4,007. 10/1/2002

“[W]hen the Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate of October 1, 2002] in light of evidence that became available after the war, it came to the conclusion that the collective wisdom of the U.S. intelligence community, as represented in the estimate, had been stunningly wrong. ‘Most of the major key judgments [in the NIE] either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting,’ it would find. ‘A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence.’ Moreover, the errors and exaggerations weren’t random, but all pushed in the same direction, toward making the argument that Iraq presented a growing threat. As a political document that made the case for war the NIE of October 2002 succeeded brilliantly. As a professional intelligence product it was shameful. But it did its job, which wasn’t really to assess Iraqi weapons programs but to sell a war. There was only one way to disprove its assertions: invade Iraq, which is what the Bush administration wanted to do. Responsibility for this low point in the history of U.S. intelligence must rest on the shoulders of [CIA Director] George Tenet.”

 – Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco, Pages 52-53

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