Congress Did Not Have “The Same Intelligence” As The White House

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Duncan nails it:

I think that the recent statements of Stephen Hadley are really all we need to put the final nail in the coffin of the Bush adminsitration’s credibility on anything. These people are just quite literally loathsome.

Hadley argues that Democrats had the same intelligence because "parts of" the NIE[National Intelligence Estimate] "had been made public."

Right, and the parts of the NIE which weren’t made public were the parts which suggested that the parts which were made public were full of shit.

Any talking head who overlooks this fact to try to claim that "democrats had the same intelligence as Republicans" is just completely full of shit. They only the had the bits that made their case, not the bits which took away from it.

And people question my patriotism?

Matt Yglesius provides the supporting facts regarding the NIE.  An excerpt:

[Democratic Senators] Graham and Durbin had been demanding for more than a month that the CIA produce an NIE on the Iraqi threat–a summary of the available intelligence, reflecting the judgment of the entire intelligence community–and toward the end of September, it was delivered. Like Tenet’s earlier letter, the classified NIE was balanced in its assessments. Graham called on Tenet to produce a declassified version of the report that could guide members in voting on the resolution. Graham and Durbin both hoped the declassified report would rebut the kinds of overheated claims they were hearing from administration spokespeople. As Durbin tells TNR, "The most frustrating thing I find is when you have credible evidence on the intelligence committee that is directly contradictory to statements made by the administration."

On October 1, 2002, Tenet produced a declassified NIE. But Graham and Durbin were outraged to find that it omitted the qualifications and countervailing evidence that had characterized the classified version and played up the claims that strengthened the administration’s case for war. For instance, the intelligence report cited the much-disputed aluminum tubes as evidence that Saddam "remains intent on acquiring" nuclear weapons. And it claimed, "All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program"–a blatant mischaracterization.

Think Progress also has an excellent rundown of important difference between the classified NIE and the declassified NIE.

Other examples abound, i.e., this NYT report from 10/3/04 (emphasis added):

From April 2001 to September 2002, the agency wrote at least 15 reports on the tubes. Many were sent only to high-level policy makers, including President Bush, and did not circulate to other intelligence agencies. None have been released, though some were described in the Senate’s report.

But several Congressional and intelligence officials with access to the 15 assessments said not one of them informed senior policy makers of the Energy Department’s dissent. They described a series of reports, some with ominous titles, that failed to convey either the existence or the substance of the intensifying debate.