With Ron Suskind’s revelation about the CIA apparently forging a December, 2003 letter from Iraqi intelligence’s Tahir Jalil Habbush, Emptywheel wonders: were there any other forged Habbush letters? The answer appears to be yes.
Interestingly, there’s some suggestive material about this in the transcript Suskind released of one of his interviews with CIA Near East Division chief Rob Richer:
RICHER: …[Y]ou know, we got so much garbage that first coupleâ€”that year.
SUSKIND: Were there other things like this where we were creating product?
RICHER: You know, I don’t remember that.
He doesn’t remember? That doesn’t sound too convincing. But maybe he wouldn’t, if forging letters wasn’t a notable event at the CIA:
RICHER: Let me tell you what I know, just so before you color any of it. Is that when you first asked me about it I remember just really telling you that it was a non-event, and if you were to ask me today I would tell you it was a non-event. It came down from the seventh floor. It was part of–as I remember it, it wasn’t so much to influence America–that’s illegal–but it was kinda like a covert, a way to influence Iraqis…
To characterize it right, I would say, right: it came to us, George had a raised eyebrow, and basically we passed it on–it was to–and passed this on into the organization. You know, it was: ‘Okay, we gotta do this, but make it go away.’To be honest with you, I don’t want to make it sound–I for sure don’t want to portray this as George jumping: ‘Okay, this has gotta happen.’ As I remember it–and, again, it’s still vague, so I’ll be very straight with you on this…it wasn’t that important.
AND: This is a good example of why we should thank Jeebus every day for the internet. Without it, how would anyone be able to go back and research the other Habbush letters? And even if someone did, how would they ever tell anyone else about it?