Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group

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Group.png Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation GroupRdf-icon.png
Interests“terrorism”

The Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group was set up in the immediate aftermath of the attacks by Douglas Feith tasked with finding such a link. Described variously as the ‘nucleus of the Defense Department's Iraq disinformation campaign’. [1] ‘a pro-war propaganda cell’[2] the group comprised solely of two individuals – David Wurmser and F. Michael Maloof . It eschewed traditional intelligence techniques in favour of dubious sources furnished by INC conman Ahmad Chalabi, who has since taken responsibility for furnishing false intelligence in order to precipitate the invasion. Each week the group would brief Stephen A. Cambone on its appropriately alarmist conclusions. According to James Risen of The New York Times,

Old ethnic, religious and political divides between terrorist groups were breaking down, the two men warned, posing an ominous new threat. They saw alliances among a wide range of Islamic terrorists, and theorized about a convergence of Sunni and Shiite extremist groups and secular Arab governments. Their conclusions, delivered to senior Bush administration officials, connected Iraq and Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. [3]

According to Bamford: 'The group produced a ‘sociometric diagram’ of links between disparate organizations with little in common' [4] Describing it as the ’[l]eave no dot unconnected’ approach, both the CIA and the Defence Intelligence Agency remained sceptical that ‘governments as diverse as those in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iran could be linked to anything like a cohesive terrorist network...The C.I.A. saw little evidence, for example, that the Sunni-dominated Qaeda and the Shiite-dominated Hezbollah had worked together on terrorist attacks.' [5]

However, as Bamford points out, ‘the primary purpose of the unit was to come up with the basis to counter the CIA, whose analysts had consistently found no credible links between Al Qaeda and Hussein’[6] Rumsfeld acknowledged as much in an October 2002 press briefing, Dreyfuss and Vest report, noting that the ‘primary purpose of the unit was to cull factoids, which were then used to disparage, undermine, and contradict the CIA’ [7]

Members


References

  1. Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, 'The Lie Factory', Mother Jones, January/February, 2004. (Accessed 27 March, 2009)
  2. James Bamford, 2004, A Pretext for War, Doubleday; First printing edition (June 8, 2004) p. 289
  3. James Risen, 'How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence', CommonDreams.org/The New York Times, 28 April, 2004. (Accessed 27 March, 2009)
  4. Bamford, 2004: 289
  5. James Risen, 'How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence', CommonDreams.org/The New York Times, 28 April, 2004. (Accessed 27 March, 2009)
  6. Bamford, 2004: 289.
  7. Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, 'The Lie Factory', Mother Jones, January/February, 2004. (Accessed 27 March, 2009)