Brace yourselves for a shock- Gail Collin doesn’t like who the President has chosen to be membersof the Intelligence commission
Though dignified and bipartisan, the members lack the technical expertise to really unravel what was wrong with American intelligence and suggest how to fix it. And Mr. Bush withheld the mandate to get at the big political question they could answer: Did the administration hype intelligence to increase support for the war?
The co-chairmen are appropriately of opposite parties: Charles Robb, a Democrat who married Lyndon Johnson’s daughter and went on to be elected as governor and senator in Virginia, and Laurence Silberman, a Republican and retired appeals court judge who was a Reagan appointee. The other five members include Senator John McCain, a maverick Republican known to speak his mind; Lloyd Cutler, who was legal counsel for two Democratic presidents; Richard Levin, president of Yale University; and Patricia Wald, a liberal who was chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The only appointee with a deep knowledge of intelligence gathering is Adm. William Studeman, a former deputy director of central intelligence.
This group lacks the stature and name recognition that would give its findings commanding credibility. Worse yet, it looks as if Mr. Bush, who chose not to allow a truly independent panel, will limit its mandate to a review of intelligence gathering and analysis. He has given the panel the authority to examine why the prewar estimates of Iraq’s weapons stockpiles differ from what has been found and to evaluate intelligence on weapons programs in other countries. Mr. Bush did not ask the panel for an unfettered look at how his administration had presented the intelligence in making the case for war. By dodging that, the president leaves voters to find their own answers.
For the record, I recognized every name, which tells me something I already knew- I am smarter than Gail Collins. At any rate, I am not surprised the NY Times staff if unhappy with the mandate. The only mandate they would approve of is:
“Assume that I, President Bush, am completely guilty of lying about any and all aspects of the Intelligence, and assume that I did so to create a war for oil so I could enrich my friends in Halliburton. You now have an hour and access to nothing to prove I am innocent.”
That is about the only mandate that would please those partisan fools.