knew before the start of hostilities with Iraq that Saddam Hussein had no stockpiles of WMD. That, too, is both false and wrong. False because the Intelligence Community assessed that Saddam Hussein had such weapons. Wrong because it implies the Community chose to ignore information of which it was genuinely convinced."
Q: What does the CIA statement mean by 'intelligence community' in this sentence? The Office of Special Plans? The DIA? The NSA? All the more than a dozen agencies?
Q: Who in the 'intelligence community assessed' that Saddam had WMDs? Who , exactly, and why?
claims CIA did not pay, nor resettle Habbush Edit
" Nor did CIA pay or resettle Tahir Habbush, Saddam Hussein’s intelligence chief. That conclusion comes from a review of our files and checks with our officers. Indeed, our government considers Habbush to be a wanted man. "
Question: Does Suskind's book say the CIA payed Habbush 5 million dollars, or resettle him? pg 373, The Way of the World
The White House . . . resettled him in Jordan, paid him $5 million - which one could argue was hush money - . . .
It seems like Ron is saying the 'White House' payed the money... the paragraph doesn't mention the CIA, at least in the book. Did Ron say the CIA payed Habbush, or resettled him, somewhere else? In an interview? In another part of the book?
If the White House did in fact pay him and resettle him.... then how? How could you ever prove such a thing happened? How could you disprove it? If true, they wouldn't necessarily have had to give the money through CIA, right? Couldn't they go through another agency, or through a contractor, or through some other source of funds? Which part of the White House would have done it, and how? Where is the evidence? What sort of evidence would there be, if such a thing did happen? Where did the money come from, exactly?
says it has made its own inquiries overseas, cant find any confirmation Edit
talks about the Inkster and Dearlove statements denying suskinds book, then says "CIA has made its own inquiries overseas and no one—no individual and no intelligence service—has substantiated Suskind’s account of Habbush or the bogus letter."
Question: Which part of Suskind's account of Habbush are they saying is unsubstantiated? Are there not three separate main claims by Suskind about Habbush? 1. The Habbush Report, 2. The Habbush Letter, and 3. The Habbush payment and resettlement?
Question: What do Richard Dearlove and Nigel Inkster have to do with the Habbush Letter? Their part in the book pertains to the Habbush Report, does it not? ie the pre-war secret meetings between Michael Shipster and Habbush? The Habbush Letter incident is supposed to have happened in late 2003, several months after the war started, and apparently, in Suskinds' account, did not involve the British Intelligence services... or did it? are we missing something here?
Question: Why would foreign agencies know anything about the letter? In Suskinds account (pg 371, The Way of the World), the US government takes the letter directly to Habbush, no foreign governments would have been involved... other than, apparently, Ayad Allawi and his friends in the Iraqi government, since Allawi delivered the actual letter to Con Coughlin. . .
Question: Why would foreign governments know anything about the alleged resettlment or payoff? Except maybe Jordan, since that is where Suskinds book says that Habbush went to?
Question: The denials by Richer, Maguire, and others, talk about some things being untrue, but not others. Which parts of the book, then, are being denied, and which parts aren't? Dear reader?
uses the words forgery and bogus letter Edit
"no individual and no intelligence service—has substantiated Suskind’s account of Habbush or the bogus letter. At this point, the origins of the forgery, like the whereabouts of Habbush himself, remain unclear."
Question: How does the CIA know the letter was a forgery? Did the CIA see the letter? Will they enlighten us as to their evidence that it is a forgery?
Question: The CIA doesn't know where habbush is? Then how come Ron Suskind says he does? And what about the passage in Suskinds book where he implies that 'former intelligence officials', including John Maguire, think he is in Amman, Jordan? (pg 385, The Way of the World? Did Suskind totally blow that? Or do some people know where he is and some people not?
IE, if ex-cia agents know where he is, how can the CIA itself possibly NOT know where he is? isn't it their job to spy on foreign officials and people wanted for crimes? are they saying, maybe we know he is in Amman, but not the street address? or are they saying they have no idea?
Question: if you were habbush, and you heard about this book coming out, would you get out of Amman, Jordan, pretty quick?
says suskind has maligned people Edit
"But Suskind goes well beyond rational critique. Frankly, those he maligns with his book deserve far better."
Question: the 'tone' of the CIA statement is un-bureaucratic and almost informal... is it just me? it uses phrases that you might expect in an op-ed, instead of standard bureaucratic or even corporate statements. examples: "If that were not enough.", "Indeed", "Frankly". am i imagining things? Why is that? Did they not have a professional PR person write it in bureaucratic government talk, instead of this half-familiar tone? It just seems weird to me. . . .
Question: there is no author listed on the statement... so who wrote it? who approved it? does it represent the views of the whole CIA, the current leadership, some branch of it? Are there not ex-CIA who might disagree with this view?