The New York Times has called out the neocons.
The last thing this country needs as it heads into this election season is another attempt to push the intelligence agencies to hype their conclusions about the threat from a Middle Eastern state.
That’s what happened in 2002, when the administration engineered a deeply flawed document on Iraq that reshaped intelligence to fit President Bush’s policy. And history appeared to be repeating itself this week, when the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, released a garishly illustrated and luridly written document that is ostensibly dedicated to “helping the American people understand” that Iran’s fundamentalist regime and its nuclear ambitions pose a strategic threat to the United States.
It’s hard to imagine that Mr. Hoekstra believes there is someone left in this country who does not already know that. But the report obviously has different aims. It is partly a campaign document, a product of the Republican strategy of scaring Americans into allowing the G.O.P. to retain control of Congress this fall. It fits with the fearmongering we’ve heard lately — like President Bush’s attempt the other day to link the Iraq war to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But even more worrisome, the report seems intended to signal the intelligence community that the Republican leadership wants scarier assessments that would justify a more confrontational approach to Tehran. It was not the work of any intelligence agency, or the full intelligence panel, or even the subcommittee that ostensibly drafted it. The Washington Post reported that it was written primarily by a former C.I.A. official known for his view that the assessments on Iran are not sufficiently dire….
If the Republicans who control Congress really wanted a full-scale assessment on the state of Iran’s weapons programs, they would have asked for one, rather than producing this brochure.
The nation cannot afford to pay the price again for politicians’ bending intelligence or bullying the intelligence agencies to suit their ideology.
It’s not just the blogs watching you any longer, Fred Fleitz. And Dick Cheney can take his desire for pre-fab intel and shove it. Never play politics with national security — especially when your record on the subject is an abysmal failure, filled with lies and half-truths.
What does President Bush think about all of this? Who the hell knows, he’s on vacation…again.
UPDATE: You can e-mail the NYTimes editorial board and thank them for following up here: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thanks to *ilson for finding the e-mail addy for me.)
(Reader "LR" sent me an e-mail, giving me a heads up that this wasn’t an original — but it comes from Cj at Worth1000.com. Wanted to give credit where it was due — and that will teach me to not double-check on an image I receive in my e-mail.)