For David Ensor, Dead Wrong “Seemed Like A Worthwhile Project”

By Brian 

Bloggers are buzzing about “Dead Wrong: Inside An Intelligence Meltdown,” tonight’s CNN Presents special at 8 and 11pm. “This looks like a must-see program,” The Grey Matter says. “I think it would be well worth every American watching this program on Sunday,” Joe Trippi writes. Follow the rest of the chatter via Technorati.

Will the show live up to the hype? TVNewser asked CNN national security correspondent David Ensor what viewers should expect.

“We tried to make the program an accurate, nuanced presentation on this complex subject,” he said on Friday. “We tried to be fair: to give credit, for example, to the intelligence community for its successes of recent years — and to acknowledge how widespread, and in some ways justifiable was the view that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq probably had WMD. At the same time, we did want to take a close look at how the intelligence community and the Bush Administration could reach such firm conclusions on Iraq’s WMD, only to find them wrong.”

The impetus for doing the program came from CNN Presents executive producer Sid Bedingfield. He was intrigued by some of the details revealed by the investigations into pre-war intelligence weaknesses, Ensor said: “As their reports make clear, there was significant disagreement among different agencies within the intelligence community about the WMD intelligence on Iraq, before it was released to the public. Piecing together the events that led up to the intelligence judgment that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction programs, though no weapons have been found — and hearing from insiders — seemed like a worthwhile project.”

By the way, the title “Dead Wrong” isn’t a judgement on CNN’s part — it’s a quote from the President’s Silberman-Robb Commission.

CNN says Ensor and his team received “remarkable access” to government officials. Here is a list of some of the interview subjects.

“The producers and I worked hard to convince those involved, that this would be neither a one-sided hatchet job nor a whitewash, though the program does not flinch from drawing some conclusions,” Ensor said.

“Dead Wrong” was produced by Sherry Jones and Christina Lowery of Washington Media Associates. Foster Wiley served as photographer and editor. Washington Post investigative reporter Walter Pincus was a consultant on the project.