Its a book. In English. Costs about 30 bucks. Less on amazon used. Then there are libraries...

written by Ron Suskind.

Date of release of book Edit

Here is how Mike Allen, of politico, talks about how he got the book before its 'official' release.

We had accepted the embargo, but at the last minute they decided not to share the book. So around 8 last night. . .I went looking in Washington bookstores, and found a huge stack in the window of the second place I visited. . . . I first went to "Bush," "Cheney," "Rove," "Rice" and "Iraq" in the index, then started flipping through the pages. I was writing the forgery allegation as a bullet point, then suddenly thought, "Hmm, we might have a lead." I filed at 10:43 and we posted at 11:23. [1]

fiction or non fiction Edit

there is a lot of reporting in the book... ie, stuff that really happened... based on the authors first hand experience. then, there are stories based on interviews, but he doesnt tell you who he interviewed to get the story... for example the afghani kid visiting denver, as poitned out in the washington post review (see below).

then there is stuff, well, unless he built a time machine to go back to 10th century wikipedia::Bukhara, he cant really say all the detais on pg 113 are non-fiction, only that they are probaby accurate.... based on?? presumably the author has read scholarly works of historians and archaeologists about what sorts of things were sold in 10th century marketplaces, where avicenna would have gotten aristotles works, and many other details. but he does not tell us how he knows these things. thus, can you really consider this passage of the book to be 'non fiction'?

reviews Edit

washington post alan cooperman, aug 19, 2008

talks about the parts of the book that are novel istic, for example where suskind writes about what bush is thinking at particular moments, when he quite probably did not interview bush (supposedly because bush deosnt want to talk to somebody who made him look like an ass in several previous books). the review also talks about the extensive use of anonymous sources.

<blockuote>"The moral of Suskind's story, in short, is that nothing succeeds like truthfulness. Yet the greatest damage to the book's credibility is inflicted by none other than the author, who chose an emotionally powerful, novelistic voice over candor with his readers."[2] </blockquote>

lack of citations , bibliography Edit

the book is not like a history book, or other nonfiction books. for example "and the band played on". it doesnt cite every single statement made, and does not have a bibliography that would enable attributing specific quotes or facts, to specific interviews done on specific dates, like you would find in some other books, especially history books.

for example, the 5 million dollar payment to habbush, is just stated in a paragraph in the book. there is no citation giving a source for this information, or whether he got the information from an interview, from reviewing records, or what.

suskind claims though that he has extensive proof for his story, on record in taped interviews.

interview transcript posted on websiteEdit

a partial transcript of an interview suskind did with Rob Richer is posted on his website, aug 2008.

in an interview on the Jim Bohannon Show, 8/7/08, Suskinds talks about the transcript posting:

"Harper Collins lawyers vetted them... there [are a few things blacked out] so . . . private citizens . . . won't have trouble . . . who might be mentioned . . . "

why is the forgery at the end of the bookEdit

according to a aug 11 2008 interview with jon stewart on the daily show, [3] this part of his story came up at the end of the process of writing the book.... his overall book, as the title would seem to indicate, is more about the question of 'moral authority' rather than centered around the forgery allegation.

forgery grabs us headlinesEdit

book comes out, aug 5. newspapers and tv and radio keep talking about the habbush letter forgery. actually its a small part of this large tome. some dude on a tv show suggests to suskind that too much has been made of the forgery, suskind says he wants to 'hug you for saying that'

--> and yet, HarperCollins released the book to reviewers along with a list of breaking news stories that were in the book along with page numbers, so that reviewers could cut to the chase and find the most controversial information without having to actually read the whole book. So whether or not he wanted to make a big deal out of the Habbush letter allegation, certainly his publisher did.

---> are you saying the habbush letter was featured more prominenty than the other stories in the 'list of breaking news stories'? do you have a copy of that list? the first reviewer that 'broke' the habbush letter story was the guy at - he didnt have any list from the publisher, did he? from what i heard, he just walked around to a bookstore and bought a copy off the shelf the night before it was supposed to come out officially. furthermore, why this one topic? i would think the murray report allegation would be rather controversial, and i have not heard it mentioned hardly at all (if at all) in the media interviews..... not to mention all the other quite amazing stories packed in the tome. . . .

Denials by Whitehouse, suskinds sources, etcEdit

the whitehouse comes out with a statement, from tenet, and from sources maguire and richer, saying, as far as the habbush letter goes, the book is wrong, never happened, deny deny deny etc etc etc.

they also deny other things about the book, to various extents.

secret service spokesman denial Edit

link is here

"Washington Insider with Ronald Kessler", august 25, 2008

"We have no record of the incident or the [Pakistani] individual referenced," says Edwin Donovan, assistant special agent in charge of government and public affairs at the Secret Service.

"Bringing an individual inside the White House for questioning defies standard security and protocols and safety procedures," Donovan adds. "

The article also states that Khosa, the individual Suskind writes about in the book, has 'declined to comment'. Also, Khosa's friend, McFadgen, did not comment.

Question: The secret service spokesman does not say 'it didnt happen'. Why not?

Question: does anyone else, in the past 7 years, have any evidence, whatsoever, that anyone besides mr Khosa was interrogated by the Secret Service on or under whitehouse grounds?

Question: Does Suskind have any of his evidence for this stuff on tape? would he release it ? Who are his sources, other than Khosa?

Question: Why would Khosa make up something like this? Was he simply confused about where he was taken? Did he have a dream or something? What is his evidence? Can he recognize any of the agents?

Question: lets say Khosa got the location wrong. Does that mean any of the rest of his story is wrong? Where , in fact, might he have been interrogtaed, if not on whitehouse grounds? If he went to the "Secret Service's Washington field office at 13th and L Streets NW or to a Metropolitan police station", as the article mentions, would Khosa recognize the place?

Condi rice denial Edit

in an interview on aronud early august 2008, condi rice also denied the forgery story

george tenet Edit

  • aug 2x
  • aug 8ish?

rob richer Edit

  • to newsmax?? or did i dream that up?
  • statement on [suskind response]
  • whitehouse thing

john maguire Edit

  • only denial has been through rob richer, which was through whitehouse.

nigel inkster Edit

  • to some dude in the guardian, on his blog

richard dearlove Edit

  • i have no idea where, but apparently he has released a 'statement'

denials of some things and not of others Edit

some of his sources will deny specific things. like maguire saying he has no knowledge of the origins of the letter. also richer saying noone ordered him to make such a letter.

but the sources dont deny other things. like, that there were secret meetings with habbush in 2003. or that there was a 5 million dollar payoff. or that there was a resettlement. or that naji sabri was misrepresented to the british. now, the CIA has said that the payoff didnt happen, and resettlemeent didnt occur. but what about Richer and Maguire? What do they say about that topic? now, probably, these folks are busy people, and dont want to go through a book they probably dislike, and rebut each and everything they find factually wrong. on the other hand, it would be kind of helpful to get to the bottom of things if someone could sort it all out. imho.

sources that havent denied anything yet Edit

as of late aug 2008.

  • Buzzy Krongard
  • Michael Shipster
  • Anonymous sources
    • It would be kinda hilarious if an anonymous source came out and said anonymously that they claim suskind misrepresented their anonymous information.

Suskind responds to whitehouse denials on habbush letter Edit

In various interviews in the week of the books release, Suskind makes these basic arguments.

  • tenet is unreliable, because of past mistakes w facts
  • maguire and richer are under 'pressure'
  • maguire and richer are worried about future employment
  • richer has been misfeeding maguire about the book, maguire doesnt have the book
  • whitehouse is character assasinating him, like mclellan and others before (refers to nixon enemies list, on oberman)
  • its all on tape
  • earlier, claims maguire might come out to support him
  • richer was 'fine' with the book the night before, and the morning after, but in the afternoon someone 'got to him' to make him deny things
  • the denials are non-denial denials, ie calling it 'absurd' is not the same thing as saying 'no, it never happened'.
  • 'parsing' the denials, like a lawyer might, will reveal that they are non denial denials.

Did Bush/Cheney knew there were no WMDs before invasion? Edit

The other story that grabbed headlines, besides the Habbush Letter, is the accusation that Bush and/or Cheney knew there were no WMDs in Iraq before the invasion.

Example: Andrew Sullivan, 'Suskinds Other Scoop' [1]

How did they know? Edit

Well, According to suskinds book, amongst other evidence of no wmds, they had two guys in the Iraqi government secretly telling outsiders that there were no WMDs. Does that count as 'knowing'? it doesnt seem that suskind goes that far. he would seem to say that this evidence was, basically, from his perspective, not given proper consideration.

One: Tahir Jalil Habbush, the head of the Iraqi Intelligence ServiceEdit

Who was talking to him? Michael Shipster, a guy from SIS, British Intelligence. Shipster told the British dudes, and they told people in the Whitehouse.

Two: Naji Sabri, Foreign minister of Iraq. Edit

If you have seen that excellent film 'Live from Baghdad', about CNNs reporters in Baghdad during the gulf war, then you might remember him... he is played by the dude that plays Hercule Poirot. He is the one that Robert Weiner has to deal with to allow his crew (including Bernie Shaw, Peter Arnett, etc ) to stay there in Baghdad.

According to Suskind's book, pg 179, He was also a payed spy of the French intelligence.

Who was talking to Naji?

Suskind on pgs 180-181 says that the CIA was, through an intermediary. Naji had to come to the UN, which is in New York City, in September, 2002. They got a "Lebanese journalist trusted by both sides" to post "questions on behalf of CIA and then follow up with Murray", Murray being Bill Murray, a CIA agent. Murray told CIA deputy director John McLaughlin, who told George Tenet, who told President Bush. Who apparently didn't think much of it.

Any other contact with Naji?

According to Suskind, Yeah. pg 181. The French "monitored" his calls, and sent the information they gleaned to the CIA. Pg 182.

"As fall changed to winter in 2002, Murray tried to continue to work Sabri through the Lebanese intermediary and kept pushing Iraq on the issue of defection. . . . the reports . . . were met with silence from the White House. . . . . in January, Murray discovered that the Lebanese intermediary had made off with Sabri's $200,000 and he tried to get another requisition for the Iraq. He was refused

Curveball Edit

Suskinds book says "Curveball" was saying there were WMDs. Who is Curveball? Stay tuned, maybe someone will edit this and tell us. i think that name rings a bell... its probably not a big secret.

Were sabri and habbush lying? The debate in the CIA Edit

Why would anyone believe Sabri and Habbush? Isn't there a conflict of interest?

Buzzy Krongard quote Edit

Well, according to Suskinds book, there was debate like this in the US government, at least about Habbush. pg 365 he quotes Buzzy Krongard

"everybody was terrified that we are being set up and will be made to look like patsies"

"Twenty percent are saying he's the 'real McCoy' and he's being truthful. Twenty percent are saying it's D and D: denial and deception. The rest are saying, Jeez, I don't know. Nobody wants to put their name on it and say I'm taking responsibility for it, that this is the real thing and there are no WMD."

Question: What about Sabri?

George Tenet Quote Edit

On the other hand, George Tenet says this: blah blah blah, im too tired to find the quote right now. its his august 4 statement about how there were lots of iraqis saying this stuff but the CIA didnt trust them.

Suskind doesnt seem to have an answer for this point, in his book... maybe i missed it.

The Pentagon / State Dept side of the debate over WMDs Edit

Suskind's book woud appear to say that the State Dept and the Pentagon were not told about Naji at all..

According to Suskind, Pg 182 "Sabri's intelligence was buried, never conveyed to the Pentagon or to Colin Powell at the State Department. "

Question: how does Suskind know this? Was it buried intentionally? Who buried it? Why? What does Colin Powell think about this?

Question: was this normal for the CIA to not pass on this information? how many other sources besides Naji and Habbush did they have? How did they pick and choose which reports to pass on and which not to pass on? How many reports did they have to sift through? How did they do it, and why?

Question: Did the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence not find out about any of this stuff? What did they have to say about it?

Please see the section 'the british debate' for more information about Naji Sabris story.

The british debate on WMDs Edit

What about the debate in the British government? Does anyone have any information on that? Did they trust habbush or Sabri? Well, its complicated

What did blair think of the Habbush reports? Edit

i dont know, i havent got that far i the book yet. why dont you edit this section and fix it?

What did they think of the Naji Sabri reports? Edit

Well, apparently they thought it was supporting the idea to go into Iraq, because that is what they did. But there is a question: was the report they got an accurate depiction of what Naji Sabri said to the intermediary, who told the CIA guy Murray, who had someone else in the New York CIA station write the report? (Suskind calls this a game of "Telephone")

was a CIA report altered ? Edit

Pg 381, he is talking about the CIA guy who talked to Sabri through an intermediary.

Murray had been in a rush to get back to Paris after briefing McLaughlin, and he didn't stick around to write upthe report himself. Instead, he passed the job off to the CIA station in New York, where he was connecting on his return trip to France. What eventually emerged fro the New York station proved to be a serious distortion of Murray's initial finding. Most strikingly, a new introductory paragraph had been added that clainmed not only that Sadda possessed biological and checmical weapons but that he was "aggressively and covertly developing" nuclear weapons. These assertions were not just unrelated to Sabri's disclosures and Murray's reporting; they were in direct contradiction to both.

This erroneous report-- almost certainly altered under pressure from Washington-- was guarded so closely that it was never shown to the teams, at CIA, and elsewhere, hurriedly assembling the October 2002 NIE on Iraq's WMDs

Question: Why was the report guarded so closely ? What is Suskind's evidence that the report was altered with pressure from washington? Where is the report? Who has it ? What does Murray have to say about all this? Does he agree with Suskinds account?

The report goes to Blair Edit

pg 181/182... Suskind is talking about the report that the New York CIA station wrote on Sabri.

An unsourced version was passed to Sir Richard Dearlove, Britain's top intelligence official at the time, and he notified Blair. The version of the story Blair heard was a series of square facts divorced from evidence, the first of which concerned Sddam's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons. Blair took this at face value

the British were given a report that was close to the opposite of what Murray had first reported.

Question : What is Suskinds' evidence for this chain of events? What do Dearlove and Blair have to say about it? IS there anyone who was working at the New York CIA station who has anything to say about this? What about Murray?

Would it have mattered to Blair? Edit

According to Suskind, the british agent Shipster thinks that knowning the truth abuot Naji Sabri would have averted the British going to war.

Pg 384:

"Shipster was upset," said one of the CIA officials a the dinner. "Think about it. Because we conned the British, our closest ally, about Sabri, they couldn't place in proper context the incredibly valuable channel they'd set up" with Habbush.
If the British has known everything that -both- men were saying, Shipster told his dinner companions, "We never would have gone to war."

But Shipster didnt run the government.... so... would Blair have gone to war if he knew what Shipster thinks he should have known, about Naji Sabri?

Denials from the british government agents? from Blair? Edit

Did the british intelligence guys deny the book, sorta like Richer and Maguire and Tenet did? Why? Why not? Where did they do it? Is there a url? link? What about Tony Blair, what does he think? What does Margaret Thatcher think? What does the Queen think? What do the princes think?

suskind response, that mysterious website, has posted supposed quotes from these british guys, but gives no proof that they actually said it... very odd.

Nigel Inkster denial Edit

inkster was one of suskind's sources.

In his article Angry Denials are Not Enough, Aug 6/7 2008, Richard Norton-Taylor posts a postscript... saying he has had a chnce to talk to Nigel Inkster, and Inskter said that Suskind's qutes of hi were misleading and inaccurate. [4]

Is the book explosive? Or full of explosive charges? Edit

Contrary to media reports, the book is not explosive. It is made of ordinary paper. It is also not filled with explosive charges. It is filled with ordinary paper and ink.

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