Iraq War 2003 Timeline

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  • 11. George Bush goes to the Pentagon for 'a top-secret session with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review hot spots around the world'. Attended by Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld and Rice, 'half of the 75-minute meeting focused on a discussion about Iraq and the Persian Gulf' according to one attendee.[1]
  • 30. "From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go." Saddam's removal is the first item of Bush's inaugural national security meeting. Then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill later tells journalist Ron Suskind, "It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying, 'Go find me a way to do this.'" Bush also says the emphasis on Iraq will accompany a de-emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Secretary of State Colin Powell says US disengagement would give Ariel Sharon free rein and bring further suffering upon the Palestinians. According to Suskind's later book, "The One Percent Doctrine," Bush replies, "Sometimes a show of force by one side can really clarify things."


  • 14. Exxon vice president James Rouse meets Dick Cheney's task force on energy policy.
  • 16. US-UK jets bomb Iraq.
  • 14. Colin Powell, on a visit to Egypt, says that Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."


  • 05. A Pentagon document dated March 5, 2001 and titled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts" includes a map of areas for potential exploration. It is brought to light by Ron Suskind in his book "The Price of Loyalty." "It talks about contractors around the world from, you know, 30-40 countries," Suskind will tell CBS. "And which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq."


  • 09. Mohammad Atta allegedly meets with senior Iraqi intelligence officials at the Iraqi embassy in Prague. The 9/11 Report (Section 7) will later debunk this claim: "The FBI has gathered evidence indicating that Atta was in Virginia Beach on April 4 (as evidenced by a bank surveillance camera photo), and in Coral Springs, Florida, on April 11, where he…leased an apartment. On April 6, 9, 10, and 11, Atta's cellular telephone was used numerous times to call various lodging establishments in Florida from cell sites within Florida… No evidence has been found that Atta was in the Czech Republic in April 2001." Dick Cheney will nevertheless repeatedly invoke the meeting as evidence of a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam.
  • 30. According to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies," Paul Wolfowitz cited Laurie Mylroie's book Study of Revenge to allege a link between Iraq and the 1993 WTC attack. He challenged Clarke at a meeting: "You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack in New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages doesn't mean that they don't exist."[2]


  • 10. On or around this date National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is briefed by CIA director George Tenet and counterterrorism chief J. Cofer Black about terror threats. Bob Woodward, in his book "State of Denial," reports that Tenet and Black decided they had to request a dramatic, "out-of-cycle" meeting with Rice to convey their anxiety over the chance of an attack against American interests, possibly within the United States. It was, according to Woodward, the "starkest warning they had given the White House" on bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Rice, in Woodward's account, was "polite," but Tenet and Black "felt the brush-off."When Woodward's book came out, in October 2006, Rice denied that the meeting--which the State Dept. confirmed took place--was exceptional, and disputed Woodward's characterization. “What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States," she said. "[A]nd the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible.”
  • 29. Condoleezza Rice says of Saddam, "We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." However, she says, the administration will continue to apply "pressure."


  • 06. Presidential Daily Briefing handed to Bush: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." FBI information, it said, "indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." Ron Suskind's book "The One Percent Doctrine" will report that a CIA officer flew to Bush's ranch to call the President's attention to the document. After the briefing, Bush said, "All right. You've covered your ass, now."


  • 01. Iraqi defector Curveball, granted asylum in Germany, ceases cooperating with German intelligence officials. The CIA assures the Germans that they have other sources that corroborate Curveball's claims that Iraq has at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. The reality is that they have three, and all three will be proven to be frauds. Two have connections to Ahmad Chalabi.
  • 10. In a lengthy speech to Pentagon workers, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that there is an "adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America." Rumsfeld says it is an enemy "more subtle and more implacable" than the former Soviet Union, and is "closer to home" than "the last decrepit dictators of the world." He is speaking of Pentagon bureaucracy.
  • 11. According to notes taken by Stephen Cambone, Donald Rumsfeld issued instructions for Richard Myers at 2:40 p.m. for "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL...Near term target needs - go massive - sweep it all up, things related and not." [3]
  • 12. According to Richard Clarke's book, "Against All Enemies," Bush collars Clarke and says, "I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way." Clarke responds, "But, Mr. President, Al Qaeda did this." Bush tells him, "I know, I know, but -- see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred...."
  • 13. at a meeting of Principals at Camp David, Paul Wolfowitz broaches the prospects of attacking Iraq.[4]
  • 16. During the infamous 'Dark Side' interivew, Dick Cheney is asked by host Tim Russert, if 'we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to [9/11]?'. Cheney replies: 'No.'
  • 17. The War on Terror officially begins as Bush assigns tasks to 17 top officials of the government. 'The CIA is first,' he announces.[5]
  • 18. Ahmed Chalabi is a guest speaker at a two-day meeting at the Pentagon of the Defense Policy Board, an influential body packed with high-level Defense officials and opinion makers and chaired by Richard Perle, according to an article in Vanity Fair. ("The Path to War," May 2004)
  • 19. President Bush tells CIA chief George Tenet, "I want to know about links between Saddam and al Qaeda. The Vice President knows some things that might be helpful." Vice President Cheney tells Tenet about a report that one of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, met with senior Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague. Tenet promises to investigate. Two days later, Tenet reports back: CIA's Prague office thinks the Atta story "doesn't add up." Moreover, the intelligence community knows that Atta's credit card and phone were used in Virginia during the period in question. Cheney, however, will continue to cite the alleged meeting in public appearances.[6]
  • 20. A letter to President Bush from the neoconservative Project for the New American Century says, "Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq." Signatories include The New Republic editor Martin Peretz.
    • Douglas J. Feith writes to Donald Rumsfeld and "expresse[s] disappointment at the limited options immediately available in Afghanistan and the lack of ground options. [He] suggest[s] instead hitting terrorists outside the Middle East in the initial offensive, perhaps deliberately selecting a non-al Qaeda target like Iraq."
    • Bush and Blair meet for a private White House dinner. According to the former British Ambassador to Washington, Blair told Bush not to get distracted from the war on terror. Bush replied, "I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq."
  • 21. President Bush is informed in a highly classified briefing that the US intelligence community cannot link Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks and that there is little evidence pointing to collaborative ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.


Douglas Feith sets up the Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group to sift through raw intelligence data and cherry pick information to provide Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld with intelligence on-demand.[7]

  • 01. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the CIA receives a report from Italian intelligence describing a public visit by an Iraqi diplomat to Niger in 1999 and suggesting that the diplomat's covert purpose was to procure yellowcake uranium. The American intelligence community dismisses the report as "amateurish and unsubstantiated" but it is nevertheless sent directly to the Vice President. It is the one of the first examples of "stovepiping," the practice whereby Bush officials, in the words of former National Security Council member Kenneth Pollack, "dismantle[d] the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership." On the cover of its first post-9/11 issue, the Weekly Standard runs the word WANTED under pictures of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
  • 29. The Weekly Standard runs an article entitled "Why Iraq?" It alleges that Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Europe and that Iraq is linked to the anthrax attacks in America (the latter because one expert thinks it is unlikely a terrorist group could develop anthrax on its own). It hints at Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 attacks. And, for a kicker, "If all we do is contain Saddam's Iraq, it is a virtual certainty that Baghdad will soon have nuclear weapons."


  • 08 November - The New York Times and Frontline report that an Iraqi defector, an army general, claims that the Iraqi military trained Arab fighters to hijack airplanes. Mother Jones later exposes the Iraqi general as bogus and linked to Ahmed Chalabi.
  • 11 November - Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, senior Al Qaeda official in charge of the network's training camp in Khalden, Afghanistan, is captured in Pakistan.
  • 21 November - According to Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack": "President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, 'What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.'" Woodward adds that, immediately after Rumsfeld and [General Tommy] Franks work out a deal under which Franks can spend any money he needs. "And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible."
  • 30 November - In a meeting with Condoleezza Rice and George Tenet, Dick Cheney lays out what will come to be known as the One Percent Doctrine. "If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response." The quote is from Ron Suskind's 2006 book, "The One Percent Doctrine." "As to 'evidence,'" Suskind writes, "the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn't apply."


  • 01 December - According to Bob Woodward, Rumsfeld orders Franks to begin work on an Iraq war plan. Bush will meet with military leaders regarding the plan on a regular basis starting late December, despite public assurances that the administration is seeking a diplomatic solution to its showdown with Saddam.
  • 03 December - In an interview with Newsweek, Bush declares "Saddam is evil."
  • 09 December - Vice President Cheney, appearing on Meet the Press, claims it has "been pretty well confirmed that [Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack."He will continue to say this even after the FBI, CIA, and Czech intelligence back off the claim. The 9/11 Commission will debunk it thoroughly.
  • 12 December - Tommy Franks tells Donald Rumsfeld that he has a plan for softening up Iraq. "I'm thinking in terms of spikes, Mr. Secretary," he writes in his book "American Soldier." "Spurts of activity followed by periods of inactivity. We want the Iraqis to become accustomed to military expansion, and then apparent contraction." The Downing Street memos have proof that these spikes were used. In July 2002 British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon is quoted as saying that the US "had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This seem to contradict President Bush, who said, in Oct 2002, that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary."
  • 20 December - New York Times reporter Judith Miller writes a front-page story for the paper titled "AN IRAQI DEFECTOR TELLS OF WORK ON AT LEAST 20 HIDDEN WEAPONS SITES." The source is a man delivered to Miller by Ahmed Chalabi. The man failed a CIA polygraph test before the article came out, and his claims were discredited by informed intelligence experts. The polygraph is not mentioned in Miller's story. "Government experts" call his information "reliable and significant."
  • 28 December - According to Woodward's Plan of Attack, General Tommy Franks briefs Bush on the Pentagon's Iraq war planning at his Crawford ranch. Bush had directed the start of such planning five weeks earlier. Afterwards, Bush tells reporters they spoke about Afghanistan.



  • 01. al-Libi's rendition to Cairo. After two weeks of increasingly harsh interrogation, including waterboarding, Libi breaks down and starts to talk. But he provides information he is not in a position to know, telling his interrogators that Al Qaeda operatives received chemical-weapons training from the Iraqi government. The DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) will express concerns early on that Libi is telling his questioners what they want to hear. Nevertheless, Libi's information will be the basis for the Bush administration's repeated claim that Iraq provided Al Qaeda with training on chemical and biological weapons. Libi will later recant his testimony.
  • 29. Bush calls Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the "Axis of Evil" in his State of the Union address. The man who coined the phrase, Bush speechwriter David Frum, will later write in his book that he came up with it in answer to the question, "Can you sum up in a sentence or two our best case for going after Iraq?"


  • 01. A report from the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) informs top officials that captured Al Qaeda operative al-Libi is likely a fabricator. Periodically after this point, high-level members of the Bush Administration, including the President, will cite al-Libi's information in public appearances. Colin Powell relies heavily on accounts provided by al-Libi for his speech to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003, saying that he was tracing "the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in [the use of chemical] weapons to Al Qaeda." The same DIA report states, "Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements [like al Qaeda]. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control."
Sen. Bob Graham in 2004 relates an exchange that occurred at this time: "I was asked by one of the senior commanders of Central Command to go into his office. We did, the door was closed, and he turned to me, and he said, 'Senator, we have stopped fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan. We are moving military and intelligence personnel and resources out of Afghanistan to get ready for a future war in Iraq.'"
  • 08. Bush, citing the highly suspect testimony of captured Al Qaeda operative al-Libi, says in a radio address, "Iraq has also provided al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training."
  • 11. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Tony Snow of Fox News: "Iraq is probably not a nuclear threat at the present time."
  • 26. Former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson travels to Niger to check out claims, based on a purported memorandum of understanding, that Saddam tried to obtain yellowcake uranium there. He learns that any authentic memorandum of understanding concerning yellowcake sales would have required the signatures of Niger's Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of Mines. No one has signed such a document. He also concludes that as Niger pre–sold all its uranium to Japanese and European partners, it would have none left to sell to Iraq.


  • 01. Seymour Hersh reports in The New Yorker, in October 2003, that by this time " it was understood by many in the White House that the President had decided, in his own mind, to go to war." Hersh adds, "The undeclared decision had a devastating impact on the continuing struggle against terrorism. The Bush Administration took many intelligence operations that had been aimed at Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups around the world and redirected them to the Persian Gulf. Linguists and special operatives were abruptly reassigned, and several ongoing anti-terrorism intelligence programs were curtailed."
The President seems to affirm this when he pokes his head into a meeting between Rice and three senators and says, "Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."
One year later, in March 2003, President Bush will tell the public, "I've not made up our [sic] mind about military action."
"Chalabi's defector reports [are] now flowing from the Pentagon directly to the Vice-President's office, and then on to the President, with little prior evaluation by intelligence professionals," according to an October 2003 report by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker. The piece quotes Greg Thielmann, top intelligence official for the State Department, as saying, "There was considerable skepticism throughout the intelligence community about the reliability of Chalabi's sources, but the defector reports were coming all the time. Knock one down and another comes along. Meanwhile, the garbage was being shoved straight to the President."
A CIA report describing the findings of Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger­findings discrediting the claim that Saddam attempted to obtain yellowcake uranium from that country­is circulated widely throughout the intelligence community. It is not flagged for high-level White House officials, and they do not see it.
The State Department's intelligence bureau, INR, publishes an assessment entitled, "Niger: Sale of Uranium to Iraq Is Unlikely." According to the 2004 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report, the INR analyst who drafted the document said it was produced at the behest of the Vice President's office.
  • 08. The Downing Street memo known as the "Iraq: Options Paper " is prepared by Tony Blair's defense aides to outline military options for regime change in Iraq.
It reads, in part: "Iraq continues to develop WMD, although our intelligence is poor. Saddam has used WMD in the past and could do so again if his regime were threatened, though there is no greater threat now than in recent years that Saddam will use WMD."
"The US has lost confidence in containment. Some in government want Saddam removed. The success of Operation Enduring Freedom, distrust of UN sanctions and inspection regimes, and unfinished business from 1991 are all factors. Washington believes the legal basis for an attack on Iraq already exists. Nor will it necessarily be governed by wider political factors. The US may be willing to work with a much smaller coalition than we think desirable."
"Regime change has no basis in international law."
  • 13. President Bush, in a press conference, says of Bin Laden: "I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
  • 14. The Downing Street document later known as the "David Manning memo" is written by Foreign Policy Advisor David Manning for Tony Blair after Manning's meeting with his US-counterpart Condoleezza Rice.It reads, in part: "Condi's enthusiasm for regime change is undimmed." Bush has yet to find the answers to the big questions: 1) how to persuade international opinion that military action against Iraq is necessary and justified; 2) what value to put on the exiled Iraqi opposition; 3) how to coordinate a US/allied military campaign with internal opposition (assuming there is any); 4) what happens on the morning after?
"I think there is a real risk that the Administration underestimates the difficulties. They may agree that failure isn't an option, but this does not mean that they will avoid it.
"Will Americans really put in enough ground troops to do the job if the Kurdish/Shi'ite stratagem fails? Even if they do, will they be willing to take the sort of casualties that the Republican Guard may inflict on them if it turns out to be an urban war, and Iraqi troops don't conveniently collapse in a heap as Richard Perle and others confidently predict?"
  • 15. British intelligence reports that there is only "sporadic and patchy" evidence about Saddam's alleged WMD. "We believe Iraq retains some production equipment, and some small stocks of CW [chemical warfare] agent precursors, and may have hidden small quantities of agents and weapons... There is no intelligence on any BW [biological warfare] agent production facilities."
  • 18. Jack Abramoff reveals in an email to an Isreli codenamed Octagon1 that according to Karl Rove Bush's recent criticism of Israel was meant to 'mollify the Arabs for the upcoming war on Iraq.' He added: 'Bush seems to love Sharon and Israel.' [8]
  • 19. A US attempt to oust Jose Bustani from his position as the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fails. Bustani, who leads a worldwide effort to eliminate and control WMD, has had a successful five-year term; Colin Powell has praised his "very impressive" work. But after Bustani argues that getting Saddam Hussein to sign international chemical weapons treaties would provide an alternative to war, the United States accuses him of "financial mismanagement," "demoralization" of his staff, "bias," and "ill-considered initiatives." The US pushes for a no-confidence vote at the UN, which it loses on this day. The United States threatens to undercut funding for the OPCW, and by April 2002 Bustani is gone. Bustani later reflects on the experience in an interview with Mother Jones.
  • 22. The Downing Street memo later known as the "Peter Ricketts Letter" is written by political director Peter Ricketts to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. It weighs the political implications of joining the US drive to oust Saddam.

It reads, in part: "The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programmes, but our tolerance of them post-11 September. This is not something we need to be defensive about, but attempts to claim otherwise publicly will increase skepticism about our case.

"Even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years ont he nuclear, missile or CW/BW fronts: the programmes are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know", been stepped up.
  • "US scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing. To get public and Parliamentary support for military operations, we have to be convincing that:

- the threat is so serious/imminent that it is worth sending our troops to die for; - it is qualitatively different from the threat posed by other proliferators who are closer to achieving nuclear capability (including Iran). "But we are still left with a problem of bringing public opinion to accept the imminence of a threat from Iraq. This is something the Prime Minister and President need to have a frank discussion about."As a rationale behind the war in Iraq, the memo concludes, "regime change: does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."

  • 24. Appearing on CNN's Late Edition, Cheney says of Saddam, "This is a man of great evil, as the president said. And he is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time."
  • 25. In advance of Blair's trip to Texas, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw addresses a memo to the prime minister. It will become the Downing Street memo known as the "Jack Straw memo."

It reads, in part: "The rewards from your visit to Crawford will be few. The risks are high, both for you and for the Government. I judge that there is at present no majority inside the [Parliamentary Labor Party] for any military action against Iraq, (alongside a greater readiness in the PLP to surface their concerns). Colleagues know that Saddam and the Iraqi regime are bad. Making that case is easy. But we have a long way to go to convince them as to: (a) the scale of the threat from Iraq and why this has got worse recently: (b) what distinguishes the Iraqi threat from that of e.g. Iran and North Korea so as to justify military action; (c) the justification for any military action in terms of international law: and (d) whether the consequence of military action really would be a compliant, law-abiding replacement government. "there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with UBL and Al Qaida. Objectively, the threat from Iraq has not worsened as a result of 11 September. What has however changed is the tolerance of the international community (especially that of the US), the world having witnessed on September 11 just what determined evil people can these days perpetrate. "THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IRAQ, IRAN AND NORTH KOREA. By linking these countries together in this 'axis of evil' speech, President Bush implied an identity between them not only in terms of their threat, but also in terms of the action necessary to deal with the threat, but also in terms of the action necessary to deal with the threat. A lot of work will now [be] need[ed] to delink the three, and to show why military action against Iraq is so much more justified than against Iran and North Korea. "We have also to answer the big question­what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything. Most of the assessments from the US have assumed regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq's WMD threat. But none has satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better. "Iraq has had NO history of democracy so no-one has this habit or experience."

  • 31. Dick Cheney tells Republican senators that the question is no longer if the US will invade Iraq, but when.


  • 01. The State Department begins work on the "Future of Iraq" project, a plan for the post-war stabilization and reconstruction. It recruits hundreds of Iraqi engineers, businessmen, lawyers, and other experts, and officials from various US government agencies, organizing them into more than 15 working groups. The plan is prescient on the topic of post-invasion looting. "The period immediately after regime change might offer these criminals the opportunity to engage in acts of killing, plunder and looting." It also recommends against disbanding the Iraqi army, out of fear that unemployed soldiers might turn against the occupying force.

Almost none of the State Department's work is used after the invasion.

The director of "Future of Iraq" project, Tom Warrick, will be slated to join Jay Garner and the reconstruction process in Iraq but his appointment will be overruled by the Pentagon's civilian leadership. The pattern of excluding State Department officials from post-war planning and reconstruction will become routine. "We almost disemboweled State," said one former Pentagon official.

By spring 2003, after many avoidable mistakes have already been made, new arrivals on the CPA staff are given a CD-ROM with the State Department's work. "It's our Bible," says one official.

  • 04. President Bush tells Britain's ITV: "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go."
  • 22. Jose Bustani is removed from his job as the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), in a special session of the UN called by the United States. The US dislikes him because he advocates solutions to the Iraq standoff short of war. After an earlier vote failed to remove Bustani, the US threatened to withhold OPCW's funding. Because the US provides over 20 percent of total funds, this act would hobble the organization. AP will later report that John Bolton, then undersecretary of state for arms control, led the charge for BustaniÕs removal.

A year after Bustani loses his job, a UN tribunal will rule that the US charges against Bustani were "extremely vague" and that he was wrongly dismissed. He is awarded damages.

  • 29. Weekly Standard: "Saddam has been moving ahead into a new era, a new age of horrors where terrorists don't commandeer jumbo jets and fly them into our skyscrapers. They plant nuclear bombs in our cities."


  • 01. The most important corroborator of Curveball's story, a former major in the Iraqi intelligence service, is deemed a liar by the CIA and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). A fabricator notice is posted in US intelligence databases.
  • 21. Tommy Franks is asked for details on how he would invade Iraq. He responds, "That's a great question and one for which I don't have an answer because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that." (FDCH Political Transcripts, 05/21/02.) In fact, Franks was asked to start planning in Nov. 2001.


  • 01. Condoleezza Rice interrupts a deputy raising doubts about an Iraq war: "Save your breath. The President has already made up his mind." Beginning of Operation Southern Focus, a bombing campaign against Iraqi defenses intended to lay the groundwork for invasion. The military admits in the summer of 2003 that it flew 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq between this time and the start of the war, attacking 349 targets. Bush tells the public four months later he hopes to avoid the use of force. Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman put together a PowerPoint presentation outlining GOP strategy in the midterm elections. Nine months before the beginning of the war, it puts "Focus on war and economy" at the top of Republican priorities.
  • 15. Cheney and Libby begin visits to the CIA to have direct exchanges with analysts, creating an environment in which analysts often feel pressured to make intelligence and assessments match what the White House wants. "The analysts at the CIA. were beaten down defending their assessments," a former CIA official later tells The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh. The US asks the French to investigate the claim that Niger sold uranium to Iraq because French companies control mines in Niger. A French official sent a team of six to Niger to investigate. "We told the Americans, 'Bullshit. It doesn't make any sense,'" said the official.
  • 21. A CIA report entitled "Iraq and al Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship" says, "Reporting is contradictory on hijacker Mohammed Atta's alleged trip to Prague and meeting with an Iraqi intelligence officer, and we have not verified his travels."


  • 11. "Iraq is a very wealthy country. Enormous oil reserves. They can finance, largely finance, the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will." ­Richard Perle in a PBS interview
  • 20. General Franks requests $700 million for war preparations. The President agrees and Congress is not informed. The money comes from a supplemental appropriation for the war in Afghanistan that Congress previously approved, Bob Woodward reports in "Plan of Attack."
  • 21. Sources in the British government tell the British press that the decision to go to war has been made. "President Bush has already made up his mind. This is going to happen. It is a given," says one source. The quote will not be reprinted by any mainstream American news sources except the conservative National Review, which attempts to downplay its importance in June 2005. The so-called "Cabinet Office Paper" is written to prep Tony Blair's closest aides for a discussion on war in Iraq. It reads, "US military planning unambiguously takes as its objective the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, followed by elimination of Iraqi WMD…A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point."
  • 23. The Downing Street Memo is produced which records the minutes of a meeting held by top members of Tony Blair's administration and intelligence community.
It reads, in part: "C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

"The Defense Secretary said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.

"The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force."


  • 01. The White House Iraq Group formed.
  • 05. General Tommy Franks presents President Bush with an updated war plan.
  • 07. The Washington Times reports that all of the Joint Chiefs have signed on to an Iraq invasion. Some have resisted for months, but "they can read the handwriting on the wall," says a source close to the administration.
  • 08. Air strikes against Iraq, which have been ongoing through the summer, reach the level of a full air offensive.
  • 20. "As we think through Iraq, we may or may not attack. I have no idea yet. But it will be for the objective of making the world more peaceful." —President Bush, in an interview with Bob Woodward for the book "Bush at War."

The same day, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says: "There are al Qaeda in Iraq. There are."

  • 26. At a speech in Nashville, Vice President Cheney says, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."

He also says, "We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors --… including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam's direction." The New York Times later reports that this is a gross misrepresentation. "The one specific source [Cheney] did cite was Hussein Kamel al-Majid, a son-in-law of Mr. Hussein's who defected in 1994 after running Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. But Mr. Majid told American intelligence officials in 1995 that Iraq's nuclear program had been dismantled. What's more, Mr. Majid could not have had any insight into Mr. Hussein's current nuclear activities: he was assassinated in 1996 on his return to Iraq." It was impossible that Saddam's son-in-law was the source of what "we now know."

  • 6 September 2002 - Andrew Card quoted by New York Times saying "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." On why the administration waited until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq.


  • 01. U.S. Army General James "Spider" Marks is named the top intelligence officer for the coalition forces planning to invade Iraq. He begins looking at the intelligence on WMD. He finds the information in disarray and top officials disinterested. Intelligence analysts offer him 946 sites in Iraq that could hold WMD, but the information is old, poorly sourced, or not sourced at all. "There was no sense of urgency to get this as granular, as specific as possible, so that I could turn it over to a young private or a young sergeant that was going to come upon this WMD site and do something with that," Marks later tells Congressional Quarterly. As for Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials, their attention was not turned to WMD. "They ostensibly cared, but their give-a-shit level was really low."
Tyler Drumheller, the head of CIA spying in Europe, calls an official in German intelligence seeking access to Curveball. They meet for lunch. According to Drumheller, the German officer tells him that Curveball had suffered a mental breakdown. "They won't let you see him—there are a lot of problems. Principally, we think he's probably a fabricator."
Some 30 Americans are sent as CIA moles to Iraq, reports James Risen in his 2006 book "State of War." They all have relatives in Iraq who are close to Iraq's weapons program, and are supposed to come back with information on WMD. All report that Iraq's unconventional weapons programs have been abandoned, and that the nuclear program hasn't been active for years. This intelligence is buried in the CIA, which suspects the moles were duped. No one informs President Bush, and one month later the intelligence community will release an intelligence estimate saying firmly that Iraq "is reconstituting its nuclear program."
  • 03. President Bush summons congressional leadership to the White House to make the case for war in Iraq. The next day a larger body of lawmakers is taken to the Pentagon to discuss Iraqi policy with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and CIA director Tenet.
  • 05. *Sen. Bob Graham hosts Tenet in a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee. Graham later writes writes, "CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared." Graham asks for one to be presented to Congress.
In a WHIG meeting, Bush's chief speechwriter Michael Gerson proposes the use of a "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" metaphor to sell the alleged nuclear threat. According to Michael Isikoff: 'The original plan had been to place it in an upcoming presidential speech, but WHIG members fancied it so much that when the Times reporters contacted the White House to talk about their upcoming piece [about aluminum tubes], one of them leaked Gerson's phrase — and the administration would soon make maximum use of it.' [9]
  • 06. Andrew Card in an interview with the New York Times: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
  • 07. In a news conference with Tony Blair, President Bush claims that an IAEA report says Iraq is six months from developing a nuclear weapon. Because there is no new report from the IAEA saying this, most news agencies interpret the President to be referring to a 1998 report. When the IAEA objects and says that none of their 1998 reports argue anything of the kind, Scott McClellan tries to clear up the confusion. "He's referring to 1991 there. In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away." There are no IAEA reports from 1991 saying this.
  • 08. Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, citing unnamed administration sources, write on the front page of the New York Times, "Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. The diameter, thickness and other technical specifications of the aluminum tubes had persuaded American intelligence experts that they were meant for Iraq's nuclear program." This is factually incorrect, as the administration knew at the time.

Later the same day, the administration goes on the offensive, pushing the aluminum-tubes-as-nuclear-threat story in multiple TV appearances. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appears on CNN, saying the aluminum tubes "are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs. We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." On Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney says that Saddam Hussein "is trying, through his illicit procurement network, to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium—specifically aluminum tubes.. There's a story in the New York Times this morning. " We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs to build a nuclear weapon." Vice President Cheney also says on Meet the Press: "Mohamed Atta, who was the lead hijacker, did apparently travel to Prague on a number of occasions. And on at least one occasion, we have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center." Tim Russert: "What does the CIA say about that?" Vice President Cheney: "It's credible." The CIA in fact deemed this not credible a few days after Cheney first mentioned it.[10] The New York Times later writes that "almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons.... The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets."

  • 12. Bush tells the UN General Assembly that Iraq is a "grave and gathering danger," and that "Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year."

Cheney also says, "We will work with the UN Security Council for the necessary resolutions." But author Ron Suskind will later write that it was clear "to anyone in the innermost circle around the President [that UN resolutions] would be a faithless exercise; an exercise for show." The White House issues a report on Iraq intelligence entitled "A Decade of Deception and Defiance." It cites information from Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, the Judith Miller source who failed a CIA polygraph test. The information remains on the White House website to this day. When al-Haideri is taken back to Iraq to identify sites with biological weapons, he is unable to locate a single site.

  • 14. Dick Cheney tells Rush Limbaugh, "What's happening, of course, is we're getting additional information that, in fact, [Saddam] is reconstituting his biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs and that's what really precipitates the concern now."
  • 15. White House economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay estimates the high limit on the cost of the Iraq War to be 1-2 percent of GNP, or about $100-$200 billion. Mitch Daniels, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will later discount this, estimating the cost at $50-$60 billion.
  • 16. Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly tells reporters, "The President hasn't made a decision with respect to Iraq." Iraq agrees to let UN weapons inspectors return the country "without conditions." The Bush Administration dismisses the offer, one official saying, "If [Saddam] thinks this is about letting inspectors in, or playing the same old game of give a little when under pressure, he is about to learn differently."
  • 18. Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress, "Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam Hussein is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain—we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons." Bush calls Saddam 's offer to let inspectors back in "his latest ploy."
  • 19. A memo from John Scarlett, chairman of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), to Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's director of communications and strategy, explains that the discussion of aluminum tubes must be toned down in public documents because "there is no definitive intelligence that [they are] destined for a nuclear programme." Colin Powell tells Congress, "The President has not decided on a military option—nobody wants war as a first resort."

Rumsfeld tells Congress: "[Saddam has] amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons, including Anthrax, botulism, toxins, and possibly Smallpox. He's amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, Sarin and mustard gas. His regime has an active program to acquire nuclear weapons."

  • 20. Vice President Cheney: "We now have irrefutable evidence that [Saddam] has once again set up and reconstituted his program to take uranium, to enrich it to sufficiently high grade, so that it will function as the base material as a nuclear weapon. And there's no doubt about the fact that the level of effort has escalated in recent months."
  • 24. Downing Street publishes a 55-page dossier on Iraq's weapons capabilities. It states without qualification that Iraq can launch a chemical or biological attack within 45 minutes. It also says Saddam has sought to acquire "significant quantities" of uranium from Africa.
  • 25. President Bush tells journalists, "You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror."
  • 26. President Bush says in a Rose Garden speech, "the Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons." A Defense Intelligence Agency report distributed in the White House around the time of the speech says there is "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing or stockpiling chemical weapons or whether Iraq has or will establish its chemical agent production facilities." In a speech in Houston later that same day, President Bush discusses the threat posed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, saying: "After all, this is a guy that tried to kill my dad."


  • 01. At the request of Congress, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is produced. It is supposed to represent the best the intelligence community can offer, and contains the claims that will eventually be justifications for war. Many turn out to be completely wrong. The NIE does include dissents, mostly from the State Department's intelligence bureau, INR. They are largely ignored by policymakers.

In advance of the NIE's release, the Vice President and his Chief of Staff made several unprecedented visits to the CIA, which many say had the effect of distorting the intelligence assessment process. One former CIA officer tells PBS, "I was at the CIA for 24 years. The only time a Vice President came to the CIA building was for a ceremony, to cut a ribbon, to stand on the stage. But not to harangue analysts about finished intelligence." One of the primary authors of the NIE will later say of its creation, "This wasn't an inquiry into how can Iraq threaten the United States; it wasn't an inquiry into what are Al Qaeda sources of support. It instead was basically research in support of a specific line of argument. I regret having had a role in it." Copies of the NIE are kept in vaults on Capitol Hill protected by armed guards, and are available only to lawmakers who show up in person and without staff. No more than six senators and a handful of congressmen read past the executive summary. President Bush: "Of course, I haven't made up my mind we're going to war with Iraq. I've made up my mind we need to disarm the man."

  • 04. Jonathan Landay of Knight Ridder reports that intelligence officials and weapons experts are having doubts about the way the Bush Administration handles dissent on intelligence. LexisNexis records only one newspaper as having run the article: The Bradenton Herald, of Bradenton, Florida.

It reads, in part: "Several senior administration and intelligence officials, all of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity, charged that the decision to publicize one analysis of the aluminum tubes and ignore the contrary one is typical of the way the administration has been handling intelligence about Iraq. "The White House and the Pentagon, these officials said, are pressuring intelligence analysts to highlight information that supports Bush's Iraq policy and suppress information and analysis that might undercut congressional, public or international support for war."

  • 05. George Tenet reads a draft of a speech George Bush is set to deliver in Cincinnati on October 7. It includes the claim that Saddam has "been caught attempting to purchase" uranium in Niger. The CIA tells Stephen Hadley and others at the White House that the statement is incorrect. Specifically, they say: "[R]emove the sentence because the amount is in dispute and it is debatable whether it can be acquired from the source. We told Congress that the Brits have exaggerated this issue. Finally, the Iraqis already have 550 metric tons of uranium oxide in their inventory."
  • 06. Seeing that the Niger uranium claim, despite CIA objections, has not been taken out of the draft of George Bush's upcoming Cincinnati speech, George Tenet calls Stephen Hadley and expresses concern.

As a follow-up, the CIA sends a memo to the White House, specifically to Condoleezza Rice and Stephen Hadley, saying: "Why we recommend removing the sentence about procuring uranium oxide from Africa: Three points (1) The evidence is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source as the location of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French authorities. (2) The procurement is not particularly significant to Iraq's nuclear ambitions because the Iraqis already have a large stock of uranium oxide in their inventory. And (3) we have shared points one and two with Congress, telling them that the Africa story is overblown and telling them this is one of the two issues where we differed with the British." Convinced, the White House takes the claim out of the Cincinnati speech. It will, however, be included in the President's next State of the Union address.

  • 08. Knight Ridder reporters Warren P. Strobel, Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott write:

"A growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in [Bush's] own government privately have deep misgivings about the administration's double-time march toward war. "These officials charge that administration hawks have exaggerated evidence of the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein poses -- including distorting his links to the al-Qaida terrorist network -- have overstated the amount of international support for attacking Iraq and have downplayed the potential repercussions of a new war in the Middle East. "They charge that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Saddam poses such an immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive military action is necessary."

  • 09. In response to Bush's October 7 speech in which the President made his case for war against Iraq, anonymous officials tell the Guardianthat Bush "relied on a slanted and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence" and that analysts are being pressured into finding intelligence that supports the administration's policy. "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements and there's a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA," says the CIA's former head of counter-intelligence.
  • 10. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer mentions a "coalition of the willing" regarding possible military action in Iraq. The phrase, used occasionally in the past to refer to other conflicts, will become a standard as war in Iraq approaches.
  • 11. The Senate and House both vote overwhelmingly to give Bush authorization to go to war. The bill reads: "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq." Authorization is not tied to any UN resolutions. All serious Democratic candidates for President vote yes.
  • 14. Bush says of Saddam "This is a man that we know has had connections with al Qaeda. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al Qaeda as a forward army."
  • 16. President Bush tells the public, "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope the use of force will not become necessary."
  • 23. Roughly one year after Rumsfeld and some of his senior advisers set up their own Iraq intelligence shop, the Office of Special Plans, Pentagon officials acknowledge its existence in the press.


  • 01. High-level CIA operatives stationed in the Middle East gather in London for a secret meeting. They are told war is inevitable, and just a few months away, according to James Risen's book, "State of War." Naji Sabri, Iraq's foreign minister, makes a deal to reveal Iraqi state secrets, according to the later account of Tyler Drumheller, former CIA chief in Europe. The White House is excited to have a high-level spy in the Iraqi government until Sabri tells them Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction. "The group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they're no longer interested," Drumheller later tells CBS. Secretary of State Rice says Sabri was just "a single source among multiple sources," and therefore that his information could not be regarded as definitive. But, as Drumheller would point out, "They certainly took information that came from single sources on uranium, on the yellowcake story, and on several other stories."
  • 08. The UN Security Council passes Resolution 1441, which the Bush Administration eventually uses as legal justification for military action in Iraq. The original draft of the resolution had to be reworked because it too clearly tipped the Bush Administration's intention—to get Saddam to balk and thus justify war. Hans Blix, the head of the UN weapons inspection team in Iraq, said of the first draft, "It was so remote from reality…[it] was written by someone who didn't understand how [inspections] function." (Vanity Fair, May 2004) The second draft, which passes, calls for Iraq to disarm or face "serious consequences."
  • 14. "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that. It won't be a World War III." — Donald Rumsfeld, predicting the length of the war in Iraq, on a call-in radio program.
  • 27. Weapons inspections resume in Iraq, headed by Hans Blix.


  • 06. Paul O'Neill and Lawrence Lindsay are forced off President's Bush economic team. Many suspect that Lindsay's public estimate for the cost of the war ($100-200 billion, as against the administration's official estimate of $50-60 million) plays a role.
  • 07. Iraq submits a 12,200-page declaration to the UN purporting to document all its unconventional arms.
  • 19. The US discounts the Iraqi weapons declaration because it fails to account for various weapons that a UN inspection team said it "could have produced," and because it does not mention the tubes purchased for a uranium centrifuge or the attempts to procure uranium from Niger.

Secretary of State Colin Powell declares, "The Iraqi regime is required by Resolution 1441 to report those attempts. Iraq, however, has failed to provide adequate information about the procurement and use of these tubes. Most brazenly of all, the Iraqi declaration denies the existence of any prohibited weapons programs at all." The State Department issues a fact sheet saying that "The [Iraqi] Declaration ignores efforts to procure uranium from Niger."

  • 21. The CIA's leadership goes to the White House to present the evidence for WMD in Iraq. Bush is underwhelmed, telling Tenet, "Nice try, but that isn't gonna sell Joe Public This is the best we've got?" Tenet, according to Bob Woodward, responds, "It's a slam dunk case!". Tenet denies he ever said that.
  • 30. Director of the OMB Mitch Daniels tells the New York Times that the estimate for the cost of the war is $50-60 billion, not $100-200 billion, as Lawrence Lindsay had earlier said.
  • 31. President Bush tells a reporter, "You said we're headed to war in Iraq—I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you."



  • 01. The CIA finally balks at being assigned over and over to confirm what it viewed as phony intelligence, according to a later report in The Washington Post. In an angry dispute, CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin tells Cheney's aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, "I'm not going back to the well on this. We've done our work."

Two reports from the National Intelligence Council warn Bush that an Iraq invasion could spark sectarian violence and an anti-US insurgency. One says an occupation could "increase popular sympathy for terrorist objectives." They also express skepticism about the Niger uranium story.

  • 09. Hans Blix appears before the UN on the same day as ElBaradei to comment on the Iraqi weapons declaration and to present an update on inspections. He reports that inspectors have found no "smoking guns" in Iraq after two months' work, and that they have not encountered any impediments from the Iraqis. He does say the Iraqi declaration was incomplete, and calls on the Iraqis to show more evidence of disarmament.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (and, two years later, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient), contradicts President Bush on the aluminum tubes intelligence in a presentation to the UN. ElBaradei says the "tubes sought by Iraq in 2001 and 2002 appear to be consistent with reverse engineering of rockets. While it would be possible to modify such tubes for the manufacture of centrifuges, they are not directly suitable for it." The New York Times reports that the CIA, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and the NSA agree with the Bush Administration's view, while some in the INR (State) and the DOE (Energy) agree with ElBaradei. A senior Bush official tells the Times, "I think the Iraqis are spinning the IAEA."

  • 11. Donald Rumsfeld shows Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar the administration's war plans for Iraq and says, "You can count on this. This is going to happen." Two days later, Bush tells Colin Powell he has decided to go to war.
  • 13. A State Department intelligence analyst working on Iraq's nuclear program sends an email to several members of the intelligence community arguing that "the uranium purchase agreement was probably a hoax."
  • 20. President Bush signs National Security Presidential Directive No. 24, assigning to the Pentagon control over post–war Iraq. With the directive, the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), is created. Subsumed by the Coalition Provisional Authority six months later, it will be the first post–war authority in Iraq.
  • 21 January 2003 - Bush says of Saddam "He has weapons of mass destruction -- the world's deadliest weapons -- which pose a direct threat to the United States, our citizens and our friends and allies."


  • 05. Colin Powell addresses the United Nations, asserting that there was "no doubt in my mind" that Saddam was working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons.



  1. Eric Schmitt and James Dao, Iraq Is Focal Point as Bush Meets With Joint Chiefs, New York Times, 11 January 2001
  2. Clarke (2004): 231-232
  3. Julian Borger, Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders, The Guardian, 24 February 2006
  4. Jason Leopold, The Road to 'Operation Iraqi Freedom',, 20 March 2008
  5. Suskind (2006): 18-19
  6. Suskind (2006): 23
  7. Suskind (2006): 24
  8. [Media:Abramoff_Emails.pdf The Abramoff Investigation, Bates numbers GTG R000847 - 001829], Page 26
  9. Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War (New York: Crown Publishers 2006),p. 35
  10. Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, Iraq Flap Shakes Rice's Image, Washington Post, 27 July 2003

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