On Friday, President Bush claimed that members of Congress who voted for the 2002 Iraq war resolution “had access to the same intelligence” as his administration. ThinkProgress has published information debunking that claim. Our position was backed up this morning by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS).
Appearing on Fox New Sunday, Chris Wallace asked, “What about this question, Sen. Roberts, about whether or not — the fact is you didn’t get the same intelligence. Is that a legitimate concern?”
Roberts acknowledged: “It may be a concern to some extent.”
Of course, Roberts immediately began to offer caveats. He argued, for instance, that “we had the same information on the aluminum tubes at the time we went to war as the time that we took another look and said, whoa, wait a minute, this isn’t adding up.” In fact, it’s not true that Congress had the same information as the White House on aluminum tubes. As the New York Times explained, of the 15 assessments of the tubes sent to Congress, “not one of them” informed readers that experts within the Energy Department believed the tubes could not be used to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program.
But this critical point should not be obscured: President Bush’s statement on Friday was absolute. Either Congress did or did not have the “same intelligence” as the White House prior to the war. This morning, not even Sen. Pat Roberts — who has led efforts to delay and downplay the need for investigating prewar intelligence — would back him up.
Crooks & Liars has video, or read the full transcript:
WALLACE: What about this question, Sen. Roberts, about whether or not — the fact is you didn’t get the same intelligence. Is that a legitimate concern?
ROBERTS: Well, it may be a concern to some extent. I don’t share Jay’s view that there’s that much difference between the PDBs and the information we get which is very similar to the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. I think what happened, if you read the Robb-Silberman report, that it was repetitive. It was a lot like the “slam dunk” statement by former CIA Director George Tenet, who also believed, I’m sure, that there was an imminent threat. I think that again, you know, this administration looked at the available report by the entire community as we did and said it was a danger to our national security, and they went to war. Now, one of the things that I’d like to point out is that we had the same information on the aluminum tubes at the time we went to war as the time that we took another look and said, whoa, wait a minute, this isn’t adding up. Not only ours, but the British, not only that, but the French, not only that, but the Russians, not only that, but the Israelis. This was a worldwide intelligence failure. And as a result, I think everybody mistakenly believed in that product. If you can’t believe the National Intelligence Estimate of 2002 handed to the Congress, if, in fact, that’s not factual, that’s what we’re trying to do today. We don’t accept this intelligence at face value anymore. We get into preemptive oversight and do digging in regards to our hard targets. That’s the difference between then and now.