In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith counters Pentagon Inspector General Thomas Gimble’s recent report on his pre-war intelligence gathering activities. The IG report claimed Feith took “inappropriate” actions in advancing conclusions on Iraq/Al Qaeda connections not backed up by the nation’s intelligence agencies. Feith writes in response:
In his Senate testimony, Gimble said his report — and therefore all related claims that my office “manipulated intelligence” — concerned only this single briefing. His whole argument rests on the claim that the briefing was “disseminated” as “an intelligence product” rather than a policy product. … His objections applied solely to the briefing that Hadley and Libby received in September 2002.
Astonishingly, the IG acknowledged that his office had not interviewed either of these officials to ask whether they thought the briefing was an intelligence product.
Feith seems to be suggesting that the Pentagon Inspector General negligently failed to question key players who were involved in his intelligence stovepipe operation. The reality is that the IG tried to question Hadley, but the White House refused to allow it:
GIMBLE: We requested an interview with Mr. Hadley. The lawyers at the National Security Council did not let us interview him. So we requested and were unable to.
As part of its continuing inquiry into Feith’s intelligence operation, the Senate Intelligence Committee has “has requested records and interview transcripts from the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s review of the activities of” Feith. If Feith is so “astonished” by the IG’s inability to interview Hadley, perhaps he should call on the White House to allow him to talk to the committee.