Congress doesn’t see same intelligence as president
A nonopartisan congressional research agency report reviewed by Knight Ridder shows that the Bush Administration claims that Congress had access to the same intelligence information as the White House were untrue:
President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than members of Congress do, a nonpartisan congressional research agency said in a report Thursday, raising questions about recent assertions by the president.
Bush has said that Democratic lawmakers who authorized the use of force against Iraq and now criticize the war saw the same pre-invasion intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that he did.
The president made that claim in recent speeches about Iraq. Support for the war has decreased, and critics have said that the administration misled the country when it relied on erroneous intelligence about Iraqi weapons programs that supported its case for war and discarded information that undermined it.
“Some of the most irresponsible comments - about manipulating intelligence - have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein,” Bush said on Wednesday in his most recent speech. “These charges are pure politics.”
The Congressional Research Service, by contrast, said: “The president, and a small number of presidentially designated Cabinet-level officials, including the vice president … have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods.”