Why did the U.S. strikes on Iraq start yesterday? Because CIA spooks thought they had a fix on Saddam, the Washington Post reports.
Hussein and others in "the most senior levels of the Iraqi leadership," ordinarily among the most elusive of men, had fallen under U.S. surveillance. The unforeseen glimpse of the enemy was not expected to last, and so presented what one administration official called "a target of opportunity" that might not reappear. Not only did the agency know where Hussein was, according to the official's description of (CIA Director George) Tenet's briefing, but it believed with "a high probability" that he would remain there for hours to come -- cloistered with his war council in an isolated private residence in southern Baghdad...In the first hours after hearing Tenet's report, Bush and his senior national security advisers tore up the carefully orchestrated schedule of violence that the U.S. Central Command had honed for months...When Bush signed the launch order at 6:30 p.m., it included a hasty improvisation. The first shots would strike through the roof and walls of an anonymous Baghdad home, and deep beneath it, in hopes of decapitating the Iraqi government in a single blow.