Finding a "smoking gun" linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.REPEAT: "I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN.
Dick Cheney's office ordered use of "alternative" techniques against CIA's recommendations, aide says.
The allegation was included in an online broadside aimed at former Vice President Dick Cheney by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In it, Wilkerson wrote that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and then-Vice President Cheney's office kept close tabs on the questioning.
"Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda," Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said his accusation is based on information from current and former officials. He said he has been "relentlessly digging" since 2004, when Powell asked him to look into the scandal surrounding the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
"I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN.
REPEAT: "I couldn't walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I'm pretty sure it's fairly accurate," he told CNN.
- HE'S "PRETTY SURE" - AND THAT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR HIM TO SMEAR THE FORMERPOTUS AND VPOTUS AND OUR EFFORTS AT GITMO.
- WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP.
- THESE THREE SC*MBAGS - POWELL, ARMITAGE AND WIILKERSON - WERE A MAJOR THORN IN OUR SIDE.
- SOMEONE TELL THEM TO PLEASE GO AWAY AND STFU.