Monday, July 05, 2004

In Langley's Fall, We Sinned All 

Now we feel bad, because we -- and the millions of other who were marching in the streets with us -- had figured out exactly the same thing, and we didn't yell loud enough for the administration to hear us either. From the NY Times:
The Central Intelligence Agency was told by relatives of Iraqi scientists before the war that Baghdad's programs to develop unconventional weapons had been abandoned, but the C.I.A. failed to give that information to President Bush, even as he publicly warned of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's illicit weapons, according to government officials.

The existence of a secret prewar C.I.A. operation to debrief relatives of Iraqi scientists — and the agency's failure to give their statements to the president and other policymakers — has been uncovered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The panel has been investigating the government's handling of prewar intelligence on Iraq's unconventional weapons and plans to release a wide-ranging report this week on the first phase of its inquiry. The report is expected to contain a scathing indictment of the C.I.A. and its leaders for failing to recognize that the evidence they had collected did not justify their assessment that Mr. Hussein had illicit weapons.

C.I.A. officials, saying that only a handful of relatives made claims that the weapons programs were dead, play down the significance of the information collected in the secret debriefing operation. That operation is one of a number of significant disclosures by the Senate investigation. The Senate report, intelligence officials say, concludes that the agency and the rest of the intelligence community did a poor job of collecting information about the status of Iraq's weapons programs, and that analysts at the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies did an even worse job of writing reports that accurately reflected the information they had.
Clarity! Clarity! In future, Strunk & White will be mandatory reading for each and every agency trainee. Words of more than two syllables, we should add, will be aggressively discouraged.

UPDATE: For those readers, friends, relatives, pets, etc., who complain that they can't always tell when we're joking, and even when they can they can't tell what we're joking about, Josh Marshall explains the whole thing. Only less obliquely.

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us