In an interview with Politco and Yahoo!, President George W. Bush responded to a question on whether or not he felt he was misled about Iraq in the build-up to the Iraq war.
`Misled’ is a strong word. Not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was. Do I think somebody lied to me? No, I don’t. I think it was just, you know, they analyzed the situation and came up with the wrong conclusion.
Now, let’s consider this quote from W. Patrick Lang’s article “Drinking the Kool-Aid” which appeared in Middle East Policy,
The overwhelming view within the professional U.S. intelligence community was (and is) that there was no Saddam Hussein link to the 9/11 terrorists.
Let me also remind you that when the Administration had trouble finding WMD evidence and connections to terrorists they created their own intelligence group to find the non-existant evidence. The Office of Special Plans was created from the Iraq desk of Near East and South Asain affairs in the Pentagon to take on this task and reported directly to Vice President Cheney’s office. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski who served in NESA had this to say about the OSP’s intelligence gathering tactics,
At the OSP, what they were doing was looking at all the intelligence they could find on WMD. That was the focal point, picking bits and pieces that were the most inflammatory, removing any context that might have been provided in the original intelligence report, that would have caused you to have some pause in believing it or reflected doubts that the intelligence community had, so if the intelligence community had doubts, those would be left out. . . . They would take items that had occurred many years ago, and put them in the present tense, make it seem like they occurred not many years ago . . . . But they would not talk about the dates; they would say things like, ‘He has continued since that time’ and ‘He could do it tomorrow,’ which of course, wasn’t true. . . .The other thing they would do would be to take unrelated events that were reported in totally unrelated ways and make connections that the intelligence community had not made. This was primarily in discussing Iraq’s activities and how they might be related to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups that might be against us, or against Israel. . . . These kinds of links would be made. They would be made casually, and they would be made in a calculated way to form an image that is definitely not the image that anyone reading the original reports would have. The summaries that we would see from Intelligence did not match the kinds of things that OSP was putting out. So that is what I call propaganda development. It goes beyond the manipulation of intelligence to propaganda development.
So Georgie, you’re disappointed in the intelligence you created?