Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fixing intelligence

Josh Marshall points to a June 15th, 2003 WaPo article about Wilson's trip to Niger. Marshall's salient point:
    So Wilson didn't say he'd seen the report back to the vice president or that he knew for a fact that one had been sent. He said that he'd been in government long enough to know that this was standard procedure and that he was confident that it had been. And if it had this amounted to an indictment of the administration.

    Only it hadn't. And unlike the question of whether his wife recommended him for the job, this actually is a relevant fact in understanding the story.

    So the question is, why?


    Here in Pincus's reporting -- before the evidentiary and political battle lines were drawn -- is the answer: "Information not consistent with the administration agenda was discarded."

    It never made it back to Cheney's office because it wasn't what Cheney's office wanted to hear. They were looking for evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program, not ambiguous data and certainly not evidence that contradicted the claim.

    In this key respect, the dismissal of the information is displaced from the VP's office to the CIA. And the reason is that they already understood what was wanted and what wasn't.
And on a side note, if there remained any question as to why John Bolton is Cheney's guy, Josh Marshall just helpfully colored in the rest of that picture.

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