Democrats have been harping on the fabrication of pre-war intelligence theme for a long time now. Yesterday, they held a fake hearing sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee to further publicize the mantra. But those efforts have been dealt a blow by newly installed CIA Director Michael Hayden.
The Wall Street Journal ($):
A couple of weeks ago, these columns reported that Michigan Senator Carl Levin had cited remarks by General Hayden at his confirmation hearing to claim support for the Democratic assertion that former Pentagon official Douglas Feith had “distorted intelligence assessments on Iraq.” Mr. Levin even cited this to justify his vote to confirm the General.
Well, not so fast. General Hayden has now publicly confirmed what he had previously said in private conversations with Mr. Feith and with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl: To wit, that he did not intend those remarks as Senator Levin has spun them. In a letter to Mr. Kyl, General Hayden concedes that as former Director of the National Security Agency “I did not have any significant personal contact with Mr. Feith or his office and only occasionally saw the product of their work.”
The CIA Director’s letter adds that “the issues I attempted to address were focused on broad questions of analytic tradecraft, not characterizing the work of Mr. Feith’s office let alone attempting to address questions of lawfulness or even appropriateness. My comments about ‘wrong,’ ‘inaccurate,’ and ‘misleading’ were attached to a broader discussion of analytic challenges and not to any specific activities, including those under Mr. Feith.”