Q Has the administration been briefed on the Senate Intelligence Committee report due out today on the run up to the attack in Iraq?
MR. SNOW: No. We'll see it when it gets released. Obviously, we've had some characterizations of what we're going to see. You're talking about phase two. We've had characterizations about it, and based on the characterizations we've seen, it's nothing new. And so it's, again, kind of re-litigating things that happened three years ago. It's worth noting, and I'll certainly be prepared to revise, extend and amend remarks upon seeing the actual report.
In 2002 and 2003, members of both parties got a good look at the intelligence we had, and they came to the very same conclusions about what was going on. And it's one of the things that I think drew Americans together. It's one of the reasons why you had overwhelming majorities in the United States Senate and the House for taking action against Saddam Hussein. Both sides were looking at the same intelligence and coming to the same conclusions.
But, more importantly -- if we have people who want to re-litigate that, that's fine, but the President's stated concern this week, as you've seen, is to think, okay, we'll let people quibble over three years ago; the important thing to do is to figure out what you're doing tomorrow, and the day after, and the month after, and the year after to make sure that this war on terror is won.
Q Are you devaluing the importance or significance of what we may see today?
MR. SNOW: No. Take a look at it, but you'll probably also -- I'm sure you'll be getting push-back from people who will remind you that every significant leader of the other party had made comments about Saddam Hussein that were substantially similar to those that were made by the administration.
When it comes to the national intelligence estimate, there has been an accusation that the Iraqi national congress had disproportionate impact. I direct you to the Robb-Silberman report that said, no. We've taken a look at it. There have been a number of reports looking at that, as well.
I think what you'll see is a divergent views section that sort of repeats a lot of the critiques we've heard over the last couple of years. And I suspect that both parties are going to be busy sort of going back and forth about who said what, when. It's all well and good, but the most important thing is to figure out what you're doing today and tomorrow.
Q Is the fact that this is coming from a Republican-led panel of any moment?
MR. SNOW: No, because, as you know, the intelligence committee is -- they have generally been reasonably collegial and even though there have been some frayed nerves from time to time between Chairman Roberts and Senator Rockefeller, what you've got is the ability of Democrats on that committee to sort of state their views.
I think the parts most of you guys are going to be looking at are the Democratic views on this, because that will be the source of controversy. And all I can say is, been there, done that.
So, this is where we are. To even consider questioning whether or not Clinton really tried all that hard to get Osama or deal with AlQaida is a bad bad thing. Because hind sight is 20/20 and all that.
However, for a bunch of politicians to stick Bush out on that limb and start sawing three years after most of them voted for the war they are bitching about today, well that is just ok fine. After all how could they know that most of the information that was compiled when Bush was in Texas and they were in Washington was not "accurate".
One of the things I find so interesting here is the idea that Zarqawi and Saddam could not have had a "relationship", that Saddam was afraid of Zarqawi. Puhleaze, Saddam could have killed that maniac any damn time he felt like, just like he killed about a million other people. He was willing to try to kill a former President of the United States, but him was 'fraid of Zarqawi. What a load of crap.
Saddam operated like a Don. Finding evidence directly linking him to anything is almost impossible. But whatever the evidence was these same people came to the same conclusions...all the rest is bullshit.
UPDATE: For anyone who has not read it Joscelyn's article in the Weekly Standard is worth reading.