"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war. On the issue that mattered most, the intelligence community judged that Iraq probably was several years away from developing a nuclear weapon. The October 2002 NIE also judged that Saddam was unlikely to use WMD against the United States unless his regime was placed in mortal danger. The Bush administration deviated from the professional standard not only in using policy to drive intelligence, but also in aggressively using intelligence to win public support for its decision to go to war. This meant selectively adducing data -- "cherry-picking" -- rather than using the intelligence community's own analytic judgments."
-Paul Pillar, author of Intelligence, Policy and the War in Iraq
, an article in the March/April 2006 edition of Foreign Affairs
Pillar served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005An injured father consoles his injured son, both victims of car bomb explosion, in a hospital in Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb.25, 2006. A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing at least six people, including two women, and injuring more than 52, police said. The attack occurred as Baghdad and three nearby provinces were on a second day of a daytime curfew aimed at dampening the wave of sectarian violence that has killed more than 140 people since the bombing of a Shiite shrine. (AP Photo/Alaa Al-Marjani)An Iraqi woman carries a girl wounded after a car bomb attack in the holy city of Kerbala, 110 km (70 miles) south of Baghdad February 25, 2006. (REUTERS/Ali Abu Shish)A wounded Iraqi girl sits in the lap of her mother at a hospital in the holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad. (AFP/Qassem Zein)A boy injured by a car bomb explosion looks up while recovering in a hospital, in Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb.25, 2006. (AP Photo/Alaa Al-Marjani)An unidentified relative mourns in the front of the coffins of his family members, in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006. Provincial police said an unidentified gunmen broke into a house of a Shiite family killing 13 members. The town, a Sunni-insurgent stronghold, has seen repeated sectarian strife. The name of a local mosque is written on the left coffin. (AP Photo/Mohammed Adan)