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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Intelligence Unit Suddenly Is News to Tenet and Media

March 12, 2004

Re "Spy Unit Skirted CIA on Iraq," March 10: I am appalled. Not because there existed a special intelligence unit within the Pentagon that used politically motivated amateurs to run its own campaign of selectively culling and rearranging factoids and falsehoods and misrepresenting that information as fact. Not because that special unit, only months old, held the fantastical position of arrogant superiority over established and proven professionals within the CIA and State Department. Not because that unit then piped its nefarious results directly into the White House, where the trumped-up charges were presented to the public, to Congress (illegally?) and to the world as evidence of the necessity for toppling a foreign government. And not even because that special unit was taking its intelligence cues from that convicted con man and potential dictator in the making, Ahmad Chalabi.

No, what appalls me is that CIA Director George Tenet is acting as if he just now found out about all of this, despite volumes of evidence that have been in the public domain for months and months. And what really appalls me is that The Times is treating all this as news. This should have been front and center on Page A1, indeed, but in 2002, not 2004. Your report is way too little and way too late.

Eric Hainline

Santa Ana

After reading the article regarding Tenet's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, it is absolutely astounding to me how much the director of the CIA does not know about how intelligence is used and how it is presented to the White House. It seems to me someone else besides Tenet should be talking to Vice President Dick Cheney about his misrepresentations of intelligence. Ordinarily I'd think that would be the president, but I know he is preoccupied with the "people's business" of fundraising right now.

Donald C. Litton

Chatsworth

I, for one, believe that the spy unit was created to make a case for the White House to attack Iraq. President Bush willed it, his underlings made it happen. This alone should be grounds for his impeachment. The fact that the weapons of mass destruction have not been found yet is not surprising. But don't bet on it. I think the Pentagon has the ability to secretly ship some over and manage to have them "found" later.

David Chen

Hacienda Heights

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