On Desert Storm Ground War's 20th Anniversary, Newly Published Intelligence Memoir Reveals Former President, Advisors Ignored Warnings Saddam Intended To Invade Kuwait
(Washington, DC) -- President George H. W. Bush and his senior advisors ignored a steadily growing stream of alarms from a key U. S. intelligence agency in the week before Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, a former CIA analyst charges in a new book.
"From July 20, 1990 onward, Bush and his key advisors were warned on a daily basis about the Iraqi military buildup on Kuwait's border," said former CIA analyst Patrick G. Eddington. "But instead of listening to his intelligence professionals, he ignored them."
Eddington makes this and other charges in his newly published book, Long Strange Journey: An Intelligence Memoir, an account of his nearly nine years at the CIA. Eddington's tenure at the Agency spanned the transition from the Cold War to the new era of American interventionism in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. The book draws upon Eddington's direct experience reporting on the events described in the book, as well as thousands of pages of previously classified documents secured through litigation he pursued during the last decade with the help of Washington, D.C. attorney Mark S. Zaid (www.MarkZaid.com).
“Patrick Eddington has been on a dogged crusade for nearly 20 years to force the CIA and Pentagon to reveal the truth of what took place before, during and after the first Gulf War, especially on the still crucially important topic of chemical weapons. Few federal employees have ever been willing to sacrifice their career the way Eddington has in order to ensure the public is informed of its government’s secret knowledge,” said Mr. Zaid.
In the book, Eddington asserts that detailed satellite-imagery derived intelligence reports on the Iraqi military build up were transmitted daily from the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) to the White House, Pentagon, State Department and elsewhere in Washington, but that the warnings were disregarded in preference for the assurances from King Hussein of Jordan and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt that Saddam was bluffing.
“Had our warnings been heeded, it’s possible action could have been taken in time to prevent the invasion, and the larger war that followed,” said Eddington.
Other revelations from Long Strange Journey:
That the CIA’s much-publicized failure to accurately characterize Iraq’s chemical warfare capabilities actually goes back decades and spans three wars.
That Saddam’s intent to invade Saudi Arabia was real and was only averted by President George H.W. Bush’s dispatch of American troops to the desert kingdom, contrary to what journalist Tim Weiner has claimed in his recent book, Legacy of Ashes.
How Saddam Hussein’s forces trained for the invasion of Kuwait, how that activity was missed or misinterpreted by the American intelligence community in the year before the attack, and how U.S. intelligence sharing with Iraq may have given Saddam the confidence that he could redeploy forces off his border with his arch enemy Iran and send additional Iraqi forces south to occupy Kuwait.
That the federal government deliberately attempted to suppress evidence of chemical exposures among Desert Storm veterans.
How the CIA’s post-Desert Storm tilt towards deepening its support to Pentagon operations compromised the Agency’s independence, and the role the CIA played in supporting Pentagon operations in Haiti and the Balkans in the 1990's.
Eddington's book has drawn praise from government watchdog groups and former Congressional investigators.
"This is a 'must read' for the Obama White House and concerned citizens, alike," said Burt Wides, who headed the Church Committee's investigations of the CIA and was Special Counsel to President Carter for oversight of all U.S. intelligence agencies.
"Partly an examination of Eddington's life as an analyst and partly a story of his difficulties in trying to convince officials to acknowledge the chemical-agent danger, Long Strange Journey is a valuable narrative about a talented young officer's experiences--and anguish--while serving in the middle ranks of America's premier secret agency," said Dr. Loch Johnson, Regents Professor at the University of Georgia and also a former Church Committee investigator.
"Long Strange Journey gives us a peek into the bowels of the intelligence community, and it isn't a pretty picture...Part spy thriller, part scandal, part love story, this book will make you hope there are more like him fighting for truth and justice behind the CIA's veil of secrecy," said Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel for National Security and Civil Liberties at the ACLU.
“Long Strange Journey is a gripping depiction of Eddington's struggle to force the CIA, Pentagon and Congress to acknowledge the Gulf War Syndrome's causes," said Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight. "It follows an idealistic young intelligence analyst's painful realization that the government institutions he loved would resort to hiding behind secrecy, intimidation, retaliation and deception rather than own up to its mistakes and take care of the veterans it had sent in harms way. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to know how the intelligence community really works.”
Concurrent with the release of the book, Eddington is also posting a number of partially declassified intelligence reports cited in the book on his blog, www.longstrangejourney.com. The book is available in paperback and electronic form from amazon.com.