Dengerous Trend ” Only the very wise could understand the real truth. ”

SEYMOUR M. HERSH: Well, the biggest thing I found out is that what we think of as the intelligence community may not be a community at all. For example, I was just listening to Secretary of State Colin Powell describe how he had briefings from the intelligence community on weapons of mass destruction. It turns out that the intelligence community is really very much dominated by a small group of people in the Pentagon. Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, has more or less muscled his way into day-to-day intelligence operations. I wrote about an ad-hoc analytical group that began working in the Pentagon in the aftermath of September 11th, and which became formally known as the Office of Special Plans last August. The office is the responsibility of William Luti, the Under-Secretary of Defense, and its director is Abram Shulsky. They argued that the C.I.A. and other agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, weren’t able to understand the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and the extent to which Iraq was involved in the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. They felt that these agencies didn’t get it right because they didn’t have the right point of view. The Pentagon group’s idea was, essentially: Let’s just assume that there is a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and let’s assume that they have made weapons of mass destruction, and that they’re still actively pursuing nuclear weapons and have generated thousands of tons of chemical and biological weapons and not destroyed them. Having made that leap of faith, let’s then look at the intelligence the C.I.A. has assembled with fresh eyes and see what we can see. As one person I spoke to told me, they wanted to believe it was there and, by God, they found it.

The New Yorker

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