- (Abstract below for reference)
- This section presents the text of a speech given by George J. Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. on February 5, 2004, which addressed the debate over Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. In the intelligence business, one is never completely wrong or completely right. That applies in full to the question of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Much of the current controversy centers on the pre-war intelligence on Iraq, summarized in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002. This estimate asked whether Iraq had chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them. Following are three information based on the conclusion of the National Intelligence Estimate. First, everyone was aware that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s and 1990s. Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran and his own people on at least 10 different occasions. He launched missiles against Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Second, the U.S. could not account for all the weapons the Iraqis had: tons of chemical weapons precursors, hundreds of artillery shells and bombs filled with chemical or biological agents. The third stream of information came after the United Nations inspectors left Iraq in 1998. They have gathered intelligence through human agents, satellite photographs, and communications intercepts.
My paper is on the ignorance involved in the Iraq War regarding communication, intelligence, and cultural disparities. As we all know, the biggest flop of intelligence in the Iraq War was the eventual lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction, so I focused my research there first and stumbled upon <this> article. I absolutely love this article because it’s not written by some Joe at the New York Times, it’s an actual speech given by the director of the C.I.A, George J. Tinet. That, right there, gives the article a lot of credentials and makes it that much more interesting to read. The speech itself serves to do damage control as our country’s officials were forced to admit that W.O.M.D’s were not found in Iraq. Within attempting to retain the CIA’s “good” name, many interesting lines about intelligence as a concept itself were spoken.
“By definition, intelligence deals with the unclear, the unknown, the deliberately hidden. What the enemies of the United States hope to deny, we work to reveal.
The question being asked about Iraq in the starkest of terms is: were we “right” or were we “wrong.”
In the intelligence business, you are almost never completely wrong or completely right.”
That last line struck me the hardest. If you are never completely wrong or completely right, does that mean you are never 100% accountable for your actions based on faulty or correct intelligence? It’s an idea that I may stretch out in my paper, but it’s also an idea that really has no “yes or no” . I was able to learn from the article that the decision to search for these weapons came findings and thoughts generated in “The Estimate”: a publication where “the intelligence community as a whole seeks to sum up what we know about a subject, what we do not know, what we suspect may be happening, and where we differ on key issues.” I may use this information to generate a sort of “smear campaign” against the CIA’s intelligence, or i may use it to support the CIA. It can go both ways.
The rest of the article lists what the CIA knew prior to invading, and what they knew after (at the time of the speech), it’s interesting enough, but that’s not what I’m hitting at. Tinet ends his speech by explaining that even without WOMD’s found, the ordeal was still “an intelligence success.”, which is another statement that I could easily debate in the paper.