In the end, it always comes down to individuals – like, for example, Osama bin Laden. In the books [Angler and The Dark Side], it’s very clear that David Addington, Dick Cheney, and the walk-on, John Yoo, also determined the fate of thousands of people in multiple countries – many of whom never heard of them either, just like most of us knew nothing of Osama bin Laden. It’s also obvious that their driven, idiosyncratic thinking also came, not just from the facts before them, but from events long past that molded their individual and collective mind-sets.
I suppose it all goes back to a corollary of Joseph Wilson’s original challenge, "Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." As it turns out, that wasn’t the only fictional intelligence. The Saddam Hussein/Osama bin Laden connections may have been worse. The intelligence wasn’t just twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat, it was manufactured to create an Iraqi threat by torturing thes detainees until they’d confirm anything.
Rafid Ahmed Alwan: An Iraqi defector known as "Curveball" never interrogated by our intelligence community. He was the "source" for the mobile biological weapons fantasy reported by Colin Powell to the U.N.
Rocco Martino: An Italian forger never interrogated by our intelligence community. He was the author of the Niger forgeries. He was the "source" for the Iraqi WMD fantasy reported by President Bush in his State of the Union message.
Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi: A Lybian who was tortured in Egypt until he made up stories about al Qaeda being trained in Iraq to keep from being killed. He was the "source" for the Iraq training of al Qaeda fiction reported by Colin Powell to the U.N.
The report found that Major Paul Burney, a United States Army psychiatrist assigned to interrogations in GuantÃ¡namo Bay that summer of 2002, told Army investigators of another White House imperative: “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful.” As higher-ups got more “frustrated” at the inability to prove this connection, the major said, “there was more and more pressure to resort to measures” that might produce that intelligence.