For those who have been following the debate surrounding Ronald Suskind’s claim that the CIA forged a phony letter in late 2003 to “prove” al-Qaeda was connected to Saddam Hussein, yesterday’s detailed disclaimer by the Agency (posted on the CIA website) does little to reveal who actually might have done the deed.  As in past denials the Agency’s lawyer-generated language is very specific and narrow, “…that the White House would request such a document, and that the Agency would accept such a task, says something about him [Suskind] and nothing about us. It did not happen.” The denial goes on to state that “no one has substantiated Suskind’s…account of the bogus letter” and concludes that “At this point, the origins of the forgery…remain unclear.”  As in past denials, there is a lot of wiggle room since it is linked BOTH to the the existence of a possible order from the White House AND to agreement by CIA to carry out the task as well as to the details of Suskind’s account, which almost certainly includes inaccuracies. 

My sources are still insisting that the actual forgery took place in the Pentagon, more specifically in Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans (OSP), in response to a request from Scooter Libby in the Vice President’s Office.  John Conyers of the House Judiciary committee will attempt to get to the bottom of the matter in hearings next month, though it is to be presumed that there will be considerable stonewalling and industrial grade obfuscation.  Feith is expected to be one of those subpoenaed to testify.  Some committee members apparently wanted to broaden the inquiry to include the Niger yellowcake forgeries, also frequently linked to OSP, but there is reportedly little chance that the committee leadership will be willing to do so.