Captain's Quarters Blog

« The Master/Slave Controversy | Main | Turks In The Crosshairs Again »

November 20, 2003
Challenge, Chapter 4: Stephen Hayes Responds

Stepping away from the first Weekly Standard article for today, Stephen Hayes writes a powerful rebuttal to both the Pentagon non-response response and the naysayers in the mainstream media using it to justify their inaction (via Power Line):

IF THE INTELLIGENCE REPORTING in the memo was left out of earlier "finished intelligence products" because the reporting is inaccurate, it seems odd that it would form the basis of briefings given to the secretary of Defense, the director of Central Intelligence, and the vice president. And it would be stranger still to include such intelligence in a memo to a Senate panel investigating the potential misuse of intelligence.

If, on the other hand, the information in the Feith memo is accurate, it changes everything. An operational relationship between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, as detailed in the memo, would represent a threat the United States could not afford to ignore.

Hayes defines the areas of confusion that the Pentagon response created, and then goes step by step in defusing each argument authoritatively. For instance, to the charge that the Feith memo reference raw data which may or may not be true, Hayes responds:

(3) The Pentagon statement allows that some of the information in the document comes from "raw reports." The implication is that such reports might be wrong. True enough. That's why THE WEEKLY STANDARD article, for obvious reasons, never claimed knowledge of the authenticity of all 50 enumerated intelligence data points. But most of the information in the memo appears to have multiple sources and to be internally consistent. Consider point 18 and the analysis that follows.

18. According to foreign government service sensitive CIA reporting, Faruq Hijazi went to Afghanistan in 1999 along with several other Iraqi officials to meet with Bin Laden. The source claimed that Hijazi would have met Bin Laden only at Saddam's explicit direction.
Reporting entries #4, #11, #15, #16, #17 and #18, from different sources, corroborate each other and provide confirmation of meetings between al-Qaida operatives and Iraqi intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. None of the reports have information on operational details or the purpose of such meetings. The cover nature of the relationship would indicate strict compartmentation [sic] of operations.


The part of the memo dealt with in the article was called "Summary of Body of Intelligence Reporting on Iraq-al Qaeda Contacts (1990-2003)," and it contains passages in bold and in normal typeface. A note at the bottom of the first page reads: "All bolded sentences contain information from intelligence reporting. Unbolded sentences represent comments/analyses."

Please read the entire article, if you haven't yet done so. For an idea about how this data has been received by non-media intelligence experts, Hayes provides a powerful example:

James Woolsey, CIA director under President Bill Clinton, made reference to the Tenet letter in an appearance this past weekend on "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." Tenet's enumeration of the links and the evidence in the Feith memo has Woolsey convinced.

"Anybody who says there is no working relationship between al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence going back to the early '90s--they can only say that if they're illiterate. This is a slam dunk."

Again, I'll ask: Where is the mainstream press??

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 20, 2003 12:15 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Challenge, Chapter 4: Stephen Hayes Responds:

» A Convergence Theory About the Blackout on Hayes' Story from Demosophia
I'm perplexed and a little angry at the near total big-media blackout about the Hayes story here with a follow-up here. What few items have surfaced have usually been seriously flawed. To be fair, the Sy Hersh story about "stovepipes" [Read More]

Tracked on November 20, 2003 12:44 PM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!