I just got a call from Jamal Ware, the spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee, about my earlier post
on the technical breakdown that prevented lawmakers from reading the infamous National Intelligence Estimate on the global terror threat and the war in Iraq for five months this year.
Ware clarified that the "equipment failure" spanned only two
months, March and April, not five, as I reported. For the next three months, the equipment worked fine -- the report was simply lost.
As Ware explained it, the Iraq terror NIE came to the committee in late April, but did not get scanned because of the malfunction. Then, after the equipment was working again in late April, the document -- which contradicted key aspects of Bush administration policy and rhetoric -- sat unnoticed in a "backlog," along with other classified documents awaiting the committee's consideration, until the New York Times
revealed its conclusions in late September.
As a result of misplacing this important document for several months, Ware informed me, the committee now has a system in place to make sure that such "snafus" don't prevent committee members from seeing classifed documents. Following the New York Times
article, members have been receiving a daily report of classified documents that come in to the committee.