“Operation Iraqi FreedomIntelligence Support Issues”Jacob RasbeckINTL 442 Tactical IntelligenceProfessor Eloy CuevasCompleted 30 DECEMBER 2017 Following the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001, it wasbeyond question that something had to be done about terrorist organizations, aswell as any nation who may be facilitating the networks. For reasons that arestill heavily debated, the United States launched Operation Iraqi Freedom onMarch 19, 2003 with the intent to topple the existing Iraqi regime andestablish a more peaceable, democratic government.
This decision was finalizedby President George W. Bush and his administration on the belief that SaddamHussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed an inevitable threat tothe United States and its allies. According to the National Security Archives’briefing book of declassified documents, “The U.S.
invasion of Iraq turned outto be a textbook case of erroneous postulation, peremptory intelligence,propaganda manipulation, and bureaucratic ad hockery” (Battle and Byrne, 2013).The purpose of this paper is to analyze the major concerns in intelligencesupport to the plans that culminated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through myresearch, I have identified two leading issues: inaccurate estimates of Iraqimilitary capabilities and the intelligence community allowing itself to becometoo politicalized. Whenplanning any military operation, accurate and reliable intelligence is one ofthe most important aspects to generating an on the money assessment of enemystrength and capability.
The Bush Administration and Intelligence Community hadthe belief that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and would likelyuse them against the United States or its allies. This information was one ofthe primary justifications for the United States to conduct this operation inthe first place. Prior to the September 11th attacks, the majority ofcounter-terrorism intelligence focus had been directed towards Osama bin Ladenand the al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
However, after President Bush waselected, the focus shifted. As stated in Intelligenceand the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, “In their view Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,owing to its current capabilities, its probable capabilities, and its allegedadvocacy of other terrorists’ capabilities characterized a far more inexorablethreat than did, in the words of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz,the “little terrorist in Afghanistan” (Immerman, 2016, 483). It is clear fromthe above quote that they were completely stuck on the notion that Iraqpossessed WMDs, however these beliefs stem from Saddam Hussein’s pastemployment of chemical and biological warfare (CBW), which is unfortunatelywell documented.
CENTCOM evaluations did not delve profoundly into the questionof whether Saddam did, in fact, maintain WMD. The regime’s archival use of CBW,conjugated with an enduring view within the IC that Iraq withheld CBWcapability, led to universal acknowledgement that Saddam likely possessed atleast a minimum capability (Hooker, 2005, 65). This assumption was based offpast actions. Given that there was zero present intelligence supporting thisassumption, this assessment should never have been produced and disseminated foroperation planning. Why CENTCOM never pressed this issue further is unknown,however the second problem identified may have had influence over theirjudgment. The secondintelligence issue identified through my analysis is that the Intelligence Communityallowed the pressure from the Bush Administration to influence its’ products ina way that favored their justifications for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thedevastation from the 9/11 attacks undoubtedly left the United States’population in constant fear of another attack. This is always a possibilitywhen there is corruption and anti-American sentiments throughout the MiddleEast, something President Bush needed to change.
The Iraq Invasion was to be a grandstandof U.S. military superiority and political will, and a message to a mixture ofMiddle East audiences, all the while being conducive to American ambitions suchas establishing symbiosis in the War on Terror (Fitzgerald and Lebow, 2007,888). Additionally, the invasion would once again restore a sense of pride andsafety throughout the United States, which the population desperately needed.For the operation to become a reality, the plans and intentions would need toreceive support from not only the public, but most importantly, Congress.
UnitedStates military outlining set in motion frantically throughout 2002, withSecretary Rumsfeld straining hard for invasion preparedness as well as CIAleadership cooperating with palpable eagerness, providing Congress and the publicwith glossy delineated reports hyping the Iraqi threat and abandoning allstandards of discretion in its characterizations of the professed Iraqi threat(Battle and Byrne, 2013). This is a massive cause for concern. The fact thatthe CIA was shaping their reports to support the Administration’s ideologies aswell as pleasing Congress and the public for approval is completelyunacceptable. They were attempting to depict an enemy that was not only animminent threat to the United States, but also an enemy who would not put upmuch of an opposition for American ground forces. Also within the NationalSecurity Archive Briefing Book No.
418, is a quote from Sir Richard Dearlove,Chief of British Foreign Intelligence. Dearlove states, “There was a cognizablechange in attitude of the Administration. Bush wanted to unseat Saddam, throughmilitary action, justified by the juxtaposition between terrorism and WMD. Butthe intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” (Battle andByrne, 2013). When I went through mytraining to become an intelligence analyst, an important lesson I learned frommy Staff Sergeant was that bias should never become incorporated into any ofour reports or missions we support. Intelligence analysts and agencies have theresponsibility of reporting absolute facts and analytical predictions that maycome to light. However, what the CIA did was completely different. They allowedthemselves to be influenced by the politics of the situation, introducinginformation that was either grossly exaggerated, partially unknown, or entirelyfalse to gain Congress and public approval.
When an agency introduces bias tosatisfy a desired ideology, they unquestionably abuse their power and trustfrom the American population. In my opinion, this was the most impactful issuein intelligence support to the development of Iraq War plans. Inconclusion, there were many intelligence issues that arose during the supportneeded for planning Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout my analysis, the twoproblems I examined further were inaccurate estimates of Iraqi militarycapabilities, specifically the assumption of WMD possession, and theintelligence community allowing itself to become too politicalized. Within theIntelligence Community, failures can have a devastating effect on society, andat times become deadly mistakes. These issues should have never occurred in thefirst place; however, the Intelligence Community can use them as a lesson forthe future.
Firstly, when collecting intelligence for operation planning,assumptions, without any supporting data, should never be incorporated whileformulating estimates. Intelligence estimates need to be carefully generated,using all options available to produce accurate reports. Ultimately, it is theground troop’s lives at stake and they should never be sent into combat basedon an assumption or long-standing acceptance of past events.
Secondly, theIntelligence Community should never be influenced by politics in a way thatstarts to affect the reports produced. I believe this lesson should be the mostimportant to any analyst throughout their intelligence career. The power of anagency should never again be abused in a way that it was during this operation.My thoughts are summed up perfectly in Perceptions,when the author states, “For those who are concerned with national securitybased on intelligence rather than partisan politics, the path to security liesin ensuring efficient intelligence collection and assessment, with qualitycontrols in place. Such quality control will help to ensure that intelligenceis as ‘apolitical’ and ‘accurate’ as possible” (Soderblom, 2004, 31). BibliographyBattle,Joyce and Malcolm Byrne. “National Security Archive Briefing Book No.
418.” National Security Archive. 19 March2013. Accessed 29 December 2017. https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-iraq-war-ten-years-after-declassified-documents-show-failed-intelligence-policy-ad-hockery-propaganda-driven-decision-making/5327819 Fitzgerald,Michael and Richard Ned Lebow. “Iraq: The Mother of all Intelligence Failures.
Intelligence and National Security, no.5 (2006): 884-909. Accessed 29 December 2017. http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy2.apus.
edu/doi/pdf/10.1080/02684520600957811?needAccess=true Hooker,Gregory. “Shaping the Plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom.” TheWashington Institute for Near East Policy, 2005. No.
4: 1-132.Accessed 29 December 2017. https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/IntelligenceStudies/INTL442/442-wk8-SHAPING_THE_PLAN_FOR_OPERATION_IRAQI_FREEDOM.pdf Immerman,Richard H.
“Intelligence and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.” Political Science Quarterly, no. 3(2016):477-501. Accessed 28 December 2017. http://yw6vq3kb9d.search.
externalDBID=n%2Fa.externalDocID=10_1002_polq_12489=en-US Soderbolm,Jason D. “Opening the Intelligence Window: Realist Logic and the Invasion ofIraq.
” Perceptions: Journal ofInternational Relations, no. 2 (2004): 21-31. Accessed 29 December 2017. http://sam.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/JasonSoderblom.pdf