Tuesday, May 24

Iraq: The Intelligence Story

Courtesy of the Center for American Progress:

War In Iraq: The Intelligence Story

War In Iraq: The Intelligence Story

For months the American people have raised questions about why the Bush administration, which went to war to pre-empt an "imminent threat," has not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Over the last two weeks, those questions have mounted – rapidly – following comments of former chief weapons inspector David Kay ("we were all wrong") and CIA Director George Tenet ("[analysts] never said there was an 'imminent' threat"). In an attempt to turn the tide of public opinion, President Bush appeared on Meet the Press to convince the American people that he built the case for war on what he considered to be good intelligence – intelligence he is now learning was faulty. He recently established a commission to investigate intelligence about Iraq and, more broadly, the war on terrorism. What is the real intelligence story? Read more to find out.

Examining the Intelligence

CIA 'never said there was an imminent threat', by George Tenet, February 5, 2004
I have come here today to talk to you and to the American people about something important to our nation and central to our future: how the United States intelligence community evaluated Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs over the past decade, leading to a national intelligence estimate in October of 2002.

Q & A with Congresswoman Jane Harman, February 12, 2004
In an implicit – and long-awaited – admission of error, President Bush last week announced the establishment of a commission to examine the intelligence in the case of Iraq and more broadly on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Q & A with Steven Simon: The British Approach, February 11, 2004
Steven Simon, a senior analyst at the Rand Corporation and former assistant director for U.S. Security Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, discusses how the political pressure on British Prime Minister Tony Blair to launch a corresponding inquiry became "irresistible."

What George T. Said to George W., by P.J. Crowley, February 11, 2004
With one sentence during a very direct, factual and effective speech on Thursday at Georgetown University, CIA Director George Tenet put the Iraq monkey squarely on the back of George W. Bush.

After a Crisis, Bush is no Reagan, by Lawrence J. Korb, February 11, 2004
In this LA Times op-ed, American Progress Senior Fellow Lawrence J. Korb says that if "Bush really wants to emulate Reagan, he ought to follow the former president's approach to handling foreign policy disasters."

President Bush has appointed a nine-member commission to investigate intelligence about Iraq and more broadly the war on terrorism. For the biographical information of commission members, click here.

Interpreting the Administration's Record

Then and Now: Heeding, Then Ignoring Intel Warnings on Weak WMD Evidence, February 3, 2004
Despite the administration's best efforts to blame the intelligence community for the failure to find WMD, the intelligence community repeatedly warned the White House that the President's WMD case for war was weak.

In Their Own Words, Iraq's 'Imminent' Threat, January 29, 2004
The Bush administration is now saying it never told the public that Iraq was an "imminent" threat, and therefore it should be absolved for overstating the case for war and misleading the American people about Iraq's WMD.

Neglecting Intelligence, Ignoring Warnings, January 28, 2004
Former weapons inspector David Kay now says Iraq probably did not have WMD before the war, a major blow to the Bush administration which used the WMD argument as the rationale for war.

For further discussion of prewar intelligence assessments and how the administration used those assessments to make the case for war, click here.

Talking About the Issue

Pentagon Funding Phony Intelligence, March 11, 2004
Just days after CIA director George Tenet told Congress about his multiple interventions to correct false and misleading statements by the Bush administration prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, American taxpayers learn the Pentagon is channeling $340,000 per month for "intelligence collection" to Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

Administration Exposed on Bogus Use of Intelligence, March 10, 2004
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, CIA director George Tenet exposed the Bush administration's misleading statements on the use of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

No WMD But Plenty of Chaos, March 2, 2004
In one of the deadliest days in Iraq since the start of the war last spring, the Ashoura religious festival was rocked today by six separate attacks in Karbala and at least three in Baghdad aimed at Shiite shrines and areas packed with religious pilgrims.

Failing to Learn from Intelligence Mistakes, February 24, 2004
As CIA Director George Tenet prepares to brief lawmakers on the state of worldwide threats today, the American public deserves to know what the Bush administration has learned from the two gigantic intelligence mishaps on its watch – the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the failure to find biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons in Iraq.

The Blame Game Continues: Intelligence and the 1990s, February 18, 2004
In an unsuccessful effort to rally public support for the war in Iraq, supporters of the Bush administration are again trying to divert attention from the real causes for the war and resort to the tactic of "blame someone else."

Stonewalling on Intelligence Failures, February 3, 2004
President Bush offered a welcome announcement yesterday that he will appoint a bipartisan commission to examine American intelligence gathering. But the devil is in the details.

Passing the Buck, January 29, 2004
The Bush administration's strategy for addressing questions about the war in Iraq is now clear – shift the blame for prewar failures to the intelligence community and claim the war was justified regardless of any solid evidence of an imminent threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

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