Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 2, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

SECURITY COUNCIL PREVIEW....Bruce also points out this interesting story in Newsweek previewing the evidence from NSA intercepts of Iraqi conversations that Colin Powell has promised to present to the Security Council on Wednesday:

Hold onto your hat. Weve got it, said one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the evidence gathered by the NSA.

....Theyre saying things like, Move that, Dont be reporting that and Ha! Can you believe they missed that, the official said. Its that kind of stuff.

....One official who had reviewed a transcript of the conversations disputed suggestions that the Iraqis were joking about deceiving the inspectors, describing them as straightforward discussions that nonetheless clearly showed concealment by the Iraqis in their dealings with the inspectors. A White House aide said the electronic intercepts were only one part of a much broader picture that would include satellite photos and other evidence showing Iraqi noncompliance. There wont be a smoking gun, but when people hear it all youll see a burning forest, said one senior administration official.

The story claims that NSA intercepts are so sensitive that it's "stunning" that the administration would decide to use them publicly, even in a case like this. But apparently one argument for disclosing them is that compromising sources "may not matter if the U.S. military is about to invade anyway."

That makes sense.

Kevin Drum 9:16 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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