Saturday, November 12, 2005

White House's Iraq Argument

WaPo President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence. Neither assertion is wholly accurate.

But both are substantially correct.
The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.
Glad you at least admit that.
But Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers,
Not the chair and vice chair of the intelligence committees.
who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.
What about when Clinton was in the White House; he had access to the same things Bush did.
.... But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers.
Considering how much congress leaks, I am happy he does not.
Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.

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