The Levin report appears to depart from the bipartisan, consultative relationship that exists between the Department of Defense and the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Department cooperated carefully with Senator Levins investigation, knowing that Senator Levin might decide, as he did, not to seek a unanimous -- or at least bipartisan -- report.
The long-standing practice and policy of the Department of Defense is not to involve itself in political matters, but the following points are relevant:
- The subjects covered in the Levin report have been investigated by, among other bodies, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The Department provided volumes of documents and other requested materials to these committees.
- The unanimous, bipartisan report of the 9/11 Commission noted relationships that existed between al Qaeda and Iraq prior to al Qaedas attack on the United States in September 2001.
- The unanimous, bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report of July 2004 found no evidence that Administration officials tried to coerce, influence or pressure intelligence analysts to change their judgments about Iraqs WMD capabilities or links to terrorism.
- The Senate Intelligence Committee also found that staff members from the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Mr. Douglas Feith played by IC [intelligence community] rules during their participation in an August 20, 2002 coordination meeting on the ICs Iraqi Support for Terrorism report. The Senate Intelligence Committee report stated that Mr. Feiths office was not given special treatment, and that their participation in the meeting contributed to a frank exchange of opinions which did not result in changes to their analytical judgments.
Relevant officials in the Department of Defense have gone to great lengths to respond to voluminous requests made by Senator Levin or his staff as part of this inquiry. For example, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy has:
- Devoted more than 2000 man-hours to search files, review documents, and otherwise answer inquiries;
- Provided thousands of pages of documents over the past year; and
- Responded in detail to dozens of written questions subsequent to Committee testimony.