Wednesday, July 14, 2004

One Page Wonder

Slate's Fred Kaplan breaks down today's New York Times article, which reports that Team Bush "is refusing to give Senate investigators the one-page "President's Summary" of the CIA's 2002 National Intelligence Estimate dealing with Iraqi weapons of mass destruction."

Fred's first question: The "President's Summary" was one page?

One Page Wonder Posted by Hello

This CIA estimate was a 93-page document, filled with caveats, qualifiers, and footnotes of interagency dissent on several key points. It would take a dedicated master of pith to whittle the NIE's findings and equivocations to a single page. (By the Times' account, the summarizer didn't bother with the equivocations.)


Perhaps no president can be expected to read a 93-page document. (Some presidents would have, though. Bill Clinton was an inveterate reader of intelligence reports. Jimmy Carter once asked to see the engineering blueprints for the KH-11 photoreconnaissance satellite. The latter is a case of a control freak gone too far.) Still, the president's summary should stretch beyond the margins of a single pageā€”at least when the fate of nations is at stake.

Really, Fred shouldn't be surprised that Bush's WMD summary was only 1 page. Probably monosyllabic with pretty pictures, too. Our Prez McFlightsuit admits he doesn't like to read...though he did make a big-boy effort with My Pet Goat on 9/11.


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