In what may be the biggest blunder in the history of U.S. intelligence, American spy agencies were “dead wrong” on Iraq, dealing a blow to American credibility that will take years to undo, and spymasters still know disturbingly little about nuclear programs in countries like Iran and North Korea, a presidential commission reported on Thursday.
A long-standing joke among career soldiers notes the term “military intelligence” is, in fact, an oxymoron. Today, the public learns the same is true for the civilian intelligence community. Forget the finely-honed intelligence operations of Tom Clancy’s works of fiction or the fantasy Central Intelligence Agency portrayed in television and film. Today’s report on the United State’s incredible blunder on Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction shows a bumbling, confused American intelligence apparatus where rumor is presented as fact, information is accepted without verification and truth is discarded when it does not fit pre-conceived notions.
Kofi Annan insists an investigation into the oil-for-food program in Iraq clears him of wrongdoing, but the probe shows that the U.N. secretary-general didn’t do much right either. He was willfully inattentive to the point of negligence to the mounting signs of trouble in the program.
Many Americans are more interested in the movies than in the inner workings of Congress, so when television producer Norman Lear set out to turn public opinion against a Republican plan to block Democrats from filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees, Lear looked to the silver screen.
President Bush’s commission on weapons of mass destruction has found that failures throughout U.S. spy agencies led to botched estimates of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and is recommending dozens of changes to prevent future intelligence breakdowns, government officials say.