The justification for going to war in Iraq thirteen years ago, was based on a 93-page classified document that allegedly contained “specific information” on former Iraqi leader President Saddam Hussein and the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs he was apparently running.
Now that document has been declassified and it reveals that there was virtually zero justification for the Iraq war. The document reveals that there was “no operational tie between Saddam and al Qaeda” and no WMD programs.
The report reveals that the intelligence community and the US Department of Energy did not think Saddam was pursuing any type of WMD program, and was instead developing rocket motors.
The CIA released a copy of the NIE in 2004 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but redacted virtually all of it, citing a threat to national security. Then last year, John Greenewald, who operates The Black Vault, a clearinghouse for declassified government documents, asked the CIA to take another look at the October 2002 NIE to determine whether any additional portions of it could be declassified.
The agency responded to Greenewald this past January and provided him with a new version of the NIE, which he shared exclusively with VICE News, that restores the majority of the prewar Iraq intelligence that has eluded historians, journalists, and war critics for more than a decade. (Some previously redacted portions of the NIE had previously been disclosed in congressional reports.)
For the first time, the public can now read the hastily drafted CIA document [pdf below] that led Congress to pass a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, a costly war launched March 20, 2003 that was predicated on “disarming” Iraq of its (non-existent) WMD, overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and “freeing” the Iraqi people.
A report issued by the RAND Corporation last December titled “Blinders, Blunders and Wars” said the NIE “contained several qualifiers that were dropped…. As the draft NIE went up the intelligence chain of command, the conclusions were treated increasingly definitively.”