March 29, 2005

HAVE THEY EVER GOTTEN ANYTHING RIGHT?:

Panel's Report Assails C.I.A. for Failure on Iraq Weapons (DAVID E. SANGER and SCOTT SHANE, 3/29/05, NY Times)

The final report of a presidential commission studying American intelligence failures regarding illicit weapons includes a searing critique of how the C.I.A. and other agencies never properly assessed Saddam Hussein's political maneuverings or the possibility that he no longer had weapon stockpiles, according to officials who have seen the report's executive summary.

The report also proposes broad changes in the sharing of information among intelligence agencies that go well beyond the legislation passed by Congress late last year that set up a director of national intelligence to coordinate action among all 15 agencies.

Those recommendations are likely to figure prominently in April in the confirmation hearings of John D. Negroponte, whom President Bush has nominated to be national intelligence director and who is about to move to the center of the campaign against terror.

The report particularly singles out the Central Intelligence Agency under its former director, George J. Tenet, but also includes what one senior official called "a hearty condemnation" of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

The unclassified version of the report, which is more than 400 pages long, devotes relatively little space to North Korea and Iran, the two nations now posing the largest potential nuclear challenge to the United States and its allies.


Perhaps the one thing Left and Right can agree on is that intelligence reports can't be the basis for war.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2005 1:48 PM
Comments

How shocking, a gigantic state monopoly fails to deliver the goods. What next; state school systems producing idiots, national health systems creating cadavers, the people's ball bearing plant making ogival pellets? We need a big man to fix this, but I think Robert Reich is available.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 29, 2005 2:35 PM

Without the pretense of the WMD intelligence reports, I don't think Bush would have won the support needed for Iraq. I don't believe the WMDs were the primary reason for our invasion no matter the statements to the contrary. Preemptive war to impose democracy without the cover of intelligence reports of a "grave and growing threat", faulty or not, seems unlikely.

Posted by: Pat H at March 29, 2005 2:43 PM

"We need a big man to fix this, but I think Robert Reich is available."

Not your typical big man!

Posted by: oswald booth czolgosz at March 29, 2005 3:11 PM

Pat:

W was going to finish Dad's business even if Saddam became a Quaker.

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2005 5:28 PM

oj, I believe that was a primary goal, but would he have sent in the troops without the pre-war vote in the congress? And without the intelligence on WMD, could he have won the vote? Of course, he could have probably gone in without political cover, taken out Saddam, and then got out without sticking around to nation-build. Now, that would be an interesting alternative history tale, but I'm glad we aren't in that situation.

Posted by: Pat H at March 29, 2005 9:28 PM

Pat:

The Senate vote preceded the WMD hype, which was largely for the benefit of Blair and Powell who wanted the UN to approve.

Posted by: oj at March 29, 2005 9:51 PM
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