The OSP is the brainchild of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who set it up after the 2001 terrorist attacks. It was tasked with going over old ground on Iraq and showing that the CIA had overlooked the threat posed. But its rise has caused massive ructions in the normally secretive world of intelligence gathering.
The OSP reports directly to Paul Wolfowitz, a leading hawk in the administration. They bypassed the CIA and the Pentagon's own Defence Intelligence Agency when it came to whispering in the President's ear. They argued a forceful case for war against Saddam before his weapons programmes came to fruition. More moderate voices in the CIA and DIA were drowned out. The result has been a flurry of leaks to the US press. One CIA official described The Cabal's members as 'crazed', on a 'mission from God'.