What effect did Pentagon pressure have on the Government Accountability Office's report on Iraq? We put that question to U.S. Comptroller General David Walker this afternoon.
Walker said that the GAO had decided to include "partially met" grades for two benchmarks before it "sent the draft over that was leaked by the administration." And when it transmitted that draft, Walker said, the GAO told the Pentagon that it was contemplating changing the grade on a third benchmark -- one concerning whether the Iraqis had provided three "trained and ready brigades" to support Baghdad operations -- from "not met" to "partially met." Walker said he received additional information on that benchmark even before he got the Pentagon's comments on the GAO draft report and upgraded the grade on it accordingly.
Therefore, Walker said, the "only" grade that "really changed as a result of the comments we received back from the Defense Department was the last one that changed, which was whether or not there are any safe havens [for bad actors in Baghdad]. They provided us additional information that we did not previously have, and based on that information we decided to go with 'partially met.'"
Were there other grades the administration wanted changed?
"Oh yeah," Walker told us. "They wanted us to change others, and we didn't change them because the evidence didn't support them."