This is the same Pat Roberts who chairs the "bipartisan" Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on which Republicans outnumber Democrats.
The Committee's Phase One investigation conclusions blast the intelligence community, and contain the sentence:
The committee found no evidence that the [Intelligence Community's] mischaracterization or exaggeration of the intelligence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was the result of political pressure.
If they didn't investigate political pressure in Phase I, why in the world would they include that statement in their conclusions? It's difficult to believe that inserting that sentence wasn't an attempt to preemptively interdict the process of Phase II.
Over at TomPaine.com, John Prados provides several perceptive insights.
In phase one, the Bush administration sought a definition of “politicization” that was so narrow it prevented the commission from reaching finding any fault.
And you can bet the cost of a tank of gas that if the administration wanted a narrow definition, Pat Roberts moved heaven and earth to make sure they got it.
It's important, Prados says, for the Phase II investigators to have subpoena power to explore the entire context of what went on between policy makers and the intelligence services. That means exploring all the nooks and crannies inhabited by Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, and the entire cast of neocon characters who publicly advocated the Iraq invasion back in 1998 and who invaded the executive branch in 2002.
I'm not entirely optimistic the Intelligence Committee will be able to do that.
As Prados asserts, Senator Roberts is…
…already attempting to divert the panel from fulfilling its responsibility. The committee’s own press release described the aim of phase two as an inquiry into “whether any influence was brought to bear on anyone to shape their analysis to support policy objectives." To accomplish this, Roberts is arguing that the panel should merely review administration statements in the run-up to war and see if there was intelligence that supported each claim. This minimalist approach would give the Bush administration a free pass for politicizing the analytical process and then cherry-picking the conclusions that fit its needs.
Put another way, the administration and its allies (like Roberts) are trying to erase the past faster than they can accuse their critics of rewriting it.