The Corner

Not Paying Attention & Intellectual Lethargy

That’s basically Tenet’s story on Iraq WMD and the 2002 NIE. He says this (page 322):

In hindsight, even though policy makers were not showing much curiosity, that was the time we should have initiated a new series of analytical reports on Iraqi WMD and other issues regarding the implications of conflict in Iraq. This was my responsibility. But back then, I was consumed with al-Qa’ida—the people really trying to kill us–and I didn’t pay enough attention to another gathering storm.

And this (page 322):

I reluctantly agreed and on September 12, 2002, directed the National Intelligence Council staff to initiate a crash project to produce an NIE on the “status of and outlook for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs.” The NIE was to answer two key questions on nuclear weapons: Did Saddam have them, and if not, when could he get them? I expected no surprises.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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