The Blog

Where's the CIA Leak?

5:37 PM, May 21, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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From 2003 on, there were many officials pushing for a heavier "footprint" in Iraq. Powell, for example, pressed early on for more combat troops and advisors to, as he put it, crush the insurgency before it could get off the ground. And according to this New York Times piece, Powell and others also pushed for a larger contingent to train the Iraqi police force AFTER it became apparent that the force was in very bad shape. The Times also has this nugget concerning the CIA's pre-war assessment of the police force:

Before the war, the Bush administration dismissed as unnecessary a plan backed by the Justice Department to rebuild the police force by deploying thousands of American civilian trainers. Current and former administration officials said they were relying on a Central Intelligence Agency assessment that said the Iraqi police were well trained. The C.I.A. said its assessment conveyed nothing of the sort.... [T]he assessment by the C.I.A. led administration officials to believe that Iraq's police were capable of maintaining order. Douglas J. Feith, then the Defense Department's under secretary for policy, said in an interview that the C.I.A.'s prewar assessment deemed Iraq's police professional, an appraisal that events proved "fundamentally wrong."

But Paul Gimigliano, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said the agency's assessment warned otherwise. "We had no reliable information on individual officers or police units," he said. The "C.I.A.'s written assessment did not judge that the Iraqi police could keep order after the war. In fact, the assessment talked in terms of creating a new force."

A copy of the document, which is classified, could not be obtained.

Given the CIA's track record of selectively leaking material to bolster its image and tarnish that of the White House, I wonder why someone over there hasn't leaked this police document if the agency's assessment was so spot on.