Statement of Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Prewar Intelligence Assessments about Postwar Iraq
May 25 2007
Washington, DC – The Senate Intelligence Committee today released the latest in a series of reports in its “Phase II” investigation into pre-war Iraq intelligence. This report explores prewar intelligence assessments about postwar Iraq.
Senator Feinstein offered additional conclusions to the Committee report, which is available at http://intelligence.senate.gov/prewar.pdf.
The following is Senator Feinstein’s statement on today’s report:
“I voted to support the Phase II report – ‘Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq’ – for what it contains. Unfortunately, what the report does not contain is even more important. I believe the report could and should have been much stronger and more direct.
In particular, I believe the report should have included strong conclusions in two areas: The quality and accuracy of analysis; and how policymakers used – or didn’t use -- this intelligence.
The intelligence community produced and disseminated numerous assessments on the postwar environment in Iraq, prior to commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These prewar assessments generally followed sound tradecraft, and provided important and timely warnings about the difficulties of establishing a cohesive, democratic government – and of the likelihood of significant levels of violence in Iraqi society.
The accuracy of these assessments is in striking contrast to what the Intelligence Committee found when comparing prewar analysis of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The intelligence community got it exactly right when it concluded that building ‘an Iraqi democracy would be a long, difficult and probably turbulent process.’ In short, the intelligence community presented a reasonable and compelling picture of the host of difficulties the United States would face after deposing Saddam Hussein.
I believe the Committee should also have included a conclusion that government officials and policymakers did not appropriately consider and prepare for the difficulties in the postwar environment predicted by the intelligence community. This failure to act was tragic, and is a key contributing factor to the current situation in Iraq.
While the Committee did not address the question of the use of prewar intelligence, my additional views point to two other reviews that did. One, conducted by former senior intelligence officials, found that intelligence projections of a post-Saddam Iraq, ‘although largely accurate, had little or no impact on policy deliberation.’
The second review, commissioned by then-Director George Tenet, noted that ‘intelligence assessments on postwar political, security, and economic issues were not effectively exploited.’ It went on to say that although a variety of assessments identified potential problems in a postwar Iraq, these assessments ‘failed to capture policymakers’ attention.’
I am pleased that the Committee completed this latest aspect of its Phase II investigation, and will allow the public to reach its own conclusions. I am disappointed, however, that the Committee did not address these issues in the underlying report.”