Among the most serious charges that President Obama and his supporters have leveled against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney: They “cherry-picked intelligence.” The phrase suggests that, while in office, they sorted through the information provided by America’s spy agencies, selecting the tidbits that supported their policies while discarding anything that might cast doubts on their conclusions.
So what has been Mr. Obama’s record in this area? Thanks to an incisive essay by David Samuels in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, we now know.
To sell the Iran deal — which Mr. Obama considers his signature foreign policy achievement — the public was told there was “a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country.”
Mr. Samuels asks Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director in the Obama administration, “whether it was ever a salient feature of the CIA’s analysis when he ran the agency that the Iranian regime was meaningfully divided between ‘hard-line’ and ‘moderate’ camps.” Mr. Panetta answers without equivocation: “No.”
The intelligence community clearly understood that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “ran that country with a strong arm.” They faced no challenge from a rising moderate faction.
In other words: Mr. Obama did not cherry-pick intelligence — he disregarded it entirely...