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CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


May 31, 2003

Rumsfeld Creates Office of Special Plans (Oct. 2002)

'Rumsfeld assigns his own intelligence unit to sift reports on Iraq' (10/25/02 - International Herald Tribune / NY Times)

The following article from 2002 reported on the creation of the Office of Special Plans, althought the office is not specifically named.

[Read the source...]

NY Times via the International Herald Tribune:

Rumsfeld assigns his own intelligence unit to sift reports on Iraq
Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker (The New York Times)
Friday, October 25, 2002

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his senior advisers have assigned a small intelligence unit to search for information on Iraq's hostile intentions or links to terrorists that U.S. spy agencies may have overlooked, Pentagon officials said. Some officials say the creation of the team reflects frustration on the part of Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other senior officials that they are not receiving undiluted information on the capabilities of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and his suspected ties to terrorist organizations.

But other officials say that the top civilian policymakers are intent on politicizing intelligence to fit their hawkish views on Iraq. [Emphasis added.]

In particular, many in the intelligence agencies disagree that Saddam can be directly linked to Osama bin Laden and his network, Al Qaeda, or that the two are likely to make common cause against the United States. In addition, the view among even some senior intelligence analysts at the CIA is that Saddam is contained and is unlikely to unleash weapons of mass destruction unless he is attacked. But those in Rumsfeld's inner circle of advisers view Saddam's record, which includes aggression against Kuwait and the use of poison gas against his people, as much more alarming, and they are not willing to risk leaving him in power. They cite numerous intelligence findings indicating links between Iraq and senior Qaeda leaders.

The intelligence team, comprising four to five members, was established by Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy and a strong advocate for military action against Saddam. It was formed last year, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks, to take on special assignments in the global war on terror. [Emphases added.] The team's specialty is using powerful computers and new software to scan and sort documents and reports from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies.

The team's current task, described by one official as "data mining," is to glean individual details that may collectively point to Iraq's wider connections to terrorism, but which may have been obscured by formal assessments that play down the overall Iraqi threat.

Wolfowitz said that the members of the special intelligence team were "helping us sift through enormous amounts of incredibly valuable data that our many intelligence resources have vacuumed up."


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