Analysts Behind Iraq Intelligence Given Awards

Two Army analysts considered chiefly responsible for the infamous “aluminum tubes” report have been given performance awards.

Analysts Behind Iraq Intelligence Were Rewarded (WaPo, A1)

Two Army analysts whose work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq — the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets — have received job performance awards in each of the past three years, officials said. The civilian analysts, former military men considered experts on foreign and U.S. weaponry, work at the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), one of three U.S. agencies singled out for particular criticism by President Bush’s commission that investigated U.S. intelligence.


The problem, according to the commission, which cited the two analysts’ work, is that they did not seek or obtain information available from the Energy Department and elsewhere showing that the tubes were indeed the type used for years as rocket-motor cases by Iraq’s military. The panel said the finding represented a “serious lapse in analytic tradecraft” because the center’s personnel “could and should have conducted a more exhaustive examination of the question.”

Pentagon spokesmen said the awards for the analysts were to recognize their overall contributions on the job over the course of each year. But some current and former officials, including those who called attention to the awards, said the episode shows how the administration has failed to hold people accountable for mistakes on prewar intelligence.

Quite bizarre. Of course, most civil service employees get “Superior” performance evaluations and performance bonuses every year. Lake Wobegon has nothing on the U.S. government.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Lt bell says:

    The entire Administration involved with the Bush Crime Family has been rewarded by being returned to office.
    Is any one more responsible for the Iraq debacle
    than Bush and mr haliburton

  2. Harry says:

    I wish I had worked for whichever Federal agency you’re referring to when you say most CS employees get performance bonuses every year. In my 5-year stint with the Corps of Engineers, that definitely didn’t happen, to me or the people around me.

  3. Hal says:

    Yea, I thought we had this whole “accountability moment” last November. I don’t know why anyone is surprised about all this.

  4. Herb Ely says:

    Just under a decade ago, I was working for the same agency. While I have no idea of what happened, the analysts involved were experts. I can guess that their reports, carefully written, challenged the administration’s contention that the aluminum tubes were suitable only for enrichment. Management, aware of the administration case, made the challenge more oblique. DOE, withheld information. Top management, wanting to make the case, ignored the oblique challenge, just as they did with Curveball.

    Part of the problem was a failure to ask the right question. Even if the tubes had been suitable only for uranium enrichment, it would have meant that the Iraqi’s were only part way to fielding a weapon. this was not an immanent threat and would not have justified a war.

    I’m sorry for the analysts involved. If the full story is ever known, I guess it will be another case of SRD- S— rolls downhill.

  5. McGehee says:

    Nobody ever claimed the threat was “imminent.” The whole notion of “pre-emptive” war is that you take action before it’s imminent.