Tyler Scott Drumheller (April 12, 1952 – August 2, 2015) was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer who served as chief of the European division for clandestine operations in the Directorate of Operations from 2001 until he retired in 2005. Drumheller was born in Biloxi, Mississippi.
His career spanned more than 25 years during which he served as the chief of the agency's largest field office, including time as the head of covert actions in Europe, and worked as a senior operations officer in other regions of the world. During that time, he claimed to have been skeptical of the Bush administration’s claims that intelligence analysis showed Iraq was developing weapon of mass destruction (WMD). In late 2004, Drumheller was removed from his last position, Chief of Europe Division, for his abusive management style (e.g. bullying, screaming) when dealing with mid level managers. He had a known reputation for telling “war stories” (including embellishments), bureaucratic manipulation, and an ambition to become Deputy Director of Operations. In early 2005, Drumheller was forced into retirement.
Activities in retirement
Drumheller retired from the CIA in 2005 and moved to the nebulous world of private intelligence consulting. He started his own firm, Tyler Drumheller LLC based in Washington, DC.
At the Beginning of 2006 Drumheller claimed the CIA had credible sources discounting some weapon of mass destruction claims made during the Iraq disarmament crisis before the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. According to Drumheller the Bush administration dismissed CIA information which reported Saddam Hussein had no WMD program 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.
He received and discounted documents central to the Niger yellowcake forgery prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On April 23, 2006, CBS’s “60 Minutes” interviewed Drumheller and he disclosed that the CIA had received documentary intelligence from Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD. He also said that reports about Iraqis buying tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger “didn’t hold together”.
In April 2007, former CIA director George Tenet, who headed the agency under both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush, took pages in his book ″At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA″ to call out Drumheller for not telling the truth and dismantle his version of the events and singled Drumheller out as untrustworthy.
On September 6, 2007, Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, 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."
2011, while the Libyan civil war Drumheller, advised former Major General David L. Grange and than CEO of Osprey Global Solutions. Drumheller, Grange and Blumenthal worked on the Libya memos with Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton family friend and operative — his brother, Derek Shearer, was United States Ambassador to Finland under Bill Clinton and his sister, Brooke Shearer, was married to Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott, who was in close contact with Blumenthal. Blumenthal provided the than US-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with detailed briefings on events in the Middle East and was running the ad hoc spy ring. In March 2011, Blumenthal sent an email which included "apparently highly sensitive information" to Hillary Clinton with details received from Drumheller, who had spoken with a CIA colleague, mentioning the name of an intelligence source (2012 Benghazi attack).
- Miller, Greg (August 6, 2015). "Tyler Drumheller, CIA officer who exposed U.S. reliance on discredited Iraq source 'Curveball', dies at 63". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- Roston, Aram; Myers, Lisa (March 20, 2006). "Iraqi diplomat gave U.S. prewar WMD details - Saddam's foreign minister told CIA the truth, so why didn't agency listen?". NBC Investigative Unit. NBC News. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- Müller, Ute; Wiegelmann, Lucas; Banse, Dirk (August 27, 2011). "'USA haben BND für Irak-Krieg missbraucht'". Politik Deutscher Geheimdienst. Die Welt (in German). Axel Springer SE. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
Trägt Deutschland Schuld am Ausbruch des Irak-Kriegs 2003? Nein, sagt Ex-BND-Chef Hanning und bezichtigt die USA, seine Behörde für den Krieg missbraucht zu haben
- Blumenthal, Sidney (September 6, 2007). "Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction". Salon.com. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- Isikoff, Michael (October 8, 2015). "Benghazi committee, under fire, releases more Clinton emails". Politics. Yahoo!. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
Tyler spoke to a colleague currently at CIA, who told him the agency had been dependent for intelligence from [redacted due to sources and methods]
- Hattem, Julian (August 7, 2015). "Author of Benghazi memos sent to Clinton dies after cancer battle". The Hill. Capital Hill Publishing. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- 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)