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Whoopie! The Iraq "Intelligence" Report Is Out!
Too bad, says a New York Times editorial, that there was no Thomas Kean on the panel, like there was on the September 11 commission, to battle the White House's stonewalling:

Sadly, there is nothing about the central issue - how the Bush administration handled the intelligence reports on Iraq's weapons programs and presented them to the public to win support for the invasion of Iraq. All we get is an excuse: The panel was "not authorized" to look at this question, so it didn't bother. The report says the panel "interviewed a host of current and former policymakers" about the intelligence on Iraq, but did not "review how policymakers subsequently used that information." (We can just see it - an investigator holding up his hand and declaiming: "Stop right there, Mr. Secretary! We're not authorized to know what you did.")

...The report is right in saying that American claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs were "dead wrong" because the intelligence was old or from dubious sources, and because the analysis was driven by a predetermined conclusion that Saddam was a threat. But we knew that.

The panel said timidly that "it is hard to deny the conclusion that intelligence analysts worked in an environment that did not encourage skepticism about the conventional wisdom." But it utterly ignored the way Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team, and Condoleezza Rice, as national security adviser, created that environment by deciding what the facts were and saying so, repeatedly.

It does not say that these powerful people knew or should have known that there was no new intelligence on Iraq, and that as the intelligence reports were sanitized for the public, the caveats were stripped out. Instead, it loyally maintains the fiction that Bush was just given bum information by incompetent intelligence agents.

Posted by aalkon at April 3, 2005 5:40 AM

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