Question - by Helen Thomas:
Q Former Secretary Powell, Colin Powell says that his presentation to the U.N. -- which was obviously full of falsehoods about Iraq's arsenal -- is a blot on his career. I wonder whether the administration takes any responsibility for his statement that led us into war in a big way?What's the Robb-Silberman Commission? Good Question. Here's slice. You can download the whole report if you like, but I am doubtful you will find any fingers pointing at the same things the Downing Street Memo hints toward.
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, accountability has been a priority in this administration. This why the President established the Robb-Silberman Commission, because the intelligence was wrong, and we must make sure we have the best possible intelligence as we move forward to confront the threats of the 21st century. And the Robb-Silberman Commission looked at why the intelligence was wrong, so that we can fix the problems and so that we can make sure we have the best possible intelligence. And that's why we have a Director of National Intelligence now, that's why we've taken --
Q The White House takes no responsibility?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, we took responsibility by acting to fix any problems that were there, and we will do so in this instance, as well.
This failure was in large part the result of analytical shortcomings; intelligence analysts were too wedded to their assumptions about Saddam's intentions. But it was also a failure on the part of those who collect intelligence--CIA's and the Defense Intelligence Agency 's (DIA) spies, the National Security Agency 's (NSA) eavesdroppers, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency 's (NGA) imagery experts.1 In the end, those agencies collected precious little intelligence for the analysts to analyze, and much of what they did collect was either worthless or misleading. Finally, it was a failure to communicate effectively with policymakers; the Intelligence Community didn't adequately explain just how little good intelligence it had--or how much its assessments were driven by assumptions and inferences rather than concrete evidence.Perhaps more importantly, the conclusions suggest that perhaps Iraq was the wrong target in this massive War Against Terror.