"Iraq's WMD Programs: Culling Hard Facts from Soft Myths," A message from Stuart A. Cohen, Vice Chairman, National Intelligence Council, Nov. 28, 2004
"The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) has been dissected like no other product in the history of the US Intelligence Community. We have reexamined every phrase, line, sentence, judgment and alternative view in this 90-page document and have traced their genesis completely. I believed at the time the Estimate was approved for publication, and still believe now, that we were on solid ground in how we reached the judgments we made...
Let me be clear: The NIE judged with high confidence that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of the 150 km limit imposed by the UN Security Council, and with moderate confidence that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons. These judgments were essentially the same conclusions reached by the United Nations and by a wide array of intelligence services—friendly and unfriendly alike. The only government in the world that claimed that Iraq was not working on, and did not have, biological and chemical weapons or prohibited missile systems was in Baghdad. Moreover, in those cases where US intelligence agencies disagreed, particularly regarding whether Iraq was reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for its nuclear weapons program, the alternative views were spelled out in detail. Despite all of this, ten myths have been confused with facts in the current media frenzy. A hard look at the facts of the NIE should dispel some popular myths making the media circuit.
Myth #1: The Estimate favored going to war:
Intelligence judgments, including NIEs, are policy neutral. We do not propose policies and the Estimate in no way sought to sway policymakers toward a particular course of action. We described what we judged were Saddam's WMD programs and capabilities and how and when he might use them and left it to policymakers, as we always do, to determine the appropriate course of action..."