Tenet delivered the NIE requested by Durbin at the beginning of October 2002. Its key judgments included that Iraq "is reconstituting its nuclear program," "had chemical and biological weapons" and was developing unmanned aerial vehicles "probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents," and that "all key aspects -- research and development (R&D), production and weaponization -- of Iraq's offensive biological weapons (BW) program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War."
Two months later, according to Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack," Tenet sat in the Oval Office and twice emphatically told President Bush it was a "slam dunk" Iraq had WMDs.
Did Tenet and his CIA lie to Congress about Iraq to help President Bush deceive Sen. Clinton and other Democrats into voting for war? Did he lie to Bush?
On March 31, the presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, chaired by former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia and senior federal appellate court judge Laurence Silberman, published its report. It concluded the judgments about Iraq's WMD programs in the October 2002 NIE were "all wrong." However, it also concluded, after "querying in detail those analysts involved in formulating pre-war judgments about Iraq's WMD programs," that "(t)hese analysts universally assert that in no instance did political pressure cause them to change any of their analytical judgments."
The CIA ombudsman for politicization, the commission reported, "also found no evidence, based on numerous confidential interviews with the analysts involved, that political pressure had caused any analyst to change any judgments."
The intelligence committee's unanimous report likewise concluded: "The committee did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities."
Reasonable people could and did disagree on whether it was wise to invade Iraq. President Bush and Sen. Clinton, relying on the same intelligence, happened to agree.
But reasonable people can draw only one conclusion now on the argument advanced by some of Sen. Clinton's Democratic colleagues that President Bush lied America into war. It is simply preposterous.
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