And pressure the CIA they did.
A former CIA analyst described the intense pressure brought to bear on the CIA by the Bush Administration in these terms: "The analysts at the C.I.A. were beaten down defending their assessments. And they blame George Tenet" -- the CIA director "for not protecting them. I've never seen a government like this."
Protecting them? From mushroom clouds and unmanned vehicles?
No, from Dick Cheney, who with his sidekick I. Lewis Libby visited CIA headquarters about a dozen times to personally ensure that CIA analysts knew precisely what their instructions were -- what conclusions their analysis should yield. And this all went on with their always-eager-to-please-the-boss boss, George Tenet, standing directly behind the vice president.
"If Tenet wished to protect his analysts from that kind of blatant political pressure, he would have told Cheney that CIA analysts could be at his beck and call; but in the Vice President's, not the analysts' offices. This was customary procedure, not only with the Vice President but with all senior policymakers. Had Tenet an ounce of courage, he would have said, 'Don't come to us; we'll come to you.' One distinct advantage of being located in the Virginia woods several miles from downtown was that this was a disincentive to policymakers like Cheney to invite themselves to come on over and 'help' with the analysis. This is precisely what the analysts do not need."
Ray McGovern testified at a hearing hosted by Congressman John Conyers on June 16, 2005. "Sham Dunk: Cooking Intelligence for the President," an 18-page chapter in Ray's "Neo-CONNED Again!" exposes in detail the "intelligence-made-me-do-it" myth: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/168
Mel Goodman, a 24-year veteran of the CIA, who lectures at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute, has recounted what his students from the intelligence agencies told him about the political pressure they faced regarding Iraq:
"I get into the issue of politicization . . . [t]hey [the students] don't say much during the question period, but afterwards people come up to me, D.I.A. and C.I.A. analysts who have had this pressure. I've gotten stories from D.I.A. people being called into a supervisor's office and told they might lose their job if they didn't revise a paper. 'This is not what the administration is looking for. You've got to find W.M.D.'s, which are out there.'"
Here's how The Washington Post described the pressure on intelligence officials from a barrage of high-ranking members of the Bush Administration:
On October 8, 2002, Knight Ridder reported that various military officials, intelligence employees, and diplomats in the Bush Administration charged "that the administration squelches dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are under intense pressure to produce reports supporting the White House's argument that Hussein poses such an immediate threat to the United States that preemptive military action is necessary."