Several media outlets touted President Bush's purported candor during an ABC interview with Charles Gibson in which Bush said the "biggest regret" of his presidency was the "intelligence failure" regarding the absence of WMD in Iraq and declined to "speculate" whether the administration would have invaded Iraq if the intelligence had shown no WMD. But none of these reports noted the substantial evidence that Bush had already decided to invade Iraq regardless of the available intelligence, or mentioned the substantial uncertainty about the evidence the administration cited in support of the war.
Jim Angle baselessly claimed that Joe Wilson had reported to the CIA that "the Iraqis had indeed tried, but failed" to obtain uranium from Niger. According to a CIA report, a former Nigerien prime minister had "interpreted" an offer to meet with Iraqis on "expanding commercial relations" to mean that "Iraq wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales." But the report indicates only that Wilson told the CIA of the former prime minister's interpretation and provides no evidence that Wilson endorsed that view himself.
When The Washington Post's Thomas Ricks stated in a Time "roundtable conversation" that prior to the start of the Iraq war, "the chairman of the Joint Chiefs" told him that they didn't know where Saddam Hussein's purported weapons of mass destruction were located, Bob Woodward responded by saying that he "was not aware of" the claim at the time. But three days before the start of the war, a Post article to which Woodward "contributed" noted the lack of "specific information about the amounts of banned weapons or where they are hidden."
A USA Today editorial asserted that the U.S. "learned too late" that the first Gulf War had "limited" Saddam Hussein's "ability to develop weapons of mass destruction." But this assertion ignores prewar evidence that contradicted the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had WMD or was reconstituting its WMD programs.
On Meet the Press, host Tim Russert let former Reagan adviser Ken Adelman assert without challenge that "no one knew" that intelligence indicating Iraq had weapons of mass destruction "wasn't true" prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. In fact, members of the intelligence community, including senior CIA analysts, challenged the accuracy of the intelligence that Iraq had WMDs.
A December 4 Washington Post article pointed out that the newspaper's own reporting from October 2002 on the House's passage of the Iraq war resolution failed to quote a single Democrat expressing concerns about "postwar challenges," though many had done so. Media Matters found that contemporaneous articles from three other major print outlets also left out any mention of such warnings.
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Fox News' John Gibson repeatedly asserted -- falsely -- that because The New York Times reported that the United States had posted Iraqi documents related to constructing an atomic bomb, the Times "said today Saddam had nukes." Similarly, conservative radio host Pat Campbell falsely suggested that the Times reported Iraq was "a year away from making the atomic bomb" at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. In fact, Iraq did not have nuclear weapons in 2003 or at any time -- including prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War -- and Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program in 2003.