Fixing the intelligence, circa 1989

Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby & co. didn’t start fixing the intelligence around the policy in 2002. That’s been their MO their entire careers. What they did regarding Iraq was completely predictable, and in fact was predicted by people who knew their history.

The best known pre-Iraq example is the “Team B” affair from the mid-seventies, where they made up lots of stories about how the Soviet Union was just about to overwhelm the U.S. with their overwhelming overwhelmingness. Shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union collapsed. Whoops!

There are other episodes almost no one knows about, though. One is the effort by Cheney and others in the eighties to cover up Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons, as well as the way we and the Saudis were helping. (They couldn’t let the truth get out because Pakistan was helping us with our proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, which of course turned out to be a giant success in its own right.) In order to do this, they had to crush a government nuclear analyst named Richard Barlow who was loudly warning about what Pakistan was up to.

Today the Guardian is running an excellent story about Barlow—what they did to him, what’s happened to him since, and the chance he may receive a small measure of justice. It provides a real glimpse into how the US government truly works, which is why it appears in a foreign publication. I encourage you to read it all.