Ars Technica needs to stop lying about me

My resignation from the Naval War College, effective the end of this month, has produced minor media commentary as well as a lot of warm wishes from people online. In response to this event, Ars Technica, a website with a large readership, did a story about me by David Kravetz. However, it might be best to call it a “story” since it includes a malicious lie that needs to be clarified. I quote them:

A former National Security Agency analyst who was part of a task force that claimed Saddam Hussein maintained weapons of mass destruction, Schindler was employed by the college since 2005.

Now this lie is not new, in fact, like so much nonsense it emanates from the Firedoglake crowd, but the link goes to something I wrote about myself on an intelligence bulletin board in September 2012, which I quote in full (note: IPP = Iraqi Perspectives Project):

Bob Mackey correctly notes that Iraqi denial & deception (D&D) on the nuclear issue had a significant impact on IC judgements, even though it’s clear that Saddam’s D&D efforts were aimed at Iran, not primarily the US and the West. Scholarship has yet to fully unravel this difficult issue, which may never be understood in all details, since it’s so complicated and, as the IPP makes clear, the regime was itself confused about who had what, WMD-wise, even at a very high level in the military. 

In the run-up to OIF, 2002-03, I headed an interagency intelligence task force which looked at the Iraqi military and we, too, were fooled. All evidence seemed to point in the direction of Iraq having WMDs – that’s how D&D is supposed to work. And in the Dick Cheney 1% threat doctrine world of 2002-03, that led to only one possible conclusion, even though, with hindsight, much of the evidence cited was incomplete at best.

I later was the author/editor of NSA’s official study of OIF (2002-04) and although that study remains classified, I can attest that I never saw any evidence of intentional misuse of incomplete intelligence – we really believed Iraq had some sort of WMDs, as did many of Saddam’s own generals.

Let me be perfectly clear. The intelligence Task Force I headed had nothing explicitly to do with WMDs, though like all analysts looking at Saddam’s Iraq in 2002-03 WMDs were a topic of high interest, neither did I brief any USG leadership at any time on Iraqi WMDs. Not once. Never, as in “not ever.” Looking for Saddam’s WMDs was the full-time job of others in the IC back then, not me; we were looking for Iraqi conventional forces. Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy-mongers, but Cheney and Feith and I did not get together in a dark corner and cook up the Iraq War.

Of course, Firedoglake and Ars Technica could have easily learned the real story had anybody bothered to ask me — I’m pretty easy to find on Twitter — but truth would spoil the smear.



13 comments on “Ars Technica needs to stop lying about me”
  1. AIM9 says:

    Don’t know it’ll help much XXCommittee (at this point in “your” situation) but: here’s an interesting first sentence from an article up on FPRI’s site currently;

    The recent report that the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized a quantity of heretofore unreported material from a university laboratory in Iraq sparked much commentary about the possibility of a malefactor fashioning and detonating a so-called “dirty bomb”—formally, an explosive radiological dispersal device or “Erdd.”

  2. Sean Phillips says:

    As I recall, the idea that Hussein had some form of chem/bio WMD was not really in question – he did, although most/all of it was too old to be useful. The issue that Bush made into a casus belli was that Iraq was close to completing a nuke, and that case was based on evidence that had been fabricated, including the famous Nigerian yellowcake story, which CIA had debunked, noting that it was physically impossible to transfer that weight of yellowcake from ship to ship at sea. Again, afaik from an amateur view, this was the intel that the Bush admin had to stovepipe via a Red Team in order to use, as CIA refused to accept it.

    1. 20committee says:

      Pretty much every intelligence service on earth assumed Saddam had some form of WMD in 2002-03; many Iraqi generals believed the same. Saddam’s D&D program was effective, not least against his own military leadership. Oh the irony ….

  3. Ordinary Nimda says:

    This is ugly. Any of you guys should not have been mentioned in public by the media. And I still think you don’t have to apologize for anything to anyone. Saddam had to go in any case. If my math is correct, he was 12 years overdue in 2003.

    Plus, there is the Syria problem as far as WMD is concerned. And of course something most people never thought about, the Iran paranoia problem on Saddam’s mind – this short article made at least one of those people aware of that, adding credibility.

    Best wishes for the future!

  4. WJM says:

    As I recall, but many Gutmenschen seem so eager to forget, is that Saddam refused those UN-inspections that *could* have proved him *not* having WMD.

    After all, he *would* have had them, if the Israeli’s hadn’t nuked his nuclear plants a decade or so earlier.

    And then there was that megalomanic ballistic cannon, somewhere in/on the hills….

    Every next agressor like him, claiming the same, but refusing the UN-inspections to proof otherwise, should be handled exactly the same as Saddam.

    A Gutmensch is good for bending over, after the fact, but pretty lousy in preventing the fact/horror.
    Something about facing vs facing away from the (possible) horror.

    Risk is not just chance/opportunity X motivation, but also X impact….

    Btw, did anyone ever do some good/recent analytics about what would have happened, and be different today, if Schwarzkopf had been allowed to push through to Bagdad in the first Gulf War?
    Better or worse?

  5. PS says:

    I would be quite interested to know more about the Iraqi BW program, specifically their anthrax capabilities. The FBI’s explanation of the 2001 mailings is not satisfactory. A second look at the myriad 90s hoaxes and the Spring 03 cargo ship suitcase incident might be in order.

    I believe this weighed heavily on GW Bush and his administration. I don’t think they ever believed Saddam had a nuke or was close, but talked it up anyway.

    Now Iraq may not have had a BW capability — but what happened? The Republic went to war without a full explanation. This has caused great damage.

  6. Mike Lumish says:

    The Firebaggers: I hate those fucking guys.

  7. Homer Simpson says:

    The lasting legacy of George W Bush: the destruction of Christianity in Iraq.

  8. ArsMars says:

    the language seems to have been taken out, no?

  9. gsatell says:

    One correction: You are not easy to find on Twitter. You might consider putting a link on your site. I would follow you.

    1. 20committee says:

      1. The blog address and my Twitter handle are identical…is this difficult?

      2. 15k+ followers seem to think I’m pretty easy to find on Twitter.

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