CIA Forged Iraq Intelligence, New Book Says

Ron Suskind, author of "The Price of Loyalty" and "The One Percent Doctrine," is out with a new book that includes CIA forgery of pre-war intelligence, the Politico reports:

A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.

Suskind writes in "The Way of the World," to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery - adamantly denied by the White House - was designed to portray a false link between Hussein's regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.

The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official "that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion."

George Tenet, director of the CIA at the time, responds:

There was no such order from the White House to me nor, to the best of my knowledge, was anyone from CIA ever involved in any such effort.

It is well established that, at my direction, CIA resisted efforts on the part of some in the Administration to paint a picture of Iraqi-Al Qa'ida connections that went beyond the evidence. The notion that I would suddenly reverse our stance and have created and planted false evidence that was contrary to our own beliefs is ridiculous.

There are undoubtedly many other errors in the book - but these are the first ones of which I've been made aware. One would think a serious journalist would have, at a minimum, asked the supposed participants if what he was prepared to write was consistent with the facts. Mr. Suskind never contacted me on anything regarding this book. I suppose he had a story that fell into the category of: "too good to check."

Asked about Tenet's reaction on NBC's "Today," Suskind said it's "part of George's memory issue." Watch:

The White House issued its own denial: deputy press secretary Tony Fratto said, "The notion that the White House directed anyone to forge a letter from Habbush to Saddam Hussein is absurd."

Suskind responded that the White House "is all but obligated to deny this."

"If they go in the other direction, I think they're probably going to have to start firing people," he told the AP.