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CIA Blamed For Poor Intelligence Before Iraq War

9 July 2004 -- The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee today issued a lengthy report which harshly criticizes the CIA and other intelligence agencies for a massive intelligence failure about Iraq's capabilities and its alleged weapons of mass destruction.

The Senate committee examined the sequence of events that led to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Its 500-page report blames the CIA and its director, George Tenet, who is leaving office this week, for providing the White House with false and alarming conclusions about Iraq that were unsupported by genuine intelligence. Republican Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said: "Before the war [in Iraq], the U.S. intelligence community told the president as well as the Congress and the public that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and, if left unchecked, would probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade. Well, today, we know these assessments were wrong and, as our inquiry will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence."

The report did not address the issue of whether the White House pressured the CIA into reaching its false conclusions. The top Democrat on the committee, Vice Chairman John Rockefeller, told reporters this would be taken up in a subsequent report.

Rockefeller blamed the White House for making frequent statements in the lead-up to the war which he said gave the impression the case for war had already been decided. (international agencies)

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