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The Bush Administration for years has packed the executive branch with political appartchiks apparatchiks who pervert the business of the nation to better serve their White House masters. Consider the U.S Attorneys scandal, the most recent appointee for Surgeon General, and about a thousands other examples.

But recently that’s been changing, at least in the realm of national security. The new ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, publicly complained about the lack of qualified employees at the Baghdad embassy; the new Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, has called for the closing of Guantanamo; and the war czar actually advocated withdrawal before being hired (and doesn’t attack my patriotism for agreeing). Maybe they ran out of hacks, or maybe they realized excluding dissenting voices hadn’t turned out very well.

Today, we find that Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, agreed in 2006 with the now widely-accepted claim that the Bush Administration twisted pre-war intelligence to make it support their phony claims about the urgent need for war. Two paragraphs from Stephen Hayes’s upcoming biography on Dick Cheney, caught by Tim Russert and highlighted by Think Progress:

McConnell was honored to be asked [to be DNI], but he had serious reservations. He had been unimpressed with many aspects of the Bush administration and its conduct of the war on terror, particularly what he felt was a politicized use of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war. […]

“My sense of it is their political faith and convictions influenced how they took information and interpreted [it], how they picked up and interpreted outside events. … I’ve read much more about the current set of players and they did set up a whole new interpretation because they didn’t like the answers. They’ve gotten results that in my view now have been disastrous,” [McConnell said].

That sounds about right. Oh, and McConnell was critical of the Pentagon intelligence office that we like to call The Lie Factory.

Update: Should have mentioned this. As DNI, McConnell was responsible for the recent NIE that argued that four years in Iraq had only strengthened al Qaeda and that belligerence towards Iran would lead to terrorist attacks on the U.S. and its interests across the world.

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