Media Fed False Information by Iraqi National Congress
Why did so many media outlets uncritically report the charges that Saddam Hussein "was in league with Osama bin Laden, was developing nuclear weapons and was hiding biological and chemical weapons"? Because they got played by the Iraqi National Congress.
As TalkLeft has noted, the Bush administration continues to pay for intelligence from the INC despite its self-interest and its demonstrated history of providing intelligence that isn't all that accurate. Now a Knight Ridder investigation reveals that the INC didn't just lie to the Bush administration. It lied to the media, as well, and much of the media bought into it.
A June 26, 2002, letter from the Iraqi National Congress to the Senate Appropriations Committee listed 108 articles based on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress's Information Collection Program, a U.S.-funded effort to collect intelligence in Iraq.
The letter said that the INC provided information to Arab and Western news media and to officials in the offices of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
Feeding the information to the news media, as well as to selected administration officials and members of Congress, helped foster an impression that there were multiple sources of intelligence on Iraq's illicit weapons programs and links to bin Laden. In fact, many of the allegations came from the same half-dozen defectors, were not confirmed by other intelligence and were hotly disputed by intelligence professionals at the CIA, the Defense Department and the State Department.
The strategy paid off. The media reports of IRC propoganda helped sway public opinion in support of the invasion of Iraq.
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