Intelligence

From page 208 of America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 911 the Misunderstood Years Between the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Start of the War on Terror by Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier:

Some officials recall having reasons to second-guess what they were reading and hearing. “Up until Desert Fox, I believed that [Saddam] had WMD,” says Anthony Zinni, the Marine general who commanded the air assault and who emerged as a leading skeptic of calls to overthrow the Iraqi government. “Then Clinton said we would bomb the WMD sides. I asked the intelligence community for the targets, but they couldn’t give me any. Nothing they gave me was definitively a WMD target. They were all dual-use. That’s when my doubts began.”

One reason the Bush administration was able to get away with massively over-interpreting the Iraq/WMD intelligence is that they weren’t exactly the first administration to do so, they built upon earlier trends in questionable analysis. Of course things got even worse later. Inspectors from UNMOVIC and the IAEA were back on the ground in Iraq, saying their findings didn’t confirm American suspicions. The administration pushed back. So UNMOVIC and the IAEA sensibly asked the Americans to share intel with them and they’d check out whatever leads Bush wanted them to check out. But there were no leads to check out! The press not only managed to completely ignore this, but to continues ignoring the fact that this ever happened up until this very day.