Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, revealed that in the fall of 2002, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program. Watch it here.
BRADLEY: [In October 2002,] the CIA had made a major intelligence breakthrough on Iraq’s nuclear program. Naji Sabri, Iraq’s foreign minister, had made a deal to reveal Iraq’s military secrets to the CIA. Tyler Drumheller was in charge of the operation.
DRUMHELLER: This was a very high inner circle of Saddam Hussein, someone who would know what he was talking about.
BRADLEY: You knew you could trust this guy?
DRUMHELLER: We continued to validate him the whole way through.
BRADLEY: According to Drumheller, CIA Director George Tenet delivered the news about the Iraqi foreign minister at a high level meeting at the White House.
DRUMHELLER: The President, the Vice President, Dr. Rice…
BRADLEY: And at that meeting…?
DRUMHELLER: They were enthusiastic because they said they were excited that we had a high-level penetration of Iraqis.
BRADLEY: And what did this high level source tell you?
DRUMHELLER: He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program.
BRADLEY: So, in the fall of 2002, before going to war, we had it on good authority from a source within Saddam’s inner circle that he didn’t have an active program for weapons of mass destruction?
BRADLEY: There’s no doubt in your mind about that?
DRUMHELLER: No doubt in my mind at all.
BRADLEY: It directly contradicts, though, what the President and his staff were telling us.
DRUMHELLER: The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.
BRADLEY: Drumheller expected the White House to ask for more information from the Iraqi foreign minister. He was taken aback by what happened.
DRUMHELLER: The group that was dealing with preparations for the Iraq war came back and said they’re no longer interested. And we said, “Well, what about the intel?” And they said, “Well, this isn’t about intel anymore. This is about regime change.”
BRADLEY: And if I understand you correctly, when the White House learned that you had this source from the inner circle of Saddam Hussein, they were thrilled with that.
DRUMHELLER: The first we heard, they were. Yes.
BRADLEY: But when they learned what it was that he had to say, that Saddam did not have the capability to wage nuclear war, weapons of mass destruction…?
DRUMHELLER: They stopped being interested in the intelligence.
BRADLEY: The White House declined to respond to Drumheller’s account of Naji Sabri’s role, but Secretary of State Rice has said that Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister-turned-U.S. spy, was just one source, and therefore his information wasn’t reliable.
DRUMHELLER: They certainly took information that came from single sources on uranium, on the yellowcake story and on several other stories that had no corroboration at all, and so you can’t say you only listen to one source, because on many issues they only listened to one source.
BRADLEY: So you’re saying that if there was a single source and that information from that source backed up the case they were trying to build, then that single source was okay, but if it didn’t, then the single source was not okay because he couldn’t be corroborated.
DRUMHELLER: Unfortunately, that’s what it looks like