Not sure if this is related to the letter.... but i think its fascinating, and its related to suskinds book. and one of the charges in it, that a CIA report on Naji Sabri was 'almost certainly' modified by the cia. hopefuly that doesnt take this wiki too far afield....

But check it out.

"Iraqi diplomat gave U.S. prewar WMD details"

This is MSNBC saying they figured out who Tenet was talking about when he said 'a source' who had access to Saddam before the war. That source... Naji Sabri.

The problem here is between Suskind and Tenet their accounts of what Naji said do not agree.

Suskinds account of Sabri's 2002 communication with CIA Edit

Suskind says : pg 180, The Way of the World

"The upshot of Sabri's account was that Saddam neither possessed WMD nor was trying very hard to procure or develop them. If Saddam was eager for a nuclear weapon, he was as far as ever from having one and was making no progress on that front; any vestige of a bioweapons program was neglible; and if any chemical weapons remained in Iraq, they were no longer in the hands of either Saddam Hussein or his military.

Murray flew down to Washington to deliver the news and briefed John McLaughlin, CIA's deputy director. McLaughlin was enthusiastic about the intelligence but pointed out that it was contradicted by information from Curveball, the best source on Iraqi WD to that point. Sabri's account was relayed to Tenet, who delivered it personlly to Bush the following day.

. . . the White House said it would be interested in Sabri only if he chose to defect . . .

CIA was putting together a report on the Sabri intelligence . . . What eventually emerged from the New York station provd to be a serious distortion of Murray's initial filing. Most strikingly, a new introductory paragraph had been added that claimed not only that Saddam possessed biological and chemical weapons, but that he was 'aggressively and covertly developing' nuclear weapons.

Tenet supposed account of Sabri's 2002 communication with CIA Edit

But Tenet says, in a 2004 Speech at Georgetown university, linked in that NBC article....and available on the CIAs website...


This Estimate asked if Iraq had chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. We concluded that in some of these categories, Iraq had weapons. And that in others—where it did not have them—it was trying to develop them.

. . . [Tenet goes on to discuss biological and other weapons programs, and various evidence he saw about those programs...]

I’ve now given you my provisional bottom lines. But it is important to remember that Estimates are not written in a vacuum. Let me tell you some of what was going on in the fall of 2002. Several sensitive reports crossed my desk from two sources characterized by our foreign partners as “established and reliable.”

The first, from a source who had direct access to Saddam and his inner circle said:

Iraq was not in possession of a nuclear weapon. However, Iraq was aggressively and covertly developing such a weapon. Saddam had recently called together his Nuclear Weapons Committee irate that Iraq did not yet have a weapon because money was no object and they possessed the scientific know how.

The Committee members assured Saddam that once the fissile material was in hand, a bomb could be ready in just 18-24 months. The return of UN inspectors would cause minimal disruption because, according to the source, Iraq was expert at denial and deception.

The same source said Iraq was stockpiling chemical weapons and that equipment to produce insecticides, under the oil-for-food program, had been diverted to covert chemical weapons production.

The source said that "Iraq’s weapons of “last resort” were "mobile launchers armed with chemical weapons which would be fired at enemy forces and Israel."

Iraqi scientists were “dabbling” with biological weapons, with limited success,

But the quantities were not sufficient to constitute a real weapons program.

A stream of reporting from a different sensitive source with access to senior Iraqi officials said he believed:

- production of chemical and biological weapons was taking place,

- that biological agents were easy to produce and to hide, and

- prohibited chemicals were also being produced at dual-use facilities. 

This source stated that a senior Iraqi official in Saddam's inner circle believed, as a result of the UN inspections, Iraq knew the inspectors’ weak points and how to take advantage of them. The source said there was an elaborate plan to deceive inspectors and ensure prohibited items would never be found.

A few questions Edit

Now, according to the msnbc story, that first source mentioned by Tenet is Naji Sabri. But, according to Suskind, Naji Sabri told the CIA nothing of the sort.

Question: Was MSNBC wrong or right? They say 'officials told' them. Did MSNBC mix up anything in its report? Were their sources mistaken on any details? Is Naji really that 'source' in the Tenet speech? Did Tenet confirm or deny this? Who told NBC all this info?

Question: Where did Suskind get his information about the 'initial report' from Murray? How does he know that the NYC Station report was different from the initial report? Are both reports written down anywhere? Who saw the reports?

Question: In the same speech, Tenet mentions 'a source' which MSNBC says is Naji. Then tenet, in the next line, mentions 'another' source, that says there are WMDs all over the place. Who is that 'another' source?

Question: Tenet says that reports crossed his desk from sources that 'foreign partners' said were 'established and reliable'. Which foriegn partners? How did they know?

Suskind version vs Tenet version Edit

Suskind Version: 2008 book Way of the World, pg 180

  • Nukes: 'Saddam...making no progress'
  • Bioweapons: 'any vestige...neglible'
  • Chemical weapons: 'no longer in the hands of Saddam Hussein or his military'
  • WMD in general: Saddam did not possess, and was not trying hard

Tenet version: 2004 speech to Georgetown, on cia website

  • Nukes: 'aggressively and covertly' developing
  • Chemical weapons: stockpiling, covert production, and mobile launchers
  • Bioweapons: dabbling, with limited success

Question: Why are these two pictures so different? What accounts for that discrepancy?

What does this have to do with the Habbush Letter Edit

I dont know. I have no idea. probably nothing..... hopefully it does not take this wiki too far afield to put it in here.... i just ... the thing just feels weird. so id like to ask a question or two about it...

See Also Edit

Wikipedia page on Naji [wikipedia:Naji Sabri]