Why hasn’t the Downing Street Memo garnered more attention in the mainstream media? It claims that intelligence regarding WMDs in Iraq was being “fixed around” the Bush Administration’s desire to go to war in Iraq. Doesn’t the memo prove that Bush lied to take us to war?
James S. Robbins of the American Foreign Policy Council shows why (see here). Here are the crucial paragraphs:
“Dearlove’s comments include the intriguing passage noted above, ‘Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.’ To the president’s critics, the meaning is clear — the WMD intelligence was being faked to support the rationale for intervention.
“This passage needs some clarification. Maybe Rycroft or Dearlove could elaborate; by ‘fixed around’ did they mean that intelligence was being falsified or that intelligence and information were being gathered to support the policy? There is nothing wrong with the latter — it is the purpose of the intelligence community to provide the information decision-makers need, and the marshal their resources accordingly.
“But if Dearlove meant the former, he should be called upon to substantiate his charge. It can be weighed against the exhaustive investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on prewar intelligence assessments in Iraq. The committee examined this very question, whether the White House had pressured the intelligence community to reach predetermined conclusions supporting the case for war. The investigation found no evidence that ‘administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities’ or that ‘the Vice President’s visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments.’ One would think that the Senate investigation would have somewhat more weight than the secondhand impressions of a foreign intelligence officer, but if Mr. Dearlove is able to elaborate, one hopes he will.”
So, the reason that the Downing Street Memo has not garnered more mainstream media attention is that (1) its substance is old news and (2) its allegation, if that is what “fixed around” really is, has already been thoroughly investigated and refuted.