Analysts Behind Iraq Intelligence Given Awards
Two Army analysts considered chiefly responsible for the infamous “aluminum tubes” report have been given performance awards.
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.