Skip to comments.Report: CIA Gave False Info on Iraq
Posted on 07/09/2004 8:21:02 AM PDT by Pikamax
Report: CIA Gave False Info on Iraq
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By KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The key U.S. assertions leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) had chemical and biological weapons and was working to make nuclear weapons were wrong and based on false or overstated CIA (news - web sites) analyses, a scathing Senate Intelligence Committee report asserted Friday.
Intelligence analysts fell victim to "group think" assumptions that Iraq had weapons that it did not, concluded a bipartisan report. Many factors contributing to those failures are ongoing problems within the U.S. intelligence community which cannot be fixed with more money alone, it said.
Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who heads the committee, told reporters that assessments that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and could make a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade were wrong.
"As the report will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence," he said.
"This was a global intelligence failure."
The report repeatedly blasts departing CIA Director George Tenet, accusing him of skewing advice to top policy-makers with the CIA's view and elbowing out dissenting views from other intelligence agencies overseen by the State or Defense departments. It faulted Tenet for not personally reviewing Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, which contained since-discredited references to Iraq's attempts to purchase uranium in Africa.
White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, traveling with President Bush (news - web sites) on a campaign trip Friday, said the committee's report essentially "agrees with what we have said, which is we need to take steps to continue strengthening and reforming our intelligence capabilities so we are prepared to meet the new threats that we face in this day and age."
Tenet has resigned and leaves office Sunday.
Intelligence analysts worked from the assumption that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was seeking to make more, as well as trying to revive a nuclear weapons program. Instead, investigations after the Iraq invasion have shown that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons program and no biological weapons, and only small amounts of chemical weapons have been found.
Analysts ignored or discounted conflicting information because of their assumptions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the report said.
"This 'group think' dynamic led Intelligence Community analysts, collectors and managers to both interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD program as well as ignore or minimize evidence that Iraq did not have active and expanding weapons of mass destruction programs," the report concluded.
Such assumptions also led analysts to inflate snippets of questionable information into broad declarations that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, the report said.
For example, speculation that the presence of one specialized truck could mean an effort to transfer chemical weapons was puffed up into a conclusion that Iraq was actively making chemical weapons, the report said.
Analysts also concluded that Iraq had a mobile biological weapons program based mainly on the since-discredited claims of one Iraqi defector code-named "Curve Ball," it said. American agents did not have direct access to Curve Ball or his debriefers, but the source's information was expanded into the conclusion that Iraq had an advanced and active biological weapons program, the report said.
hindsight is better than foresight by a damnsite........At the time it was good info!
So ... Bush didn't "lie" ...
Thats Right...George Tenet Lied...HE WAS A CLINTON APPOINTEE!!!!!!!!
No doubt mistakes were made, but better to assume and prepare for the worse.
Lied? Or got it wrong? Of course, they prefer the latter, whether or not it's the truth.
If the administration would have used the excuse that Iraq and Saddam were connected to terrorist acts they wouldn't have to be doing this CYA crap.
I guess these pompous Senate and media dumbasses have zero understanding of the concept of Type I and Type II errors.
It faulted Tenet for not reviewing Bush's mentioning of Iraq's trying to get uranium in Africa in the SOTU address. I guess their report was written before the truth re the uranium came out ;-)
"...finding the 155 mm binary sarin shell and the other shells..."
Not quite a 'stockpile', especially not a large enough 'arsenal' to threaten the US mainland with.
President Bush chose to err on the side of preventing catastrophic damage to the U.S. If he had erred on the side of inaction, and the ambiguous, inherently imperfect intelligence information had been wrong (and the WMD threat had been greater than estimated), we might be cleaning radioactive waste from an uninhabitable Manhattan or D.C. for years to come at this point.
Critics are implicitly denying that intelligence is a dynamic matter and that what you know at any given moment, and the rational inferences to be drawn from that information, can change hour by hour, day by day. To suggest that because something is clear two years after the fact it had to be clear at the time is sophomoric.
Democrats are playing with fire in their criticism of the Administration on this.
Sigh. Oh well, here goes again.
Two tons of uranium (low-enriched uranium, useless to terrorists, btw) weren't "found." They were openly declared, and regularly inspected, before the war, and Iraq was permitted to have it under seal under UN resolutions.
FWIW, I agree with your comment.
When the issue is national security and the threats are chemical, biological and nuclear, you go with "worse case". Personally, I don't have the slightest doubt the weapon stockpiles were there and were transferred to places like syria. These committee investigations are nothing but a lot of hot air.
If WMD are found did they exist?
To be honest, I don't think the reasons to invade are relevant at this point - even if we magically found WMDs between now and the elections (I'm not talking a few artillery shells here and there that got lost by the Iraqi military either) it wouldn't matter.
The people against the war are going to be against the war no matter whether it was justified or not, just as we saw in Vietnam.
It is ludicrous that the administration would use such a poorly documented reason, but like I said, the people against it would be against it no matter what.