- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

In November, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid accused the Bush administration of having been “engaged in a pattern of manipulation of the facts and retribution against anyone who had gotten in its way as it made its case for attacking, for invading Iraq.” Our daily feature, “History lessons,” began shortly thereafter, as a way to counter this disingenuous charge and remind those making it not only of their previous assessments of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, but also of previous administrations’ assessments. We close “History lessons” today with excerpts from two bipartisan reports absolving the president and his staff of these opportunistic accusations.

• Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, July 9, 2004: “The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities.”

• Committee on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (Robb-Silberman), March 31, 2005: “The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community’s pre-war assessments of Iraq’s weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of the report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments.”

The committees were clear, as is the historical record, which we have attempted to document in this space for nearly five months. The political landscape has changed much in that time, with polls indicating that Democrats could retake control of Congress. What have not changed are the facts. Let that be a reminder to the selfish and the powerful who would alter the chronicle of human events to serve their own fleeting ends.

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