There's a good article appearing in the New York Times that follows the discussion of the CIA and questions about the intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. Much of this information parallels a discussion that Carol and I had with James Woolsey, the former Clinton CIA Director, and a table of about 8 other people.
There is much debate at this time over the intelligence that lead the Congress to approve of the administration's call to invade Iraq. No matter what your position on the invasion, everyone should be concerned about what today's situation says about the state of our intelligence gathering system.
Unfortunately, recent articles indicate that the Bush administration is unwilling to set up an independent investigation into the CIA reports, so it will take some more pressure before that comes about. As with the September 11 probe, I throughly expect a probe to be started and that the administration will cooperate minimally with it. Unfortunately, the habit that George II's insiders have gotten into is a circle-the-wagons approach to every problem.
It is becoming clear by recent testimony from the former chief arms inspector for the US in Iraq that the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that were believed to be in existence were not there by the time the troops got to Baghdad. It is also clear that the nuclear efforts had not progressed as far as the CIA thought they had.
However, there's still a lot of information around that indicates that the CIA was honest in their beliefs about the possibility of the weapons at the time. In fact, Mr. Woolsey stated on Wednesday that he believed the primary problem with the assessment was one of volume, not one of existence. He believes that the chemical and biological programs existed, but hadn't created much output or that the output was moved (possibly to Syria) before the war or destroyed at the beginning of the war.
In any case, the Bush administration is going to have to suffer through the chickens coming home to roost on this issue, because whether the intelligence was right or wrong and whether they lied or not, the administration led the country into a war and the weapons were not found.