In April 2005, Charles Duelfer, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq, admitted in the CIA’s final report that after an extensive search, no weapons of mass destruction could be found.
“After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted,” wrote Duelfer, the leader of the Iraq Survey Group. “As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible.”
Today it’s generally accepted that the presence of WMD was the primary basis for the Iraq War. Naturally, the absence of such weapons shook the world. The media blamed the politicians, the politicians blamed US intel, and the intelligence actors involved mostly defended their work.
The official word, chronicled in the Robb-Silberman report, concluded that “the Intelligence Community didn’t adequately explain just how little good intelligence it had—or how much its assessments were driven by assumptions and inferences rather than concrete evidence.”