Senators Shame Bush Over Prewar Intelligence
The Senate Intelligence Committee has declassified and released two prewar intelligence reports that warned a postwar Iraq could struggle with sectarian violence and might benefit al-Qaida and Iran. Democrats on the panel, along with Republicans Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, criticized the Bush administration for ignoring the prescient warnings.
New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Democrats on a deeply divided Senate Intelligence Committee accused the Bush administration [Friday] of ignoring warnings in 2003 from the nation’s spy agencies that a post-war Iraq could face violence and division and that an invasion could strengthen the hand of Al Qaeda and Iran.
“Sadly, the administration’s refusal to heed these dire warnings, and worse, to plan for them, has led to tragic consequences for which our nation is paying a terrible price,” said Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the Democratic chairman. It was one of many dueling statements accompanying a long-awaited committee report on the spy agencies’ pre-war predictions of the effects of toppling Saddam Hussein.
Republicans replied that the 226-page report exaggerated the prescience of the intelligence agencies. They noted that the 2003 assessments barely mentioned the possibility of a Sunni insurgency — a point the committee’s Democratic majority voted not to include in the text — and were “certainly not a crystal ball.”