Tyler Drumheller served from 2001 to 2005 as the CIA's top spy - the division chief for the Directorate of Operations (DO) - for clandestine operations in Europe until he retired in 2005. He was the first high-ranking CIA insider to write extensively on how supposed intelligence failures led to the war in Iraq, which he clearly feels has damaged national interest. While Bush defenders consistently have blamed intelligence failures for the phantom weapons of mass destruction, Drumheller credibly claims that the Bush administration pressured the agency to make the case that the weapons existed and any reports that contradicted that view were ignored. In particular, the treatment of an Iraqi defector who refuted the claims of advanced weapons programs. In a broader context, Drumheller revealed an erosion of the political independence and professionalism of the agency over several decades as successive administrations tried to manipulate and distort intelligence to serve political and ideological ends.
He said that the CIA had credible sources discounting some weapons of mass destruction claims before the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. He received and discounted documents central to the Niger yellowcake forgery prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has also stated that senior White House officials dismissed intelligence information from his agency which reported Saddam Hussein had no WMD program.
According to Drumheller the Bush administration ignored CIA advice and used whatever information it could find to justify an invasion of Iraq. The CIA, brokered by the French intelligence service, recruited Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Europe during the late summer of 2002. Sabri told the CIA in September that Saddam had no major active weapons of mass destruction programs; they had no fissile material and biological weapons were almost non-existent, although he claimed that there were chemical weapons. This information was then transmitted to the White House, but it was ignored in favor of the information acquired by Germany's intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) coming from a source known as Curveball.
On September 6, 2007, Sidney Blumenthal, reporting at Salon.com, supported Drumheller's account: "Now two former senior CIA officers have confirmed Drumheller's account to me and provided the background to the story of how the information that might have stopped the invasion of Iraq was twisted in order to justify it."
Drumheller retired from the CIA in 2005 after a 26-year career, where he spent more than 25 years as an intelligence operative.
- "Saddam's foreign minister told CIA the truth, so why didn't agency listen?".
- "USA haben BND für Irak-Krieg missbraucht".
- Blumenthal, Sidney (6 September 2007). "Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction". Salon.com. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- On the Brink : An Insider's Account of How the White House Compromised American Intelligence (Carroll & Graf, November, 2006) ISBN 0-7867-1915-X
- Wie das Weiße Haus die Welt belügt: Der Insider-Bericht des ehemaligen CIA-Chefs von Europa (Hugendubel Verlag, August, 2007) ISBN 3-7205-3013-2
- Interview with 60 Minutes
- Video of CBS interview
- Interview with MSNBC Hardball
- Select Committee on Intelligence Report
- Mystery flights (TV program includes interview with Drumheller)
- A Dispatches report on Extraordinary Rendition, broadcast on Channel 4, June 11, 2007 (Also includes an interview with Tyler Drumheller)
- Panorama (TV program includes interview with Drumheller)