Sojourners: In the build up toward the war in Iraq, the Bush administration made allegations that are proving more and more to be demonstrably false. Were they just misunderstandings of intelligence data, or were we being sold a bill of goods? Was it an honest mistake?
Ray McGovern: No, by no stretch of the imagination was it an honest mistake. We were able to tell very last fall that there was very little substance to the main charges with respect to weapons of mass destruction. Even the sanitized version of the National Intelligence Estimate that was put on the CIA Web site—if you looked at it closely with any experience in intelligence, you could see what a thin reed they were relying on, and that there was little possibility of substantiating Dick Cheney's claim that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. That, of course, is the mushroom cloud that scared Congress into ceding its power to wage war.
Sojourners: Why is that significant?
McGovern: In my experience—and that includes more than 40 years in this town watching these kinds of things very closely—it's the first time that I've seen such a long-term, orchestrated plan of deception by which one branch of our government deliberately misled the other on a matter of war and peace.