Potemkin Village

Michael Ledeen has some thoughts on David Kay not finding WMD in Iraq. Michael is always a breath of fresh air and I find what he says compelling.

Last August I called him in Baghdad to tell him that I had a person — a good person, like himself, a person I trust — who was prepared to take him to an underground laboratory from which a quantity of enriched uranium had been taken a few years ago, and smuggled to Iran. Wow, he said, let’s go look. Have the guy call me, we’ll check it out.

The guy could never get David on the phone because the CIA decided not to investigate after all. The CIA never went to look, and I don’t know if that stuff was real or fictional. But this case was totally different from the Potemkin WMDs of David’s elegant theory. Because my guy was in contact with the people who said they had moved the stuff from Iraq to Iran. They were now sick, and wanted to tell their story before they got much worse. But, as I say, the CIA never went to look. They pretended they wanted to, they finally met with my guy, but they told him they didn’t believe his story (although there was really no reason to either believe it or not, it was a matter of either looking or not, and if you didn’t look you couldn’t know anything one way or the other). He said the people who had done the smuggling had a full description of the material on a CD Rom, which they were willing to provide. CIA wasn’t interested. And that’s the end of it, so far as I know.

So there’s one instance where the CIA wasn’t curious enough to take a ride and look at a lab. And I ask myself whether there were other such cases. I know of other examples, not involving WMDs, but involving Saddam’s money, where CIA refused to look, and the stories they were told — and decided not to believe — turned out to be true.

This compels me to think heads should finally roll at the CIA. Their cold war mindset will only be changed if some of their heads roll.