A new round of partisan finger-pointing over who's to blame for misjudging prewar Iraq erupted Friday, as the top Democrat on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee said the panel's Republican chairman was trying to make the CIA the fall guy to deflect criticism from the White House.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing a report evaluating why U.S. intelligence about the threat that Saddam Hussein's Iraq posed to U.S. interests exaggerated the severity of the threat. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the panel's chairman, was quoted Friday as saying the White House was served badly by the CIA, which provided "sloppy" prewar intelligence.
Sen. John "Jay" Rockefeller, D-W.Va., responded Friday by saying that Roberts was trying to "lay all of this out on the intelligence community and never get to any other branches of government; in particular the White House and associated high and visible government agencies."
A senior administration official, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, said Roberts' CIA comments were issued with Cheney's encouragement. The official said Cheney is trying to shift the blame for the lack of progress in Iraq, which is becoming an issue in next year's presidential and congressional elections, from the White House to the CIA. The Roberts aide denied that encouraged Roberts to criticize the CIA.
And Roberts is now saying the WaPo mischaracterized him....
Anyway, I'm really a bit confused by this whole strategy. It seems to be that they're trying to claim that the CIA talked them into going to war while simultaneously saying that they were absolutely correct in their decision to go to war.