WSJ – United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: Report on pre-Iraq war Intelligence

Let’s, for a minute, pretend that there were no underlying political agendas involved in making a decision to take United States into war with Iraq and that the decision was solely made on intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.  This Wall Street Journal article summarizes only a few conclusions out of a 500-page report that was prepared by United States Senate Select Committee, most of which critical of intelligence gathering efforts before the invasion of Iraq.

This report suggests that the Intelligence Community (IC), which consists of 16 separate government agencies-including intelligence agencies, military agencies and civilian intelligence-that work separately and together to conduct intelligence necessary to protect national security, came to a collective presumption that Iraq had an active and growing WMD program.

The presumption was caused because the Intelligence Community managers had to fail to effectively supervise their analysts to encourage them to challenge their assumptions and to consider ALL alternatives.  Therefore, each member of the Intelligence Community had chosen the first satisfactory alternative that seemed good enough.  An alternative that suggested the worse case scenario was not only probable but a fact; and the fact was that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed WMD and was actively growing its WMD program.

The intelligence agencies had relied heavily on the United Nations weapon inspection that was done before 1998 to come with this “fact” and because their conclusion was a collective effort between 16 different agencies there seemed to be no reason for the Director of National Intelligence and the President to question their intelligence.

This report puts majority of the fault on US Intelligence agencies and the methods they used to collect the intelligence.  In my opinion, there should have been more double-loop thinking during conducting this report to see what made 16 different agencies to chose the first alternative as basis for their ultimate decision and why the executives did not require all these agencies to go back and track their steps to make sure no mistakes were made in collecting the intelligence that ultimately had such a huge role in getting us into this war.  Could it possibly have had to do anything with underlying political agendas of the government to have more than one reason-security of the country-to invade Iraq?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that the administration, in general, had a negative bias towards Iraq, which led them to believe the worse case scenario?


~ by aliahmadian on March 24, 2010.

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