Today, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee released the final two sections of its pre-war intelligence report. As Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said, the report concludes “that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.”
In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was dismissive of the report, explaining that President Bush made false statements before the Iraq war simply because he was kept in the dark:
PERINO: That dissent amongst experts within the intelligence community at some level did not reach the president.
In reality, Bush kept himself in the dark. As the report notes, the intelligence reports did contradict the administration’s hawkish statements. In fact, the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002, which the White House used to make the case for war, also included a “clear dissenting views” section:
The Estimate itself expressed the majority view that the program was being reconstituted, but included clear dissenting views from the State Department’s Buerau of Intelligence and Research, which argued that reconstitution was not underway, and the Department of Energy, which argued that aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were probably not intended for a nuclear weapon.
The revelations pour cold water on Bush’s rationale as to why he makes a good wartime leader. In 2007, he said that he is credible as Commander-in-Chief because he “reads” the intelligence:
Q: Can you explain why you believe you’re still a credible messenger on the war?
BUSH: I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David.
“All of the intelligence I looked at…the Congress looked at, said the same thing,” Bush said in 2004. Unfortunately, it seems that Bush only selectively “looked at” the intelligence.