Jonathan Schwarz (A Tiny Revolution, 1/20/09) is linking to Glenn Greenwald’s Salon catch of John Barry telling Newsweek readers to not sweat “the core charge that the [Bush] administration ‘misled’ the legislature and the American public by faking evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.” Barry asserts any such accountability would be “vengeance, pure and simple,” because “there is ample evidence that Saddam was genuinely believed to have an arsenal by those with access to the intelligence.”
Schwarz thinks “it would be incredible for any reporter to write this,” considering that “the U.S. was told by the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service Tahir Jalil Habbush, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, and dozens of relatives of Iraqi WMD scientists that the administration’s claims were completely wrong”:
But it’s truly mind-boggling to hear it from John Barry…. It’s much worse: Barry personally broke a giant story immediately before the invasion of Iraq about the U.S. government faking WMD evidence.
In the March 3, 2003 issue of Newsweek, Barry revealed that Saddam’s son-in-law Hussein Kamel, after defecting to Jordan in 1995, told the U.S. and UN that Iraq had no remaining WMD. This was the opposite of what Bush, Cheney, Blair and Powell were claiming Kamel had said. According to Barry, Kamel’s statements had been “hushed up.”…
Of course, Barry’s story was completely accurate. And it was about something the CIA in 2003 knew with 100 percent certainty–i.e., what Hussein Kamel had said in 1995. (This is opposed to, say, whether what Kamel had said was true. It was later learned he’d been completely honest.)
So to sum up: Even after having the CIA blatantly lie about his own work, John Barry will angrily defend the government’s veracity.
While hopeful that “Barack Obama is about to create some glasnost within the U.S. government,” Schwarz writes that “even if he does, America’s news outlets will retain an alarmingly Soviet tinge.” See the FAIR Action Alert: “Missing From ABC’s WMD ‘Scoop’: Star Defector Hussein Kamel Said Weapons Were Destroyed” (2/17/06)