Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Israel's handling of Iraq intel

Peter Hermann of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Knesset has completed its internal review of how the Iraq intel was handled by Israel:

Israeli officials overestimated the military threat posed by Iraq because of faulty intelligence that was derived from conjecture rather than based on fact, an investigation by Israel's parliament concluded in a report released Sunday.

A special parliamentary committee, basing its findings on eight months of closed hearings, recommended restructuring Israel's intelligence services, including the Mossad spy agency, but said there had been no deliberate attempt to falsify information about Iraq before the U.S. and British invasion of the country in March 2003.
Hmm. Perhaps that's because the "deliberate attempt to falsify information" was conducted outside of the normal Israeli intelligence channels, in a side office for Ariel Sharon that mirrored the OSP. As Robert Dreyfuss reported in The Nation:
...also feeding information to the Office of Special Plans was a secret, rump unit established last year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. This unit, which paralleled [Abram] Shulsky's--and which has not previously been reported--prepared intelligence reports on Iraq in English (not Hebrew) and forwarded them to the Office of Special Plans. It was created in Sharon's office, not inside Israel's Mossad intelligence service, because the Mossad--which prides itself on extreme professionalism--had views closer to the CIA's, not the Pentagon's, on Iraq. This secretive unit, and not the Mossad, may well have been the source of the forged documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake uranium for weapons from Niger in West Africa...
Julian Borger of the Guardian pretty much reported the same thing last July.

It is thus no surprise that the Israeli investigation failed to identify any falsification or impropriety. The "creative" intelligence work probably happened outside the purview of the oversight committees.