CIA and Tenet Refute Suskind's Forgery Allegations

As NewsBusters has been reporting since early August, mainstream media members predictably gushed over author Ron Suskind's allegations that the Bush administration ordered the CIA to forge a letter showing a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

On Friday, both the CIA and its former director George Tenet refuted this and other claims Suskind made in his book "The Way of the World."

Given their fervor to report Suskind's views, it should be interesting to see how much attention these high-profile rebuttals get.

With that in mind, here's what the CIA had to say (h/t NBer Beresford):

In his book, “The Way of the World,” author Ron Suskind makes some serious charges about the CIA and Iraq. As Agency officers current and former have made clear, those charges are false. More than that, they are not in keeping with the way CIA works. In fact, they are profoundly offensive to the men and women who serve here, as they should be to all Americans.

Suskind claims that, in September 2003, the White House ordered then-Director George Tenet to fabricate a letter describing a level of cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa’ida that simply did not exist. The White House has denied making that request, and Director Tenet has denied receiving it. The former Agency officers Suskind cites in his narrative have, for their part, publicly denied being asked to carry out such a mission. [...]

Intelligence is a difficult profession. We are typically called upon to uncover information that the enemies of our country are most eager to conceal. When we fall short in that tough mission, we acknowledge our errors and learn from them. We are accustomed to criticism. But Suskind goes well beyond rational critique. Frankly, those he maligns with his book deserve far better.

Read the whole thing.

As for Tenet:

Suskind said the U.S. and the U. K. arranged a meeting with Habbush prior to the war

- We did not.

He said that the head of MI-6 flew to the US to brief me on these meetings

- He did not

He said that Habbush convinced us that Iraq had no WMD

- He did not

He said that the White House ignored this conclusion

- There was no such conclusion for them to ignore

He said CIA resettled Habbush in Jordan

- We did not settle him there or anywhere else

He said CIA paid Habbush $5 million in “hush money”

- We paid him not a cent

He said the White House ordered me to fabricate a letter tying Iraq to al Qa’ida.

- There was no such order

He said I passed the direction to senior members of my staff

- Again, there was no such order to pass.

Read the whole thing.

Will these rebuttals receive the kind of attention Suskind's allegations did? Stay tuned. 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.