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May 19th, 2009
10:07 AM ET

Report: Biblical passages quoted in secret Bush war memos

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Robert Draper broke the story about intelligence reports for the June 26th issue of GQ magazine."]

In the days after the attacks of September 11th, then-President George W. Bush raised eyebrows when he referred to the war on terror as a “crusade.” Today we are getting our first look at some top-secret briefings on the Iraq War.

According to GQ magazine, these classified documents included biblical passages on the cover pages. It claims former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld delivered them by hand to the White House each morning.

Robert Draper is a correspondent for GQ. He broke this story about the intelligence reports for the June 26th issue of GQ, which is on newsstands next week. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday.

Kiran Chetry: How were you able to get your hands on these classified documents?

Robert Draper: I can't tell you, but they were provided to me by a government official who did not have a specific bone to pick with Secretary Rumsfeld, wasn't a disgruntled employee, wasn’t marginalized by him or anything like that.

Chetry: These were given to just a select group of people and some in your reporting were quite surprised and troubled by the biblical passages on the cover sheets. These were top-secret documents known as the “Worldwide Intelligence Update.” You have some of them in the magazine:

On April 1, 2003 – From Proverbs: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.”

On April 8, 2003 – From Isaiah: “Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.” This phrase is accompanied by pictures of tanks rolling into Baghdad.

On April 10, 2003 – From Psalms: “Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him.”

Chetry: You say they were often delivered by Rumsfeld himself. How were they received by the president and those around him?

Draper: We don't know. The president would receive them every morning. Secretary Rumsfeld would see them at a 7:30am briefing. He would then bring them over to the Oval Office. Difficult to say how the president reacted, but given the context as you've described it… what had happened after 9/11 with the president referring to the war against terror as a crusade, it was a sensitive manner, a number of people within the Pentagon were quite concerned if something like this leaked out in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq or thereafter that it would be received quite poorly in the Muslim and Arab world.


Filed under: Donald Rumsfeld