It seems the president's defenders have fallen back on what has always been their argument of last resort -- cherry-picked quotes from Clinton administration officials arranged to give the misleading impression that the Clintonites said and thought the same thing about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as the Bushies did.
But even arguing on this ground understates the full measure of administration mendacity in the lead up to the war since it ignores half the story. WMD was only half the administration equation for war. The other half was Iraq's alleged ties to Islamist terrorist groups like al Qaida and including al Qaida. On top of that, of course, was the big enchilada, the Cheney favorite, those frequent and intentionally ambiguous suggestions that Saddam Hussein played a role in the 9/11 attacks.
The administration has always been able to fall back upon the fact that as much as they hyped and exaggerated the evidence of Iraqi WMD, the folks in the intelligence community made plenty of mistakes on their own.
But the claims about Iraqi ties to al Qaida were always USDA-approved Grade-A crap.
That's where the most blatant political pressure on analysts happened. And that's where Doug Feith's operation at the Pentagon and its pipeline to Vice President Cheney's Office played their most nefarious role "stovepiping" nonsense about a grand Osama-Saddam axis.
Yet, that story has not gotten much of any scrutiny or investigation.
Whether it was lies or just reckless disregard for the truth. They should be held accountable.