I have still not had time to read the recently released Pentagon Inspector General’s report and did not want to comment on it until I had time to get into it. I guess it is at least a good thing that I did not comment on the report based on what the Washington Post reported because they (shock, gasp) did not fairly and accurately represent the report. Well, that is, they did not fairly report the Inspector General’s report. Instead they quoted from Democrat Carl Levin’s “report” as if it were the Inspector General’s report. At least they did a correction for their bad reporting this time. Usually we don’t even get that much.
Michelle Malkin has details.
Ed Morrisey has the following to say about the report itself:
The acting Inspector General of the Defense Department has issued a long-awaited report on the intelligence analysis provided by Douglas Feith during the period between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. According to Thomas Gimble, Feith and others did not violate laws or policies at the Department of Defense, nor did they mislead Congress — but Gimble still concludes that their activities were “inappropriate”:…
It’s difficult to understand the objection of the IG. If the activity broke no laws and violated no policies, what is inappropriate about having competing sets of analysts looking at intelligence to get alternative viewpoints? One of the criticisms made by Bush administration critics is that the White House relied on stovepiped intel analysis for the WMD question — which came from the official CIA analysts and directed by George Tenet.
In this case, the Secretary and Undersecretary of Defense wanted an investigation of intel to determine whether Iraq had operational ties to al-Qaeda, a reasonable question given the circumstances. The CIA — which the Democrats believe got it wrong on WMD — didn’t believe that radical Islamists would cooperate with the supposedly secular Saddam Hussein. Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz authorized Feith to review the intelligence to see if evidence existed for a different conclusion, and Feith found enough contacts between Saddam and AQ to at least challenge the notion that they would have never considered a partnership.
Instead, the IG scolded Feith for not following the consensus, and then not following the procedures for “rare” disagreement. That differs rather dramatically from the scolding given to the intel communities by the 9/11 Commission and enthusiastically supported by the same elements in Congress that now want a piece of Douglas Feith for daring to disagree and to do so publicly. Back then, dissenters got celebrated as visionaries who had the courage to try to wake up the decisionmakers. Now Congress wants to punish someone who essentially did what Congress demanded during those reviews.Pam at Atlas Shrugs has more on the bad reporting of this story.
In today’s New York Sun is an oped piece excoriating the Washington Post for their reckless disregard of facts in the matter of Douglas Feith. This pattern is disturbing. Disturbing and dangerous to the nation’s ability to get reliable information and news. How can we expect the Americna people to vote on people and policy if it’s garbage in/garbage out.
Others have noted that this is a pretty reliable pattern. The mainstream media puts a story out there — headlines in the major papers, leading the morning shows like Today and GMA, topic of the day on the cable shows — then slowly, when people have had a chance to review the full facts of the story, or read the entire report, or get past the Democrat talking points that were spoon fed to the media, it becomes clear that the initial reports were misleading at best, wrong at worst. But the corrections and follow up stories never get the attention the original flood of stories got, and the public perception is of the original, wrong, interpretation of the story.