CIA intelligence not influenced by Bush Administration

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The independent investigation into the intelligence failure accusations has determined that there's no evidence at all that CIA intelligence was affected by any "perceived or actual political pressure" from the Bush Administration. In fact, it doesn't seem as if there's any evidence that there even was such pressure, never mind that it had any effect.

The only thing they're saying about why there might have been such a failure is that they "relied too heavily on outdated, circumstantial intelligence and on information from unreliable informants."

Richard Kerr, head of the CIA wing of the investigation, said "analysts believed that the evidence supported their judgment."

Yet even two days before the Washington Post published this, Kerry was rambling on about how Bush exaggerated (at least he's stopped with the "Bush lied" mantra, though the fact that he ever said it -- with no evidence -- shows his character).

Update: Captains' Log has more: "both investigations have confirmed the obvious. If you read the newspapers from 1991 forward, the intelligence data on WMDs has remained consistent, and in fact the UN and all of its Security Council members have operated from the same understanding of Saddam's weapons programs. Not only has there been no change in the intelligence, there was no change in the conclusions between the Clinton and Bush II administrations: regime change was the only way the WMD question (and Saddam's oppression and aggression) could be resolved. The only difference was in strategy, and that didn't change until after 9/11. Just before that, Bush and Powell were about to roll out a new plan for "smart sanctions" that would more effectively target Saddam's personal and military interests."

As to why the intelligence might have been so off, he offers this: "Two changes in American intelligence strategies contributed to the problem: the Carter administration's insistence on curtailing human intelligence assets and the Clinton administration's order to refuse association with field assets that don't support our human-rights values, as if the people who present a danger to us only associate with Boy Scouts. On top of that, Senator John Kerry led the fight to cut CIA funding in the 1990s as part of the so-called "peace dividend" (see this for an interesting perspective). You can't tie blinders onto a horse and then beat him for wandering off the road."

Instapundit is collecting a number of good links and quotes on the issue. One is to a balanced discussion by Tacitus of imminence in its relation to the Iraqi threat.

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