Some people seem to have missed the Washington Post‘s big article about pre-war intelligence last week. Just to make sure that everybody’s on the same page, here’s the crux of it:
Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers, who were dependent on the administration to provide the material. And the commissions cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions.
Bush asserted that “more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.” Giving a preview of Bush’s speech, Hadley had said that “we all looked at the same intelligence.”
But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President’s Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community’s views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country.
In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE.
There’s much, much more in this piece, but that’s the important bit.
So remember, when somebody says “Congress can’t complain, because they had access to the same intelligence that President Bush did,” you know what to say: “Actually, that’s not true. President Bush had access to a tremendous amount of information that was off-limits to Congress.” And I know you will.