DurableTear Posted July 9, 2004 Share Posted July 9, 2004 Credit: CNN Report slams CIA for Iraq intelligence failures Analysts' 'group think' blamed for false assumptions on weapons Friday, July 9, 2004 Posted: 1:09 PM EDT (1709 GMT) WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a highly critical report issued Friday, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA's prewar estimates of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were overstated and unsupported by intelligence. Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, told reporters that intelligence used to support the invasion of Iraq was based on assessments that were "unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence." The committee's conclusions are contained in a 511-page report released Friday. "Before the war, 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," Roberts said. "Today we know these assessments were wrong." Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the leading Democrat on the panel, said that "bad information" was used to bolster the case for war. "We in Congress would not have authorized that war with 75 votes if we knew what we know now," the West Virginia Democrat said. "Leading up to September 11, our government didn't connect the dots. In Iraq, we are even more culpable because the dots themselves never existed." Roberts listed several points emphasized in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that were "overstated or "not supported by the raw intelligence reporting," including: Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. Iraq was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle, probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents. The research, development and production of Iraq's offensive biological weapons program was active and that most elements were larger and more advanced than they were before the Persian Gulf War. He also said the intelligence community failed to "accurately or adequately explain the uncertainties behind the judgments in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate to policymakers." Rockefeller said that the "intelligence failures" will haunt America's national security "for generations to come." "Our credibility is diminished. Our standing in the world has never been lower," he said. "We have fostered a deep hatred of Americans in the Muslim world, and that will grow. As a direct consequence, our nation is more vulnerable today than ever before." The top-ranking members of the Senate committee offered different interpretations on political pressures on the intelligence community. "The committee found no evidence that the intelligence community's mischaracterization or exaggeration of intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of politics or pressure," Roberts said. But Rockefeller said the intelligence report "fails to fully explain" the pressures on the intelligence community "when the most senior officials in the Bush administration had already forcefully and repeatedly stated their conclusions publicly." "It was clear to all of us in this room who were watching that -- and to many others -- that they had made up their mind that they were going to go to war," he said. Rockefeller said the administration's position was that Iraq stockpiled weapons and actively pursued a nuclear weapons program, and that it "might use its alliances with terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, to use these weapons to strike at the United States." Rockefeller said that "no evidence existed of Iraq's complicity or assistance in al Qaeda's terrorist attacks, including 9/11." Rockefeller: War based on 'false claims' "Let me just finish by saying ... [there was] an emphasis on this relentless public campaign prior to the war, which repeatedly characterized the Iraqi weapons program in more ominous and threatening terms than any intelligence would have allowed," he said. "In short, we went to war in Iraq based on false claims." Roberts said President Bush and Congress sent the country to war based on "flawed" information provided by the intelligence community. He said the panel concluded that the intelligence community suffered "from what we call a collective group think, which led analysts and collectors and managers to presume that Iraq had active and growing WMD programs." Roberts said this "group think caused the community to interpret ambiguous evidence, such as the procurement of dual-use technology, as conclusive evidence of the existence of WMD programs." He said the most troubling finding was the lack of human intelligence in Iraq. "Most alarmingly, after 1998 and the exit of the U.N. inspectors, the CIA had no human intelligence sources inside Iraq who were collecting against the WMD target," Roberts said. He said most of the problems come from a "broken corporate culture and poor management and cannot be solved by simply adding funding and also personnel." The report is critical of departing CIA Director George Tenet for his handling of intelligence on Iraq. Tenet has resigned and leaves office Sunday. Roberts also called intelligence failures before the war "global" and not confined to the United States. CNN's David Ensor contributed to this report. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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