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OSP: Office of Special Propaganda

This may seem like one of those things that should be filed under "D" for Duh!" but turns out all those claims by the administration of a "link" between Saddam and Al-Qaeda was just such so much propaganda peddled to help sell the war.

From WaPo*:
Intelligence provided by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq included "reporting of dubious quality or reliability" that supported the political views of senior administration officials rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community, according to a report by the Pentagon's inspector general.

Feith's office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," according to portions of the report, released yesterday by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). The inspector general described Feith's activities as "an alternative intelligence assessment process."

An unclassified summary of the full document is scheduled for release today in a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which Levin chairs. In that summary, a copy of which was obtained from another source by The Washington Post, the inspector general concluded that Feith's assessment in 2002 that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a "mature symbiotic relationship" was not fully supported by available intelligence but was nonetheless used by policymakers.

See Meme for more.

* WaPo submitted a major correction to the article quoted above. I say major because all the inflammatory quotes of Feith's office producing intelligence that was of "dubious quality or reliability" and "predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda" came from a 2004 report from Sen. Levin and not the Inspector General's report.

The IG's report did say that the OSP had "developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers." Not quite as damning as WaPo first reported but nonetheless revealing given we now know which assessments the administration chose to go with.