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View Diary: Is it possible the INR memo is a red herring? (140 comments)

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  •  Perhaps State briefing might spark some ideas.. (none)
    ...granted this 26 June 2003 Briefing was talking about "pukes" not "nukes", however, when looking for the flow of these docs, we might want to identify some process patterns.

    QUESTION: The issue of those two trailers and what it might have said -- what they might have said about Iraq's weapons is back in the news. I wondered what the State Department's view is today, and the Secretary's particularly because he has expressed confidence that it's telling evidence.

    MR. BOUCHER: Our view and the Secretary's view, the U.S. Government view, is that these are mobile biological weapons laboratories. This view was expressed in a public paper put forth by the CIA and DIA analysts who had worked most extensively on the matter, most extensively and directly on the matter.

    The reports today of a memo from our Intelligence and Research branch -- I'm not going to be able to describe in detail a particular memo, but I would say they, too, had looked at the situation. You have to remember, our Intelligence and Research Bureau basically looks at the same information everybody else does, but they also have their own angles, their own analysis of this. They did not dispute the conclusions that had been reached by the other agency analysts. They pointed out some questions that need to be looked at, issues that needed to be raised.

    When the Secretary got this memo, he made sure it went over to the CIA right away. We have been assured by the CIA that those issues were considered, were looked at, and that they were confident and remain confident in their judgment that these are mobile biological weapons laboratories.

    So there's no question of INR contradicting the CIA conclusions. They just raised some issues that they felt should be answered, needed to be answered, before conclusions like that were reached. And, indeed, we have been assured by those who reached the conclusions that those issues were considered.

    [all emphasis added]

    And going back to the memo from the 21 July WP 'Memo Central' article, we learn:

    It records that the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Attached to the INR memo were the notes taken by the senior INR analyst who attended the 2002 meeting at the CIA.

    On July 6, 2003, shortly after Wilson went public on NBC's "Meet the Press" and in The Post and the New York Times discussing his trip to Niger, the INR director at the time, Carl W. Ford Jr., was asked to explain Wilson's statements for Powell, according to sources familiar with the events. He went back and reprinted the June 10 memo but changed the addressee from Grossman to Powell.

    [all emphasis added]

    So the notes are an attachment to the memo, but suppose the INR memo is an attachment to some larger doc, a non-INR summary, tasks and actions document.

    Is it possible that the yellow cake and the mobile labs were both included in the possible 'missing' non-INR doc in question? As sort of a 'master case' briefing from "CIA and DIA analysts"?

    Are we looking for an Africa INR expert, or some other INR, perhaps higher INR person that was reporting to Carl Ford or even John Bolton himself? What about those "Boltonized" guys like, Westermann, Fleitz or Ford's deputy Fingar. Their comments might fill-in some of the gray.  One thing is certain, there are more unhappy campers yet to be 'forced' forward in this group who would not budge.  Bolton may not be clear of the Plame plume of smoke just yet, he might just get sucked in too.

    Sorry, please forgive this, but that is still some new and better removed version of the OSP.  What was the OSP more than a dedicated storage area on some dedicated drive and secure server list? Can't believe the "disbanded" line at all. They were always so smug about how great it was. Same staff, same stuff, different drive.

    Still think this is the right track, need more time and data to reflect on a bit more.

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