Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Andrew Wilkie was the Senior Intelligence Analyst for Australia's intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments when he resigned in March to protest the way intellegence was being distorted in the selling of the Iraq War. He was interviewed for a morning TV program DownUnder, and here's what he has to say:
AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us. Can you start off by telling us what you'll be announcing later today at your news conference with congress member and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.

ANDREW WILKIE: Sure. I welcome the opportunity to speak with the Congressman. I would hope to have the opportunity to explore, amongst other things, the core issues which really are being neglected a little at the moment because of the focus on the Niger information. The fact that in some ways--as important as this information is--in some ways it's distracting us from what I call these core issues. The first one is that we were sold this war on the basis of Iraq possessing a massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Not programs, but weapons. Of course they haven't been found and whatever is likely to be found now is certainly not going to meet the definition of massive or mammoth. The other core issue I think which has been a little neglected over recent weeks, is the fact that the second pillar of the war was the claim that Iraq was cooperating actively with Al Qaeda. Which I don't think has ever been proven, and is certainly at odds with my experience when I was working for the Office of National Assessments, where I never saw even a single piece of what I would call hard intelligence to establish that there was any active cooperation between the two. I'd like to also impress upon those at this meeting with the Congressman that the issue now has it's moved on a little from Iraq, and it's now a broader issue about honesty in government and the fact that the Iraq mess has been characterized by what I would describe as a systemic exaggeration and twisting of the truth. And from time to time, even downright dishonesty. I think we're seeing some of that in these recent events over the claims and counter claims about the uranium out of Africa. And even if the last couple of days, the claims that the British have some most secret intelligence from a third country which they can't share which, given my experience I think is just a ridiculous proposition because my experience was that sensitive third country information which wasn't supposed to be shared was in fact shared routinely, given the extraordinarily close intelligence relationship between the U.K. and the U.S.