The New York Review of Books: Unfit to Print?: “Buried deep in Bob Woodward’s new book, Plan of Attack, is a revealing anecdote about how the press covered the runup to the war in Iraq. By mid-March 2003, Woodward writes, three separate sources had told him confidentially that the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction ‘was not as conclusive as the CIA and the administration had suggested.’ This, he notes, ‘was troubling, particularly on what seemed to be the eve of war.’ When he mentioned this to Walter Pincus, a colleague at The Washington Post, Pincus told him that he had heard ‘precisely the same thing’ from some of his sources. Woodward then drafted five paragraphs for a possible news story and gave a copy to Pincus and the Post’s national security editor. The draft began:

Some of the key US intelligence that is the basis for the conclusion that Iraq has large caches of weapons of mass destruction looks increasingly circumstantial, and even shaky as it is further scrutinized, subjected to outside analysis and on-the-ground verification, according to informed sources.

A senior Bush administration source briefed last month on the intelligence said it was ‘pretty thin,’ and might be enough to reach the legal standard of ‘probable cause’ to bring an indictment but not enough for conviction. “


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