DNI Confirmation Hearings: Blair Says Bush Administration Pressured Intelligence Analysts
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) went hunting for Blair to say that the Bush administration didn’t pressure intelligence analysts ahead of the Iraq WMD National Intelligence Estimate in October 2002, citing a Senate intelligence committee report in 2004 in which the GOP totally rolled then-top-Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) into saying so. But Blair didn’t go along. There were a whole host of reasons why that NIE was so deeply flawed, he said, but “some of it was the extraordinary political pressure based on the analysts.” Sorry, Orrin!
Hatch pushed back, reminding Blair sharply that the 2004 report found no such pressure (as it was designed not to find). Blair held his ground. “I’m thinking ‘small-p’ political — the intense interest, the over-watch,” Blair said. Hatch scowled. Not the answer he was after. This isn’t controversial in the intelligence community, but conservatives remain unwilling to let it go.