THE US Think-Progress website has published the text of the ‘60 Minutes’ TV interview with former CIA official Tyler Drumheller who revealed that in October 2002 a very highly placed Iraqi government official revealed that Iraq had no wmds and that Bush, Cheney, and Rice were personally told this information.
In October 2002, the CIA had made, what it termed, a major intelligence breakthrough on Iraq’s nuclear programme.
Naji Sabri, Iraq’s foreign minister made an agreement to reveal Iraq’s military secrets to the CIA. Tyler Drumheller was in charge of the operation and was questioned on ‘60 Minutes’ by Ed Bradley.
The transcript shows that Drumheller said: ‘This was a very high inner circle of Saddam Hussein, someone who would know what he was talking about.’
Bradley: You knew you could trust this guy?’
Drumheller: We continued to validate him the whole way through.
Bradley: According to Drumheller, CIA Director George Tenet delivered the news about the Iraqi foreign minister at a high level meeting at the White House.
Drumheller: The President, the Vice President, Dr. Rice.
Bradley: And at that meeting?
Drumheller: They were enthusiastic because they said they were excited that we had a high-level penetration of Iraqis.
Bradley: And what did this high level source tell you?
Drumheller: He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction programme.
Bradley: So, in the fall of 2002, before going to war, we had it on good authority from a source within Saddam’s inner circle that he didn’t have an active programme for weapons of mass destruction?
Bradley: There’s no doubt in your mind about that?
Drumheller: No doubt in my mind at all.
Bradley: It directly contradicts, though, what the President and his staff were telling us.
Drumheller: The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.
Bradley: Drumheller expected the White House to ask for more information from the Iraqi foreign minister. He was taken aback by what happened.
Drumheller: The group that was dealing with preparations for the Iraq war came back and said they’re no longer interested. And we said, Well, what about the intel? And they said, Well, this isn’t about intel anymore. This is about regime change.
Bradley: And if I understand you correctly, when the White House learned that you had this source from the inner circle of Saddam Hussein, they were thrilled with that.
Drumheller: The first we heard, they were. Yes.
Bradley: But when they learned what it was that he had to say, that Saddam did not have the capability to wage nuclear war, weapons of mass destruction?
Drumheller: They stopped being interested in the intelligence.
Bradley: The White House declined to respond to Drumheller’s account of Naji Sabri’ s role, but Secretary of State Rice has said that Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister-turned-US spy, was just one source, and therefore his information wasn’t reliable.
Drumheller: They certainly took information that came from single sources on uranium, on the yellowcake story and on several other stories that had no corroboration at all, and so you can’t say you only listen to one source, because on many issues they only listened to one source.
Bradley: So you’re saying that if there was a single source and that information from that source backed up the case they were trying to build, then that single source was okay, but if it didn’t, then the single source was not okay because he couldn’t be corroborated.
Drumheller: Unfortunately, that’s what it looks like.
Sabri refused a request from the CIA that he should defect to the US and returned to Iraq where he took up a strong anti-imeriaist position during the war.
Recently Mike Barker made a Freedom of Information request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to two letters written by Sabri.
Dated 2 September 2012 it asked to ‘Please confirm these extracts from two letters from Dr Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs under President Saddam Hussein, sent to Kofi Annan Secretary General to the UN.
‘Letter dated 11 June 2002 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General.
‘On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to transmit to you, enclosed herewith, a letter dated 11 June 2002 from Mr Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq, concerning threats by the United States of America to use its nuclear capability against a number of States, including Iraq.
‘I should be grateful if you would have this letter and its annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
‘(Signed) Mohammed A. Aldouri.’
The letter stated: ‘Secretary-General
‘On 10 March 2002 United States newspapers leaked information on a confidential report by the United States Department of Defense (the Pentagon) entitled “Re-evaluation of the nuclear situation”, in which it is stated that the Administration of President George W Bush had ordered the Department of Defense to prepare contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against China, Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic, and that the Department of Defense had submitted the report to the Senate on 8 January 2002. Later, senior United States Administration officials confirmed the information in the report
‘(Signed) Naji Sabri’
The second letter stated: ‘Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq’
September 16, 2002.’
‘Mr. Kofi Annan,
‘The Secretary General of the United Nations
‘Dear Secretary-General, held in your office in New York on 14 and 15 September 2002, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. . .
‘I am pleased to inform you of the decision of the Government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions.
‘The Government of the Republic of Iraq has responded, by this decision, to your appeal, to the appeal of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, as well as those of Arab, Islamic and other friendly countries.
‘The Government of the Republic of Iraq has based its decision concerning the return of inspectors on its desire to complete the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and to remove any doubts that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction…
‘This decision is also based on your statement to the General Assembly on 12 September 2002 that the decision by the Government of the Republic of Iraq is the indispensable first step towards an assurance that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction and, equally importantly, towards a comprehensive solution that includes the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq and the timely implementation of other provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 687(1991).
‘To this end, the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections.
‘In this context, the Government of the Republic of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all Member States of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions and article (II) of the Charter of the United Nations.
‘I would be grateful if you bring this letter to the attention of the Security Council members.
‘Please accept, Mr Secretary-General the assurances of my highest consideration.
‘Dr Naji Sabri
‘Minister of Foreign Affairs
‘Republic of Iraq’
While Iraq wanted peace, the US and the UK were determined to go to war and commenced the destruction of Iraq and its infrastructure shortly afterwards, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and turning millions into refugees.