Bush tried to rewrite history yesterday by
the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power"
Today in the
Washington Post, we find out he stretched the truth on that line.
President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of
the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw
the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that
independent commissions have determined that the administration did not
misrepresent the intelligence.
Neither assertion is wholly accurate.
The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies
overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,
and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this
belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties
were emphatic and certain in their public statements.
But 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