President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader ranger of intelligence reports than members of Congress, a nonpartisan congressional research agency said in a Dec. 15 report.
The 14-page document contradicts the empty conservative spin that the Bush Administration and its cohorts in the conservative noise machine have offered as a defense against critics who suggest the administration cherry-picked information to make its case for the Iraq war.
“Some of the most irresponsible comments – about manipulating intelligence – have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein,” Bush said on Wednesday. “These charges are pure politics.”
Because Democrats have long disputed that spin, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, requested the Congressional Research Service report.
As Democrats had argued, the CRS found: “The president, and a small number of presidentially designated Cabinet-level officials, including the vice president … have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods. … As a result, the president and his most senior advisers arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the … intelligence more accurately than is Congress.”
The CRS report identified nine key US intelligence “products” that aren’t generally shared with Congress. These include the President’s Daily Brief, a compilation of analysesiven only to the president and a handful of top aides, and a daily digest on terrorism-related matters.
If only this report had been made available during last year’s presidential campaign. …