One of the big questions about our president is how much he knows about anything. He seems to prefer to make his decisions on the basis of simple one-page summaries of the evidence, a method which obviously gives control of policy to whomever it is that prepares the summary. However, the Senate Intelligence Committee was unable to get a copy of the briefing on the basis of which we invaded Iraq.
The most recent Bush administration excuse — “It’s the CIA’s fault!” — lies perilously close to an admission that our President is refusing to do his homework.
BUSH REFUSES TO RELEASE ONE-PAGE SUMMARY OF PRE-WAR IRAQ CLAIMS
The New York Times reports today, “The White House and the Central Intelligence Agency have refused to give the Senate Intelligence Committee a one-page summary of prewar intelligence in Iraq prepared for President Bush that contains few of the qualifiers and none of the dissents spelled out in longer intelligence reviews, according to Congressional officials. [NYT, 7/14/04]” (Reuters version)
BUSH AND RICE DID NOT READ THE NIE.
A senior administration official who briefed reporters in July 2003 said neither Bush nor national security adviser Condoleezza Rice read the NIE in its entirety. “They did not read footnotes in a 90-page document,” said the official, referring to the “Annex” that contained the State Department’s dissent. The official conducting the briefing rejected reporters’ entreaties to allow his name to be used, arguing that it was his standard procedure for such sessions to be conducted anonymously. [Washington Post, 7/19/03] (Boston Globe version).
(Note: I recently started getting press releases from the Kerry campaign, some of which I will reprint or excerpt here. Be it noted that Seeing the Forest is completely independent and mostly self-funded, with a little help from advertisers).