Here is the orginial story behind Rumsfled’s memo. His interpretation of the memo is pretty laughable once you read the story, but maybe he was playing for the true believers who just want to believe any story, not matter how implausible.
and later the part being extensively spun now is discussed:
So apparantly even they don’t really believe the pie in the sky pronouncements coming out of the White House on Iraq. Sadly, rather then be pissed about them lying to us about the Iraq situation, I am more relieved that they are not so stupid as to actually believe it themselves. Sure they are two-faced liars, but at least they are not delusional. Its comforting in a way.
The CIA does bear some responsibility but the primary responsibility for the failure lies with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al who put relentless pressure on the CIA to produce the assessments they wanted.
"As long as that remains the case, one question will be asked more and more insistently: How did the American intelligence community get it so wrong?
Part of the answer lies in decisions made early in the Bush Administration, before the events of September 11, 2001. In interviews with present and former intelligence officials, I was told that some senior Administration people, soon after coming to power, had bypassed the government’s customary procedures for vetting intelligence.
A retired C.I.A. officer described for me some of the questions that would normally arise in vetting: “Does dramatic information turned up by an overseas spy square with his access, or does it exceed his plausible reach? How does the agent behave? Is he on time for meetings?” The vetting process is especially important when one is dealing with foreign-agent reports—sensitive intelligence that can trigger profound policy decisions. In theory, no request for action should be taken directly to higher authorities—a process known as “stovepiping”—without the information on which it is based having been subjected to rigorous scrutiny."
“Senior C.I.A. analysts dealing with Iraq were constantly being urged by the Vice-President’s office to provide worst-case assessments on Iraqi weapons issues. “They got pounded on, day after day,” one senior Bush Administration official told me, and received no consistent backup from Tenet and his senior staff. “Pretty soon you say ‘Fuck it.’” And they began to provide the intelligence that was wanted.”
Nice to see Cheney sticking with the big lie no matter how bad the news gets. I fell sorry for all those reservists and guardsmen facing extended service in Iraq now. Too bad their rich daddies can’t get them out of their military obligations to work as campaign workers.