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Truthdigger of the Week: Thomas Gimble

Truthdig tips its hat this week to the Defense Department watchdog who reported that a top Pentagon official served up “inappropriate” intelligence reports to lead the country into war in Iraq.

Thomas F. Gimble, acting inspector general for the Defense Department, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday that former U.S. defense policy chief Douglas Feith’s office produced analyses about a supposed relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida that were “inconsistent with the consensus of the intelligence community.”

Gimble said that Feith, who left the defense post in 2005, provided information to the National Security Council and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney “without caveats” that many intelligence sources doubted the information’s credibility.

It was this very information, you may remember, that Cheney used publicly to connect Iraq and al-Qaida — and which of course turned out to be completely bogus.

And though it has been well reported that Bush officials cherry-picked intelligence to mislead the country into war, it still serves an important function to have the inspector general of the Defense Department put his official seal on those allegations.

And while Gimble concluded that Feith’s actions “were not illegal or unauthorized,” he “did not provide the most accurate analysis of intelligence to senior decision makers” during the run-up to war — a damning accusation.

Gimble, a long-serving official in the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General, has a track record of bringing to light evidence of fraud, waste and abuse within the Pentagon.

To take a few examples: Last month Gimble reported that the Pentagon hid at least $1.4 billion in the other government agencies’ coffers instead of returning unspent money to the Treasury Department.

Also last month, Gimble reported that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan lack weapons and equipment because of errors in the Defense Department’s personnel-deployment system.

At a time when waste, fraud and incompetence are running rampant in Bush’s war machine, we need all the Thomas Gimbles we can get.

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