Giving the First Customer a pass

From the Center for American Progress:
A special presidential commission headed by conservative Lawrence Silberman attempted yesterday to absolve the Bush administration for its mismanagement of prewar intelligence, but admitted that analysts "worked in an environment that did not encourage skepticism about the conventional wisdom" and where daily intelligence briefings "seemed to be 'selling' intelligence – in order to keep…the 'First Customer' interested." Largely, the report blames America's spy agencies for intelligence it calls "dead wrong" in the run-up to war with Iraq, sidestepping the larger issue involving the Bush administration's role in that failure. In fact, Silberman did not even interview the president, relying instead on Bob Woodward's book for proof that Bush "did ask tough questions." The report ignores a voluminous body of evidence suggesting the Bush administration blatantly pressured analysts, dismissed conflicting data, and grossly overstated a shaky case in an effort to mislead the American people to war.


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