'500 Days'

To the Editor:

In his book “500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars,” Kurt Eichenwald describes a conversation that supposedly took place some 10 years ago between the two of us concerning intelligence about Iraq and Al Qaeda. In reviewing the book (Oct. 7), Thomas E. Ricks says this alleged exchange “conveys the mind-set of the Bush administration.” But in fact, no such conversation took place.

Eichenwald provides no source — not even an anonymous one — for this report, nor even an approximate date. We are certain that we never had such a conversation, nor did we hold the views attributed to us, which would have been inconsistent with intelligence that was known during that time period, such as that reported in the director of central intelligence George Tenet’s Oct. 7, 2002, letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee or in the C.I.A.’s earlier report in June 2002, “Iraq and al-Qa’ida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship.” There was and remains much debate about the significance of the intelligence, but neither of us would have suggested that the intelligence “is just not there.”

STEPHEN J. HADLEY
PAUL D. WOLFOWITZ
Washington

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