The Corner

The Syria Non-Scandal

Bolton critics lately have made a big deal of his testimony on Syria before a House committee. What is notable about this is that what he said was cleared by the intelligence community. The standard the Democrats are trying to create here is that you can’t question anything intelligence analysts say at any point in the process. If you have your own views on how to interpret the intelligence–because you read so much of it and are so engaged–and have a rigorous back-and-forth with analysts about it, but what you say publicly ultimately reflects the consensus view, apparently you are to be disqualified for higher office.

Here is former intelligence official Jamie Miscik, asked about the Syria flap in her committee interview:

Q:… to the best of your knowledge, was the language that was proposed, in the end, or agreed upon by the IC community, used in the Syria speech?

Ms. Miscik: I think what was ultimately used — and I think it had been delayed –I think this is a — you know, turned into, instead of a couple-of-day process, a couple- of-week process. I think what ultimately was used was agreed to by the intelligence community.

Here is former intelligence official Robert Huthings, also asked about the ultimate result of the Syria controversy in two places:

Q: In the end, Mr. Bolton gave testimony that was cleared by you, is that correct?

Mr. Hutchings: I think that’s right, but I’ve, frankly, forgotten the end game.

Q: But, in the end, though, the — your judgement was that the Syria speech — Syria testimony came out exactly the way it should have.

Mr. Hutchings: Well, I’ve sort of lost track, but I think that what was — what was actually given met the intelligence standards, yes.

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