Did Bush have the same intelligence?
No jokes about the title of this post. It has nothing to do with Bush's intelligence, it has to do with intelligence intelligence -- though I know what you're thinking...
As the war began to look more and more quagmire-ish and the polls betrayed public opposition, members of congress began to make hay about having been deceived into voting to give Bush the power to go to war. They were told that there was evidence of this and that (you know this and that: this is WMD and that is Al Qaeda/Saddam operational ties) and that they ought to essentially trust the president.
Yes, we all could've told them that trusting this president was clearly a mistake but...
Bush's retort was that they all had access to the same intelligence, therefore they were deceived into nothing. Case closed. Except. Except Dianne Feinstein (D-deceived), according to Josh Marshall, "asked the non-partisan Congressional Research Service to look into the matter and report back whether or not what the president said is true."
"They reported back today. The verdict: not true."
Here's the opening (emphasis mine):
"By virtue of his constitutional role as commander-and-in-chief and head of the executive branch, the President has access to all national intelligence collected, analyzed and produced by the Intelligence Community. The President's position also affords him the authority - which, at certain times, has been aggressively asserted (1) - to restrict the flow of intelligence information to Congress and its two intelligence committees, which are charged with providing legislative oversight of the Intelligence Community. (2) As a result, the President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President (3) - in contrast to Members of Congress (4) - have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods. They, unlike Members of Congress, also have the authority to more extensively task the Intelligence Community, and its extensive cadre of analysts, for follow-up information. As a result, the President and his most senior advisors arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the Community's intelligence more accurately than is Congress."(TPM)
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