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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 05/25/2010

CIA unit's wacky idea: Depict Saddam as gay

By Jeff Stein

During planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA's Iraq Operations Group kicked around a number of ideas for discrediting Saddam Hussein in the eyes of his people.

One was to create a video purporting to show the Iraqi dictator having sex with a teenage boy, according to two former CIA officials familiar with the project.

“It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera,” said one of the former officials. “Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session.”

The idea was to then “flood Iraq with the videos,” the former official said.

Another idea was to interrupt Iraqi television programming with a fake special news bulletin. An actor playing Hussein would announce that he was stepping down in favor of his (much-reviled) son Uday.

“I’m sure you will throw your support behind His Excellency Uday,” the fake Hussein would intone.

The spy agency’s Office of Technical Services collaborated on the ideas, which also included inserting fake “crawls” -- messages at the bottom of the screen -- into Iraqi newscasts.

The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from “some of us darker-skinned employees,” he said.

Eventually, “things ground to a halt,” the other former officer said, because no one could come to agreement on the projects.

They also faced strong opposition from James Pavitt, then head of the agency’s Operations Division, and his deputy, Hugh Turner, who “kept throwing darts at it.”

The ideas were patently ridiculous, said the other former agency officer.

“They came from people whose careers were spent in Latin America or East Asia” and didn’t understand the cultural nuances of the region.

“Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East -- nobody cares,” agreed a third former CIA official with extensive experience in the region. “Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos.”

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to confirm the accounts, or deny them.

"While I can't confirm these accounts, if these ideas were ever floated by anyone at any time, they clearly didn't go anywhere," the official said.

The reality, the former officials said, was that the agency really didn’t have enough money and expertise to carry out the projects.

“The military took them over,” said one. “They had assets in psy-war down at Ft. Bragg,” at the army’s special warfare center.

“The agency got rid of most of its non-paramilitary covert action in the 1980s, after Bill Casey died,” said the third former official. “He was a big fan of covert action, but neither Bob Gates, who succeeded him as acting [CIA] director, or any after him, wanted anything to do with it.”

“There was a flurry of activity during the first Gulf War,” the official added, “but [Gen. Norman] Schwarzkopf made it clear he had to approve everything, and he basically approved nothing, except, reluctantly at first, surrender leaflets. By the late '90s there were very few people left who knew anything about covert action or how to do it. “

The leaflets also had “unintended consequences,” the former official added.

“In the perverted logic of Iraq, the Iraqi soldiers decided they had to have a leaflet to surrender, so they fought us to get one."

According to histories of the 2003 invasion, the single most effective “information warfare” project, which originated in the Pentagon, was to send faxes and e-mails to Iraqi unit commanders as the fighting began, telling them their situation was hopeless, to round up their tanks, artillery and men, and go home.

Many did.

Hear a further discussion of the videos on PRI's The World.

By Jeff Stein  | May 25, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Intelligence, Military  | Tags:  Hugh Turner, James Pavitt, Robert Gates, Saddam Hussein, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, William Casey  
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Next: Setting the record straight on 'contractor' spies


At a certain point, we must bring "intelligence" back to American intelligence. Too much corruption and consultant with no brains.

Jack Bauer is pretend, the product of mediocre writers, yet that is their model for intelligence. Apparently, Bauer and Mitch McConnell, but I digress.

Or maybe Kiefer Sutherland is their model for intelligence...


Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | May 25, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I forget: Don't you have some civilians to torture and bomb?

Stalin ----> the way to victory!

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | May 25, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

I've always said there's a lot more to the CIA than just rape and torture.

This column reads like a disinformation effort though. Implicit in the narrative is that the CIA could not make a digitally manipulated video with audio of Saddam or Osama doing or saying anything they wanted them to do or say.

One fact is worth knowing. In 2003, when fax technology here was disappearing, in Iraq it was widely used. Countries that lag the USA in technology seek their next step forward, not ours. All of which makes the secrets of our obsolete nukes highly valuable to others while they are of no apparent value to us.

Posted by: blasmaic | May 25, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The CIA must have gotten this idea from the South Park movie back in '98 or '99.

Posted by: cjbmo | May 25, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Who was gonna "star" as the 7 year old boy that Saddam was having sex with, some little Iraq kid who doesn't matter?

Posted by: madstamina | May 25, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

We're paying these idiots six-figure salaries to come up with nonsense such as this and they wonder why they're looked upon with such disdain.

Posted by: Byrd3 | May 25, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Do I have to point it out? Diddling little boys is NOT GAY! IT is Pedephilia. I cannot believe that people still believe gay means wants to have sex with little kids! Exclaimation point!!!
That title should read: CIA Wacky Idea: Depict Sadam as a pedophile

Posted by: jojoranting | May 25, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

having sex with children is pedophilia , not homosexuality.

Just ask the catholic church.
It's whoever is easiest to rape

Posted by: newagent99 | May 25, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

UNO as a coordinator USA went into a treaty with government of Pakistan in 1973 to create anti narcotics force. I joined it as a law enforcement officer. We were trained by Pakistan Police, a team of DEA and US Custom. We were promised a brilliant future. The moment DEA and US Custom left Pakistan, our troubles started. We were dubbed as CIA agents. Most of my colleagues died and many of them went mad. I was ousted in 1980 and am still without a job. The bottom line is that US Ministry of Justice hire mercenaries from poor countries and leaves them at the mercy of cruel rulers.

Posted by: shahjahanbhatti1 | May 25, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Men who stare at goats

Posted by: AxelDC | May 25, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

As a victim of what appears to be a multi-agency, fusion center- coordinated campaign of professional and personal character assassination and physical and psychological abuse, I have received direct and indirect communications, or have heard slander from vigilante community goon squad "stalkers," inferring that I am gay; a pedophile; a radical; a paranoid schizophrenic; a money launderer; a wife abuser, etc. etc.

I am none of the above.

If elements of a rogue bureaucracy are engaged in such slanders and libels against an American journalist, it is surely no surprise that these same ham-fisted, tragi-comedic "methods and tactics" would be employed against Saddam.

So when will the Obama administration get a grip on rogue, and inept, elements within the security-intel bureaucracy?

Here are links to articles that apparently inspire my continued persecution and personal and career sabotage by elements of a multi-agency fusion center Gestapo:

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 25, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Mr.'s my earlier note to you regarding anti-Muslim prejudice, you suggested that I submit it via the "Comments" section...I've just now discovered at the bottom of the page the tiny print which says "Log In"....

Subject Book cites danger of U.S. anti-Muslim prejudice....

Mr Stein.....

....that book you mention coming out will be half baked only, if it omits any mention of the abject passivity of American Muslims/Islamists towards the terrorism projected and advocated and achieved by their "brothers" in religion right here in America, right now. Calling this prejudice a skin color problem is a blatant red herring. (no pun intended).

I personally (78 years old, former Captain USAF Res, and former Air America Station Manager in Laos...) bristle whenever I see anything in our media about "outreach" to Islamists/Muslims, ACLU whinnying about their "human rights".....or other of the myriad forms of Islamic appeasement, including the rampant Taqiyya disinformation and hypocrisy, and the new tactic of "Lawfare" so adroitly effected by these Muslims/Islamists.

Regarding that Islamic/Muslim concept of Taqiyya, it will be interesting to see if his book comes anywhere near that dicey subject......suggest a future article by you on that fertile, little worked field.

"American" Islamists/Muslims get no sympathy from me, and I couldn't care less what they look like.

Charles Griffith
Middletown, Maryland, 21769."....

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | May 25, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Only twisted Huckabee disciples of Lord Cheney could come up with these lies.

Posted by: areyousaying | May 25, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The choice of words for the headline is quite poor. The body of the article discusses sex with a "boy" by the rather senior dictator. If the plan had included a young girl, what would the headline have been? Would the word have been "straight" or would it have been "pedophile?"

Pedophilia is something that the Post should be able to articulate as being different from homosexuality.

Posted by: demostheneswashdc | May 25, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Pedophilia, Homosexual, beastiality...all sexually demented behavior...

Posted by: NO-bama | May 25, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Someone brought up a very good point ... who was going to play the molested boy in the video? Would they have just paid some poor kid there to get fondled?

Why would no one in the Middle East care about pedophilia? Is it because they are not gullible & wouldn't believe it or is it something that happens there often & no one would find it surprising that Sadam & Osama also partake in that behavior?

This article makes me want to work for the CIA! I can come up with ideas like this all day with my buddies.

Posted by: LadeM | May 25, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

As the article notes, within the cultural context, the idea was patently absurd. What we in the west might call homosexuality or pedophilia, or both, is, in the Arab mind, neither. If such a video was disseminated, as long as Saddam was portrayed as the actor and not the recipient, Iraqis would have been more likely to see him as powerful rather than deplorable. Neither our government nor the American people have the understanding nor stomach to play this game. The sooner we ween ourselves of the economic and political influence that keeps us in that part of the world the better.

Posted by: lmmbham | May 25, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This really does make me wonder....most of the young troops over in the wars believe that Osama bin Laden was killed years ago at Toro Bora---so wonder if the CIA is releasing made up/fake tapes of him talking so we can continue these wars???? Money is behind everything and war is big bucks. If we really knew what was going on behind the scenes it would probably scare us all to death...

Posted by: Sherry91 | May 25, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

For a while I thought I was reading an "Onion" story.

It's great to see the insights and humor of our CIA folks. I seriously do appreciate that creativity is allowed to flourish. Sometimes reality is better than fiction.

Here is a less expensive altnerative: Instead of having top CIA covert folks (GS-13s and above) sitting in a room to devise these strategies, we should just provide fraternities across the country with a keg of beer to develop similar strategies. Within 1 hour, I am sure they would come up with similar thought out strategies, at a much lower cost to the government.

Posted by: rpinNH | May 25, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!! Like this has not been done before!!!
Does anybody remember the famous "tape" of Osama Bin Laden where he appeared to take credit for 911. The video was grainy enough that you could not tell if it was Bin Laden or not -and the actor was about 30 lbs heavier?

Been tried before, sorry CIA

Posted by: jsanchez001 | May 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this article are interesting in terms of what they reveal about our own auto-centric way of looking at things. But seriously, what is pedophilia in the context of a culture where those we consider children are married away at puberty. The article said a teenage boy. So would that have been pedophilia? And as for the nature of the sex, certainly we would say that male-on-male sex is homosexual. However, in a culture where the practice is common but where the participants do not consider themselves homosexuals in the sense that we commonly conceive the term, maybe we need a new word to describe the nature of the act.

Posted by: lmmbham | May 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody remember the famous "tape" of Osama Bin Laden

Kudos to jsanchez001 for hitting that nail smack on the head.

How obvious does it have to be?

Posted by: Orwelll | May 25, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I just want to know would the homosexual pedophilia in that phoney baloney tape be (to borrow a phrase from the Northwoods documents) "real or simulated"?

Posted by: Orwelll | May 25, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

So I wonder who leaked the idea to South Park.

Posted by: tmorgan2008 | May 25, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

As with every report I read about our intelligence agencies, including the CIA, I say to myself, "who knows"? Who knows who is trying to discredit whoever for whatever reasons?
Their stock in trade is deception and they practice it against one another all the time, it seems to me.
In whose interest is it to discredit the CIA this time around? We'll never know.
Or, maybe the whole thing is just entirely true and someone has decided that these cock-eyed ideas ought to be exposed because they continue to come up with one ridiculous idea after the other and maybe, just maybe, one of them might come into existence.
Who knows?

Posted by: cms1 | May 25, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

What has just been admitted:
(1) The CIA has access to boys from teen to prepubescent children and will use them.
(2) The CIA has the ability to interrupt News Casts.
(3) The CIA has an Office of Technical Services, which will (apparently) use boys and pre teens in videos, if it suits.
(4) Where are the drunken "boys" who sat around with the "darker skinned employees" getting drunk with the OBL look-alike?
(5 Whose to say the other "dodgey vids" of OBL are legit if the CIA admits it not only has an OBL double, but a Saddam double?
(7) The CIA have assets in Psy-War at Fort Bragg - where that shooter went nuts; did he find out about this programme as "a dark skinned employee"?
(8) "The perverted logic of Iraq." You must be kidding!
No one will back Saddam as a Victim, but stooping to such vile and repugnant levels is not Warfare and Honour - it is Thuggery to the Extreme.

Posted by: powersiege | May 25, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

No matter what the CIA comes up with on ideas on how to handle a threat to US,we should remember that many ideas are probably thrown in and almost just as many are not used.We are lucky to have the protection of our Government as other countries all have their own version and without ours we truly would be in much worse shape than You coiuld imagine!

Posted by: flying1 | May 25, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

The CIA tried to do something similar with Sukarno in the 60s. Moronic idea then, too. Our tax dollars at work!

Posted by: Mimbres | May 25, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Seems one or two posters with their lights switched on, amid a whole flock of black-helicopter and leftwing nutballs.

Posted by: ksm12009 | May 25, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

And we know one of the reasons why the Bush/Cheney regime caused the U.S., to be so hated around the world and why the Islamic Extremists are so intent on blowing us all up.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | May 25, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

CIA has a history of interfering in other countries going back decades. The information is on the web and easy enough for a ten year old to find. If you cant see the truth, for your sake and everyone elses, dont have children ( if you already have, please get them neutered )

Posted by: jiji1 | May 25, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

CIA has a history of interfering in other countries going back decades. The information is on the web and easy enough for a ten year old to find. If you cant see the truth, for your sake and everyone elses, dont have children ( if you already have, please get them neutered )

Posted by: jiji1 | May 25, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Great ideas. I remember birth control pills for Castro: to feminize his voice. So who writes these gags for the "intelligence" pros: Mad Magazine?

Posted by: Reesh | May 25, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

This headline is insulting, homophobic, and defamatory.

An adult male having sex with an underage boy would make someone a PEDOPHILE, not gay!

Gay people DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH CHILDREN! They have sex with other consenting adults.

Posted by: stronzo | May 26, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The entire plan - and execution: with which boy?! One from Guantanamo? - is a discgrace, and clear indication of the sick minds that seem to have taken over too many of the US Intelligence(?) services (e.g. menstruating onto the faces of naked, chained prisoners - viz. Guantanamo, et alia). That is not even NAZI SS technique, it is guided by sick psychology.
And bringing in homosexual child rape is just part of the old fears, inspired by the panic over priests and altar boys, but before this was turned "politically correct" into mere 'pedophilia', excluding the dominating same-sex element in it.
It is strange in a way: On one hand, the US Forces are meant to be happy and 'gay', on the other, it's wrong if Saddam is.

Posted by: jboost45 | May 26, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

This article is absolutely written by a Psyop agent. The whole purpose of this article is to instill in the minds of the American people that Arabs are born pedophiles and that pedophilia is normal in the Arab world. I must say this article can not be far from a Mossad work.

Posted by: Arab101 | May 26, 2010 4:28 AM | Report abuse

If the content of the article is true, then I am seriously wondering why the US Congress is not pro-Arabs to enjoy their homosexuality and pedophilia with? Isn't it widely known that majority of the both of the US Houses members are such? We should have at least noticed that Barney Frank or example defending Saddam, but he wasn't! He was defending the Israelis. Any conclusion?

Posted by: Arab101 | May 26, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse

Is this what Cheney's CIA troops did to former UN Inspector Scott Ritter? Because apparently, there are no boundaries...and that 'story' on him seemed to disappear.

Posted by: PrissyPatriot | May 26, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

It's what they did to Hitler after the war to attempt to deter any post-war NSDAP uprisings.

Posted by: t2dfrey | May 26, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

1) Is the Mexican Gulf ‘Deepwater Horizon’ oil leak designed to sabotage, cripple and bankrupt BP? Is it a take over bid by the US government (CIA-Blackwater XE) protected American oil companies to monopolise the global energy industry chain from exploration to retail distribution? Is reality better than fiction?
2) Is there a need to investigate whether the bombs going off in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are being planted by the CIA-Blackwater XE Delta Force working with their own Orange Force in the three countries and in Europe, USA, India, South Korea and elsewhere? Is reality better than fiction?

Posted by: spsyed | May 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

add this lovely revelation to the idaho gop idiot ward who was a cia operations dude (puerto is a separate country; plagiarizing obama's speech) ...

your billions of dollars in black budget operations at work. no wonder this country is in the downward spiral it finds itself.

Posted by: mycomment | May 26, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Does anybody remember the famous "tape" of Osama Bin Laden where he appeared to take credit for 911. The video was grainy enough that you could not tell if it was Bin Laden or not -and the actor was about 30 lbs heavier?"


Posted by: eric70 | May 26, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The homophobic headline writer needs to learn the difference between gays and pedophiles.

Posted by: disputo | May 27, 2010 1:43 AM | Report abuse

When terroris and tyrant is just not enough, say he's a ho, hom, homosexual!

Posted by: GTFOOH | May 27, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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