I met Senator Dianne Feinstein once, in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She had just recently been assigned to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (in 2001), and it was in that capacity that she had a senior staffer from the committee ask me to come to Washington DC to brief her on Iraqi WMD and the allegations being made by the Bush administration that Iraq continued to possess them. We met in a secure conference room in the Capital building—me, the Senator, and a half dozen staffers and aides. It was a polite, professional affair, with the Senator asking questions and taking notes. Eventually she confronted me—“Your position is causing us some difficulty. You are making the US look bad in the eyes of the world.” I replied that my analysis and the underlying facts were rock solid, something she agreed with. I said that while I knew she couldn’t reveal sensitive intelligence, if she could look me in the eye and say she has seen unequivocal proof that Iraq retained WMD, I’d shut up and go away. She looked at her retinue, and then me. “I have seen no such intelligence,” she replied. She thanked me for the briefing, and said it provided her with “food for thought.”
On October 11, 2002, Senator Feinstein voted in favor of the resolution authorizing war with Iraq. Later, she said she had been misled by the Bush administration and bad intelligence.
I will forever know Senator Feinstein as someone who had been empowered by the truth, and lacked the moral courage to act on it. The blood of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis stains her soul. I hope when she stands in judgment before her maker, she is punished accordingly.