Conyers Announces Review of Allegations of Bush Administration’s Forged Iraq Intelligence

On August 11th, 2008, the House Judiciary Committee announced it would investigate certain of the allegations made in Suskind's book.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today announced plans to review allegations that senior Bush Administration officials ordered the forgery and dissemination of false intelligence documents as reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, in his new book, "The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism."

"Mr. Suskind reports that the Bush Administration, in its pursuit of war, created and promoted forged documents about Iraq," said Conyers. "I am particularly troubled that the decision to disseminate this fabricated intelligence is alleged to have come from the highest reaches of the administration. The administration’s attempt to challenge Mr. Suskind’s reporting appears to have been effectively dismissed by the publication of the author’s interview recordings and transcripts. I have instructed my staff to conduct a careful review of Mr. Suskind’s allegations and the role played by senior administration officials in this matter."

A number of issues raised in Mr. Suskind’s book to be reviewed include:

  • The origin of the allegedly forged document that formed the basis for Bush’s 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium from Niger;

  • The role of this document in creating the false impression that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had a working relationship with Iraq;

  • The relationship between this document and other reported examples of the Bush Administration considering other deceptive schemes to justify or provoke war with Iraq, such as the reported consideration of painting a U.S. aircraft with UN colors in order to provoke Iraq into military confrontation;

  • Allegations that the Bush Administration deliberately ignored information from Iraq’s chief intelligence officer that Iraq possessed no WMDs;

  • The payment of $5 million to Iraq’s chief intelligence officer and his secret settlement in Jordan, beyond the reach of investigators;

  • The September 2007 detainment and interrogation of Mr. Suskind’s research assistant, Greg Jackson, by federal agents in Manhattan. Jackson’s notes were also confiscated.



Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush

The next week, Conyers wrote to those implicated. He received no admission of guilt in response.

On August 20, 2008, Chairman Conyers wrote the key Administration insiders alleged to be involved in the matter: George Tenet, former Director of the CIA; Rob Richer, former CIA Deputy Director of Clandestine Operations Group in the Near East Division; John Maguire, one of the heads of the CIA's Iraq Operations Group in the Near East Division; A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard, former Executive Director of the CIA; John Hannah, Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affaris; and Lewis I. "Scooter" Libby, former Chief of Staff to the Vice President.[1] No information was obtained in response to these letters that confirmed the recipients' knowledge of the forgeries.[2] Accordingly, the Administration figures who ordered and authored the apparent forgery – and their involvement in leaking it through foreign intelligence channels – remain unidentified.

  1. See Letters from Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Chairman, H. Comm. on the Judiciary, to George Tenet, Rob Richer, John Maguire, A. B. "Buzzy" Krongard, John Hanna and I. Lewis Libby, Aug. 20, 2008.
  2. See, e.g., Letter from Rob Richer to Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Chairman, H. Comm. on the Judiciary, Sept. 1, 2008.