Points in history have called for certain people to take stances and change the status quo. Former Chief of Clandestine Operation for the Central Intelligence Agency, in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, managed to effectively expose the White House’s jurisdiction on the way in which intelligence-but more specifically policy-was utilized regarding purposes and incentives to engage in war with Iraq. His recently published book, “On the Brink,” which was discussed by Drumheller on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at West Chester University, is a text that reveals experiences that developed into an eventual reaction of loyal dissent.
Drumheller did his undergraduate work at the University of Virginia with a concentration in Chinese and his graduate work at Georgetown University.
Drumheller began as a case officer who required a primary focus of establishing and developing sources of intelligence. In this field for 24 years, he served as an undercover officer in places that were not permissible to disclose. However, working in Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, (which includes Canada and Turkey), Drumheller worked with clandestine agents. Reports were then produced to analysts, who then and subsequently, policy makers would then review the analyses. Approximately six years Drumheller was promoted to the Chief of all operation in Europe and remained there until his retirement in 2005.
In 2001, before entering the war with Iraq, an Italian liaison who Drumheller referred to as Rocco marketed information to the CIA which revealed that Saddam Hussein had bought 500 tons of yellowcake uranium for the manufacturing of a nuclear bomb. This piece of intelligence’s validity, according to Drumheller, from the first days of which the intelligence was introduced, generated uncertainty among analysts and even those who were in favor of the prospective war.
“There were questions from the beginning about the text, about the language.” Drumheller said.
This uncertainty was a result of the fact that the CIA was already aware that Iraq attained yellowcake uranium, which was under the control of the United Nations.
While this piece of alleged intelligence was in the possession of the CIA, Rocco also sold this information to the Italian and British services. Subsequently, the Italian services questioned other services intending to receive verification on the intelligence. Services then reported on it, but were legally inhibited by the Third Country Rule which outlines that if a service receives information for another liaison, that particular service can never reveal the source of the given intelligence to another service.
Nevertheless, according to Drumheller, this created an “intell nightmare,” in that all of the services were under the conviction that there were different sources involved. This could possibly heighten the credence of the intelligence, but in actuality, the piece of information circulating among the services is actually from one source.
At one point in time, according to Drumheller, the British claimed they had a second source. Despite this additional source, it was still the same piece of information.
However, tangible evidence that would not only confirm the intelligence, but confirm the notion that Iraq was in fact a threat to the United States, according to Drumheller, was needed. So instead of announcing in a national address that the United States received information that Iraq was equipped with yellowcake uranium, with certain lexical manipulation, the announcement could be re-worded that the British received information, but never said that it was not true.
“They [the Administration] themselves didn’t feel like they needed it,” Drumheller said.
“They knew they needed to make the case to the American people.”
The Administration accepted the piece of advice as tangible, despite the commentary of the various committees that reviewed the evidence.
This piece of intelligence, according to Drumheller, was supposed to be used in the State of the Union Address delivered by President George W. Bush in Cinncinatti; however, due to its ambiguity, it was removed.
Drumheller defines intelligence as “the information that policy makers need to make clear judgments.” Accordingly, Drumheller said that a person needs to combine both technological and human intelligence that places the evidence into a certain context. It is then contigent upon the policy makers’ decision to subsequently make a policy.
Hence Drumheller’s emphasis that this was not only an issue concerning the misuse of intelligence, but a misdealing regarding how policy was made and executed. Policy makers are given the opportunity to make a decision based upon the received and analyzed intelligence.
“The real purpose of intelligence services is to stop wars not to start them,” Drumheller said.
“When a war starts, we failed.”
According to Drumheller, the intentions for the war were already set in place.
“They knew very well what they wanted to do,” Drumheller said, “they knew exactly what they were looking for [and had] a very clear vision as to what they wanted to use and what they didn’t want to use.”
Upon Drumheller’s exposing of this information, he was villifed by some.
“I was definitely seen as a traitor,” Drumheller said.
According to Drumheller, only one person said that they did not do the right thing when all was finished.
Nonetheless, Drumheller’s justification was that “the people do need to know.”
The future of America, according to Drumheller, is already facing changes. The 2006 election was a “civics” election and the people learned to speak out too.
All in all, Drumheller evinces that the war in Iraq was “the greatest blunder of American history” and that the United States will be involved for a long time.
“But when all is said and done, terrorism should be a concern and policitcs will always be with us,” according to Drumheller. Lastly, he said for the audience, “to question everything you see.