Monday, December 19, 2005

CRS reports that administration knew more about Iraq than Congress

For years now, George Bush and his administration have stated that Congress had access to the same pre-war intelligence data on Iraq as the president. According to Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, Bush stated this some 102 times as of December 15, 2005 (see

What the president knew versus what Congress knew is an important argument in the debate over Iraq. Democrats who rolled over and gave Bush carte blanche now claim that they never would have done so if they had been given all the facts. Republicans, particularly members of the Bush League running the White House, claim that Congress knew just as much as the president knew.

On December 15, the Congressional Research Service — a nonpartisan branch of Congress that supplies Congress with research information — released a report clearly stating that the administration has "access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq".

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the media. I have no idea what happened over the weekend on television, as we were so busy that I was mostly out of touch with TV news. So far, though, it doesn't look promising. CNN's web site has a report about the Senate balking at extending the PATRIOT Act, but nothing about the CRS report. There is no mention of the report at,, or, in spite of all sites having posts dating before the CRS report. I didn't bother checking Fox.

Considering that the news outlets let Bush make his false claim of equal knowledge for ages without checking that statement's credibility lends me to believe that they will not be quick to point out their own failings.

For more information about the CRS report, see the Media Matters web site at

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