Skip to comments.U.S. senators more time needed to judge Iraq WMD
Posted on 06/19/2003 9:41:37 PM PDT by JohnHuang2
U.S. senators more time needed to judge Iraq WMD
By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence analysts who testified at a closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday stood by their basic prewar assessment that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, two attendees said.
A controversy has erupted over whether the Bush administration exaggerated the threat from Iraq's alleged biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs in making a case for war against Baghdad. No such weapons have been found.
Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, said there was "nothing that changes the bottom line" of prewar assessments that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and the capacity to create "voluminous quantities" of such weapons.
He and other Democrats who attended the hearing said either they could not make judgments about whether the Republican administration hyped the intelligence or they did not believe outright deceit had occurred.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, said no intelligence analysts have told the panel the administration pressured them to make a stronger case on the weapons assessment than was warranted.
"If there is anyone in the intelligence community -- former, current -- that thinks that their analytical product in any way was manipulated or coerced or intimidated, please come forward. We will keep it confidential. But we have yet to hear from the first one," Roberts told reporters.
U.S. forces have detained some top Iraqi weapons scientists but they have yet to provide information about the location of any biological or chemical weapons.
'NOT TALKING YET'
"We've apprehended some of the top people in their weapons of mass destruction programs, they're not talking yet. My guess is that the key to this lies inside someone's mind who is not yet prepared to tell us what they know," Bayh said.
Some potential weapons sites in Iraq had also been ransacked, he said.
"Some of them have been terribly ransacked in ways that looters would not, so there appears to have been some conscious destruction taking place," Bayh said.
Bayh said lethal amounts of biological or chemical weapons could be easily hidden.
"Hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid anthrax, for example, which would have the potential to do great harm, would fill the size of a swimming pool in someone's backyard," Bayh said. "A potentially devastating amount of smallpox could be hidden in something the size of a jar."
The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday held its second hearing this week on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, this one focused on efforts to find them.
Rep. Jane Harman of California, the senior Democrat on that panel, in a statement questioned "why, in retrospect, the intelligence community did not have a better fix on where chemical and biological weapons were stockpiled prior to the war?"
Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said questioning the intelligence was appropriate at a time when the United States wages a war on terrorism and engages in a policy of preemptive attack.
But he said he did not believe President George W. Bush intentionally misled the public when he said Iraq had tried to obtain nuclear material from Africa, an assertion based on documents later judged forgeries.
"The president I'm sure did not mean to mislead the people, I think that he was given bad information and we have to ask what was the source? Who checked it out?" Durbin said.
Correct me if I'm wrong .. but weren't the Democrats screaming that they had people coming to them? ..
and yet no one showed up at this meeting?
No way! Politics in Washington? Gasp! hehe ;)
OK, so Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction program and top people in their weapons of mass destruction program but Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. That's pretty plain and simple.
Looks like the smart ones have determined that this is another dog that won't hunt. I love the smell of self-destructing dimos in the evening!
"Bush planted all that evidence to frame an innocent dictator!" -- Carl Levin.
Of course! That is just so obvious.