Bush team sought to snuff CIA doubts
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle/Congressional Quarterly
Posted: November 11th, 2006
In the 1970s, when President Richard Nixon's policy of dtente was under attack by some former military officials and conservative policy intellectuals, Ford administration officials Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were among those challenging as too soft the CIA's estimate of Moscow's military power. Rumsfeld and Cheney wanted to create a "Team B." CIA Director William Colby rejected the Team B idea and was fired. Colby's successor as head of the spy agency, George H.W. Bush, the current president's father, accepted it. Rumsfeld was reprising Team B by creating his own intelligence shop. The Chalabi organization's alarmist reports on Hussein's nuclear weapons, which later proved to be false, bypassed the CIA and went directly to the White House. "In retrospect, and with the Team B report and records now largely declassified, it is possible to see that virtually all of Team B's criticisms ... proved to be wrong," Raymond Garthoff, a former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, wrote in a paper for the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence three years ago. "On several important specific points it wrongly criticized and 'corrected' the official estimates, always in the direction of enlarging the impression of danger and threat." When Reagan's Secretary of State George Schultz wanted to secretly back Saddam Hussein against the Iranians, Schultz bypassed the CIA and sent Rumsfeld, then a businessman, to Baghdad to seal the deal.