XIV. PRESSURE ON INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY ANALYSTS REGARDING IRAQ'S LINKS TO TERRORISM
(U) An essential component of the Committee's review of the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities has been examining the objectivity and independence of the judgments reached by the Intelligence Community (IC) and whether any influence was brought to bear on IC analysts to shape their assessments to support policy objectives.
(U) On June 11, 2003, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Chairman Pat Roberts held a press conference with Senator John Warner, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Representative Porter Goss, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Chairman Roberts announced that the Committee had been conducting a thorough and bipartisan review of intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and ties to terrorists, and made a public call for officials to come forward and contact the Committee if they had information about intelligence analysts having been pressured to alter their assessments. Following the press conference, Chairman Roberts reissued this call in a press release which said,
I am concerned by the number of anonymous officials that have been speaking to the press alleging that they were pressured by Administration officials to skew their analysis, a most serious charge and allegation that must be cleared up. I can tell you the Committee has yet to hear from any intelligence official expressing such concerns. If any officials believe, however, that they have been pressured to alter their assessment, they have an obligation and I encourage them to contact the Committee for confidential discussions.
(U) Chairman Roberts issued this call a third time at a closed Committee hearing on June 19, 2003 at which senior representatives of the Intelligence Community were present. Chairman Roberts asked,
Did any of you ever feel pressure or influence to make your judgment in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate or any other intelligence product conform to the policies of this or previous Administrations? The second part of that is, has any analyst come to you or expressed to you that he or she felt pressure to alter any assessment of intelligence? And finally, if you did feel pressure or were informed that someone else felt pressure, were any intelligence assessments changed as a result of that pressure? (emphasis added)
(U) Chairman Roberts issued the same call for analysts or officials to come forward to the Committee at least six more times in the summer of 2003.
(U) In addition to these calls, throughout the Committee's review, Committee staff asked whether any analysts had been pressured to change their analysis or assessments and about how they had developed their assessments. Committee staff also made efforts to contact individuals mentioned in press articles or who, through other means, had come to the Committee's attention as possibly having information about analysts who had been pressured.
(U) The Committee was not presented with any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with Administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so. When asked whether analysts were pressured in any way to alter their assessments or make their judgments conform with Administration policies, not a single analyst answered yes. Most analysts simply answered, "no" or "never," but some provided more extensive responses. Some of their responses are below:
- The Deputy Director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis (OTA) in the Director of Central Intelligence's (DCI) Counterterrorist Center (CTC) commented that "I think there was intense pressure in the prewar period, and I felt the pressure was on the trade craft side to ensure we got this one right. We couldn't afford not to get it right. We had questions intensively about this connection, that connection, this report, that report. How does this all work together? And rarely do you work in an intelligence environment, especially in an environment where everything you write has a potential to lead to conflict where American people are killed . . . the pressure was intense. It's as intense as I ever saw it. My sense of that intensity was that we were under pressure to get it right, not to make a mistake, not to miss something, not to mischaracterize something."
- An OTA analyst responsible for Iraq and terrorism stated, " . . . the most pressure I felt was put upon myself to ensure that every single product that I produced could be backed up in a hearing just like this . . . we knew that the stakes were high and that this story would be examined later."
- A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst responsible for Iraq Political Leadership stated, "I never felt pressure from outside to change my views on Iraq. I think the lion's share of the pressure that I felt - and I'm talking personally as an analyst and as a leader of a team - had to do with internal analytic disagreements . . . I think it was the pressure of having to wrestle with tough questions and how do you deal with conflicting evidence that we felt."
- A Senior Intelligence Officer from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) stated, "On the issue of support for terrorism, there was a preconceived notion by some within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) that Saddam was behind World Trade Center bombing one back in the early nineties and also were working with al-Qaida and may even have been behind 9/11. That was a predisposition by some people in OSD. As a result, they did not tell us what they expected us to say. There wasn't pressure in that sense. But you certainly had to make sure that your analysis was on target and that you were very precise in the words that you used. So in many ways they forced us to be better analysts because you couldn't walk in and say something that was not well grounded. That might be interpreted as pressure, but in some ways I thought they actually made us do our jobs better. I had many discussions with some of these folks in OSD about this issue and they thought I was wrong . . . but they never said change your position or don't say this."
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|