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Amazing inconsistencies in U.S. intelligence handling

The following AP story caught my eye, not for what it says of the declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report alleging Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's involvement with the Medellin drug cartel, but for what it reveals about how VERY differently the U.S. reacts to its own intelligence.
Pentagon and State Department officials have practically tripped over themselves rushing to discredit the allegations in the thirteen-year-old DIA report, calling them "not credible" and "raw, uncorroborated information from a single source," but doesn't it seem odd that these very departments relied on far less credible intelligence than this to propel the country into war and to kill, wound and imprison many thousands, and even now are using highly questionable information from an internet website to terrify the population with nationwide "terror alerts"?

Guess it all depends on whether the intelligence suits the agenda ... or whose ox is being gored.

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U.S. and Colombia dispute 1991 American report regarding Uribe's alleged drug ties

DAN MOLINSKI

Associated Press Writer


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ The United States rushed to the defense of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Monday after a recently declassified 1991 U.S. military intelligence report linked him to powerful drug traffickers more than a decade ago.

Both the State Department and the Pentagon delivered unusually strong statements in support of Uribe, who is a strong ally of Washington in the war on drugs.

``We completely disavow the allegations about Uribe. It's not credible information,'' State Department spokesman Robert Zimmerman said Monday, noting that Uribe has a record of strong opposition to drug trafficking.

``No conclusions can be drawn from it,'' said Lt. Col. Chris Conway, a Pentago spokesman, who said the report was raw, uncorroborated information from a single source.

The document was prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency 13 years ago, when Uribe was a Colombian senator. It was released Monday by the National Security Archive, a private research group based in Washington that used the U.S. Freedom of Information Act to make the document public.

The report placed Uribe as No. 82 on a list of 104 ``important Colombian drug traffickers.'' It stated that Uribe had close ties to the powerful Medellin cartel, whose leader was former drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

``Uribe has worked for the Medellin cartel and is a close personal friend of Pablo Escobar,'' states the 14-page document, in which Uribe is mentioned in just one paragraph.

Luis Alberto Moreno, Colombia's ambassador to the United States, told local radio Monday that the report was a rough draft document prepared by lower-level officials. He said it was never fully evaluated by higher officials in the U.S. Defense Department.

``Uribe's record on drug trafficking speaks for itself,'' Moreno said.

Indeed, Uribe has been committed to reducing drug trafficking since he took office in August 2002. Uribe has worked closely with Washington on an aerial eradication program in which U.S.-funded airplanes fly over drug fields and spray them with weed killer.

He also has authorized the extradition of more than 170 suspects to various countries, mainly for drug trafficking.

Uribe denied similar accusations of drug ties during his election campaign two years ago. Voters took little notice of the charges and elected him in a landslide victory.

Today, few politicians in Colombia, where most of the world's cocaine is produced, have links to the drug underworld. But observers note that many of them have some form of drug ties in their past.

Most Colombians are pleased with Uribe's hard-line stance against leftist guerrillas who have been fighting the government for four decades.

Uribe's office disputed other accusations in the 1991 document as well.

The U.S. document claims Uribe's father was killed because of his son's links to drug traffickers, but the president's office says he was killed while resisting a kidnapping attempt.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press

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