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Wednesday, July 21, 2004


From the Scotsman:
David Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group, said the reports of the Butler Inquiry and the Senate Intelligence Committee in America, together painted a picture of a "broken" system for intelligence gathering and assessment.

"I think they are a scathing indictment," he said in an interview for ITV1’s Jonathan Dimbleby programme.

"I think they are a picture of a broken system on both sides of the Atlantic, for collecting intelligence, for analysing it and finally for sending it forward to policy makers and to the public.

Mr Kay, who was hand-picked by the CIA to head the Iraq Survey Group, said that because US and UK policy on Iraq was based on WMD, analysts had been too ready to accept evidence that Iraq had banned weapons while being over-critical of evidence which suggested that they did not.

"What really happened for the analysts is they had two levels of evidence," he said.

"Anything that would confirm WMD in Iraq – very little scrutiny. Anything that showed Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, had a much higher gate to pass because if it were true, all of US policy towards Iraq would have fallen asunder.

"I think what you have in both the Senate Report and in the Butler Commission Report is a disturbing merger of the lines between intelligence, whose real role was to speak truth to power, and power whose real role is to influence the public to do the course of action that they’ve decided upon.

"That line blurred and blurred on both sides of the Atlantic with regard to Iraq."

He said that Mr Blair and Mr Bush should both have realised that the intelligence they were being presented with did not support the claims that Iraq actually had weapons.

"I think the Prime Minister as I would say the US President should have been able to tell before the war that the evidence did not exit for drawing the conclusion that Iraq presented a clear, present and imminent threat on the basis of existing weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"That was not something that required a war and inspectors like myself going in if you’d fairly interpreted the evidence that existed."

He said that the two leaders may not have been sufficiently critical of the intelligence because they had a “multitude” of other reasons for going to war.

"WMD was only one and I think in their mind, not really the most important one. And so the doubts about the evidence on weapons of mass destruction was not as serious to them as it seemed to be to the rest of the world," he said.
I remember last year, in a press conference or something, Bush told the press that we'd learn the truth about WMD's when Kay had finished his investigation. But I searched the White House web site and my own archives for the quote, and couldn't find it. If you have a link, please e-mail it to me.

It will be interesting to see Safire and the other Bush apologists try to spin THIS Kay statement like they have all the others. He is rejecting the argument that the Brits knew more, rejecting the argument that it's all the fault of the CIA, rejecting the argument that Bush still has a leg to stand on.

The one thing missing--he failed to note that Congress, as well, including Senators Kerry and Edwards, "should both have realised that the intelligence they were being presented with did not support the claims that Iraq actually had weapons." Of course, judging by the statements Kay made when he started his search for the end of the WMD rainbow, he believed the same "intelligence." But I can't really be critical of Kay. I myself never believed that he would be anywhere near this blunt in his assessment, no matter how much he didn't find. He was given a job to do, knew what results were expected, but decided to actually do the job and tell the truth about it anyway.

What little hope I have left is based on the shaky belief that there are several honorable Republicans still in the Bush administration, as well as a few in the Senate (and maybe one or two in the House), who will finally blow a whistle big enough and loud enough to stop their game.

[Update 3:46 pm] Al Giordano tells a story about one of the Republicans in the House who is calling it quits--maybe he'll blow the whistle a bit on his way out.