McClellan: White House Officials Blocked Intelligence Report, ‘Continue To Bury Their Heads In The Sand’

Yesterday, former press secretary Scott McClellan appeared on MSNBC’s Countdown to discuss last week’s Senate Intelligence Report, which found that the White House “built the public case for war against Iraq by exaggerating available intelligence and by ignoring disagreements among spy agencies about Iraq’s weapons programs and Saddam Hussein’s links to al Qaeda.” McClellan accused White House officials of having their “heads in the sand” and said they tried to block the committee’s investigation:

The White House never wanted to have the way the case was made, the way the intelligence was used to sell the war to the American people looked into by Congress. This was delayed for quite some time and Senator Rockefeller pushed this forward to get to the truth. And, the White House can continue to bury their heads in the sand but the reality is still the same.

I think the American people see it for exactly what it is. … We came to the very same conclusion that the intelligence was used in a way to make the threat sound more grave and urgent and serious than it was.

Watch it:

Before January 2007, the Senate Intelligence Committee was headed by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who used his position to delay, block, and stonewall the release of Phase II of the report:

“That [the Phase II report] is basically on the back burner.” [UPI, 3/10/05]

“I don’t think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further.” [U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 3/31/05]

“To go though that exercise, it seems to me, in a post-election environment — we didn’t see how we could do that and achieve any possible progress. I think everybody pretty well gets it.” [U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 3/31/05]

Current Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) said the committee faced “constant” pressure from Vice President Cheney to delay the report, and Roberts and his allies went “along with the administration.”