There’s a bit of a weird story at CNN right now, reporting that Hillary Clinton (along with nearly every other Senator and Representative who voted for the Iraq War resolution) didn’t read “a key intelligence report before the 2002 vote to authorize war in Iraq.”
Clinton did not read the 90-page, classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, according to “Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
For members of Congress to read the report, they had to go to a secure location on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post reported in 2004 that no more than six senators and a handful of House members were logged as reading the document.
Okay, so bad form from Hillary…and lots of other people. But the singling out of Hillary, who was, according to a spokesperson, “briefed on the intelligence report multiple times,” gets even weirder as the story goes on.
Candidate and then-Sen. John Edwards “read and was briefed on the intelligence” while sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee, a spokesman said. Edwards has called his vote for the 2002 resolution a mistake. Another Democratic candidate, Sen. Joseph Biden, said he read the report.
So, even presidential candidates who read the report voted for the war. Why might that be, one wonders…?
The National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the United States had “compelling evidence” that Iraq was restarting its efforts to develop a nuclear bomb and had concealed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons from U.N. inspectors after the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
…The intelligence report did contain passages that raised questions about the weapons conclusions, said John McLaughlin, then deputy director of the CIA.
“I think if someone read the entire report, they would walk away thinking the intelligence community generally thinks he has weapons of mass destruction, but there are quite a bit of differences,” he said.
Which sounds to me as though the report was pretty much a reflection of the known, public information and the discourse surrounding it at the time: There was lots of consensus, often drawn from speculation rather than evidence, that Saddam had WMDs (which just happened to be the administration’s case for war), and there was a distinct but overwhelmed minority of critics who questioned the conclusions being bandied about as definitive fact. So readers will have to forgive this author if she doesn’t immediately grasp what the particular import of this unread report is meant to be, or what New Thing having left it unread is meant to suggest about a candidate who couldn’t discern same from the ether of the public square in the first place.
Essentially, it boils down to: Hillary didn’t read a report that most voters-for-the-war didn’t read, and those that did mostly voted the same way she did. Wow. Great story.
In other “news,” Bush is still a moron.