Vincent Cannistaro, the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan:
... The Italian intelligence service, the military intelligence service, was acquiring information that was really being hand-fed to them by very dubious sources. The Niger documents, for example, which apparently were produced in the United States, yet were funneled through the Italians.
[Do we know who produced those documents? Because there’s some suspicion ... ]
I think I do, but I’d rather not speak about it right now, because I don’t think it’s a proven case ...
[If I said “Michael Ledeen” ...?]
You’d be very close . . .
[do you believe that this process worked out in such a way to exonerate the White House and to lay the blame with the wrong . . .]
I think that’s certainly the objective. To lay it off to the intelligence community. But, it’s very disingenuous. It’s like saying, OK, the intelligence community that we whipped into a frenzy in order to provide information to sustain our policy conclusions that Saddam had a WMD program and that he was an imminent danger — that intelligence community provided information that now turns out not to be correct. And that’s why we were misled into saying what we did say, and doing what we did do. That’s very disingenuous, because that’s not the case at all.
The case was that this was not a fact-based policy that the U.S. government adopted. It was a policy-based decision that drove the intelligence, and not the other way around...You had a lot of people who played along to get along, and they understood that in that kind of administration, you couldn’t say exactly what it is that you really believed.