Checking Your Sources

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The current fuss over intelligence on Saddam's weapons boils down to sources.

On one side, we have the CIA, British Intelligence and the Defense Department. These are the sources for President Bush and Tony Blair. But, who are the sources for the other side -- those who say stories about weapons of mass destruction were made up to hype the war?

One is an organization called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (search), which The New York Times describes as a group of retired spies. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is an oft-quoted member, who wrote back in January, "All U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Saddam Hussein probably will, in fact, use chemical and/or biological weapons if we invade Iraq." At the time, he wrote this to scare us away from war with Saddam. But now he says Bush made up stories about WMD.

Mr. McGovern and his associates aren't neutral analysts. They were against the war from the start. They've said that President Bush is out to start a military coup. And they have contradicted themselves at least as often as the president.

In the end, for all I know they could be right. But before I sip a political cocktail, I try to make sure I know the ingredients.

That's the Asman Observer.