Intel: What the Brits Said

The CIA won't say so, but the U.K. initially opposed war in Iraq. A new book by Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA's European ops, describes how, the day after 9/11, a "powerful delegation from a very close European ally" visited CIA Director George Tenet at HQ. In his book "On the Brink," Drumheller says the foreign-team leader said "his government stood by us ... and that we could count on it for any and all support." But the foreign rep cautioned, "I hope we can all agree that we should concentrate on Afghanistan and not be tempted to launch any attacks on Iraq." In Drumheller's account, Tenet replied, "Absolutely, we all agree on that."

Who was this "close European ally"? That's classified, says the CIA. According to a footnote in Drumheller's book: "The nationality of the visiting delegation in this chapter and other details of what the author witnessed of that event have been masked under CIA secrecy requirements." But two former intel officials tell NEWSWEEK the foreign delegation was British, led by spy chief Richard Dearlove and David Manning, the national-security adviser. A U.K. source, who, like the former intel officials, requested anonymity due to diplomatic sensitivities, acknowledged that the delegation did visit Tenet on Sept. 12, 2001, and confirmed it was the U.K.'s position at the time that the U.S. should not attack Iraq. One of the other officials acknowledged the meeting but said Iraq was not discussed. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said, "The agency does not publicly discuss its relations with foreign intelligence organizations."