National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley released a statement today (found below) critiquing an editorial that ran in the New York Times on Sunday. The editorial, titled "The Deluder in Chief," was a response to President Bush's regret about what he referred to in an interview with Charlie Gibson as the "intelligence failure" in Iraq. The Times attacked this statement, saying, "The truth is that Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been chafing to attack Iraq before Sept. 11, 2001. They justified that unnecessary war using intelligence reports that they knew or should have known to be faulty." Though now a common critique of the Bush Administration, this attack prompted the response from the White House below.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 8, 2008
STATEMENT BY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR STEPHEN HADLEY
Sunday's New York Times contains an editorial expressing inaccurate and incomplete statements on pre-war intelligence and the war in Iraq.
While the President has repeatedly acknowledged the mistakes in the pre-war intelligence, there is no support for the Times' claim that the President and his national security team "knew or should have known [the intelligence] to be faulty" or that "pressure from the White House" led to particular conclusions. Nothing in the many inquiries conducted into these matters supports the view of the Times' Editorial Board. Indeed, the independent Silberman-Robb Commission and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that no political pressure was brought to bear on the Intelligence Community.
As the President has stated, he regrets the intelligence was wrong, but it was intelligence that members of Congress, foreign governments as well as the Administration all believed to be accurate. Working with Congress, the President has since put in place a number of intelligence reform measures to try to ensure that such mistakes do not happen again.
While Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, he was a threat, and his removal has opened the door to a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East that is an ally of the United States.
The New York Times continues to have difficulty acknowledging the undeniable success of the President's decision to surge an additional 30,000 troops into Iraq. Because of the surge, Iraq is a more stable and secure country. It is the success of the surge that is allowing American troops to withdraw from Iraq and return home with a record of heroic service and still unheralded success.