Pentagon Report Shows Misleading Intelligence Used to Justify War

A report from the Pentagon’s inspector general provides further evidence that intelligence was manipulated by the Bush administration to justify going to war. The Washington Post reports:

Intelligence provided by former undersecretary of defense Douglas J. Feith to buttress the White House case for invading Iraq included “reporting of dubious quality or reliability” that supported the political views of senior administration officials rather than the conclusions of the intelligence community, according to a report by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, plans further review:

“The bottom line is that intelligence relating to the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship was manipulated by high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense to support the administration’s decision to invade Iraq,” Levin said yesterday. “The inspector general’s report is a devastating condemnation of inappropriate activities in the DOD policy office that helped take this nation to war.”

Information provided in media accounts give indications that the reports used to justify going to war were not reliable, especially considering the high burden of evidence which should be required before invading a country:

Feith’s office, it said, drew on “both reliable and unreliable” intelligence reports in 2002 to produce a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq “that was much stronger than that assessed by the IC [Intelligence Community] and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the Administration.”

It stated that the office produced intelligence assessments “inconsistent” with the U.S. intelligence community consensus, calling those actions “inappropriate” because the assessments purported to be “intelligence products” but were far more conclusive than the consensus view.

Reports do say that these actions were not illegal. Most likely there is no law preventing the preparation of reports at the direction of those higher in the administration. The real question is the responsibility of those who requested such reports and used them to mislead Congress and the country into going to war. The question is not whether this is illegal, but whether it is an impeachable offense. It certainly sounds worse than inappropriate sexual acts in the oval office.

Update: Washington Post Issues Correction to Story on Pentagon IG Report

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