FROM LAURA ROZEN, WAR AND PEACE: a brief excerpt:
Amid the continued political fallout over the faulty intelligence case for going to war in Iraq, the Bush administration is newly cautious about the specific intelligence it plans to present to the public to back up its claims that Iran is fighting a kind of proxy war with the United States in Iraq.
At least twice in the past month, the White House has delayed a PowerPoint presentation initially prepared by the military to detail evidence of suspected Iranian materiel and financial support for militants in Iraq. The presentation was to have been made at a press conference in Baghdad in the first week of February. Officials have set no new date, but they say it could be any day.
Even as U.S. officials in Baghdad were ready to make the case, administration principals in Washington who were charged with vetting the PowerPoint dossier bowed to pressure from the intelligence community and ordered that it be scrubbed again. The officials understand that the press will scrutinize the information intensely, that the intelligence “dots” that the administration has assembled about Iran in Iraq can be connected multiple ways, and that the public is wary of any possible intervention in Iran. “The truth is, quite frankly, we thought the briefing overstated, and we sent it back to get it narrowed and focused on the facts,” National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times on February 2.
A White House official who declined to be named told National Journal that the presentation was sent “back into the interagency process … with all the usual agencies involved, both in Washington and Baghdad.” ….