Friday, December 29, 2006

Reyes' Letter About Non-Existant Link Between Al Qaeda and Saddam Was Improperly Classified

The dude doesn't know Shiites from apple butter (or Sunnis), but he has been known to ask the occasional pertinent question.

Incoming House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes says he'd rather figure out how to stabilize Iraq and bring the troops home than get bogged down investigating what went wrong.

Despite that pledge, he does plan to revisit one bit of history: What he sees as the government's improper classification of a letter he wrote during the congressional debate on the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In the letter, he questioned the intelligence used to take the country to war and specifically the "epiphany in the intelligence community" that al-Qaida and the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein were linked, Reyes says. Based on the answers to questions he'd asked since Sept. 11, 2001, he said that assessment was "a complete turnaround" for U.S. analysts.

"We now know that the intelligence was cherry-picked and manipulated," Reyes said in a recent interview. "I thought it was real petty to get (the letter) classified."

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