As Democrats squawk that the Bush Administration manipulated prewar intelligence about WMD in Iraq—forcing National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley into action yesterday—it’s worth remembering that Democrats, just like their Republican counterparts, came to essentially the same conclusions before the U.S. invaded Iraq.
If Democrats simply took the time to read the reports they helped create, they might not be so aggressive these days attacking President Bush. But that’s probably too optimistic for anyone to expect.
Let’s first have a look at the July 9, 2004, report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the “U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq.” This report was issued by a committee consisting of nine Republicans and eight Democrats.
Conclusion 83 (on Page 284) says this:
“The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities.”
Conclusion 84 (on Page 285) adds:
“The Committee found no evidence that the Vice President’s visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments.
Who are these Democrats who sat the committee, you ask?
Senators John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), John Edwards (N.C.) Barbara Mikulski (Calif.).
In addition to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, there’s also a 600-page report released March 31, 2005, by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Here’s the relevant paragraph (which can be found on Page 188):
“The Commission has found no evidence of "politicization" of the Intelligence Community’s assessments concerning Iraq’s reported WMD programs. No analytical judgments were changed in response to political pressure to reach a particular conclusion. The Commission has investigated this issue closely, querying in detail those analysts involved in formulating pre-war judgments about Iraq’s WMD programs.”
It should be noted that this commission was actually headed by a Democrat: former Sen. Chuck Robb of Virginia, who was co-chairman.
Why have the Democrats changed their tune? Maybe because they know the mainstream media won’t call them on it.