Report critical of prewar intelligence

Report critical of prewar intelligence

New York Times

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Washington — A bipartisan Senate report to be issued Friday that is highly critical of prewar intelligence on Iraq will sidestep the question of how the Bush administration used that information to make the case for war, congressional officials said Wednesday. But Democrats are maneuvering to raise the issue in separate statements.

Under a deal reached this year between Republicans and Democrats, the Bush administration’s role will not be addressed until the Senate Intelligence Committee completes a further stage of its inquiry, and probably not until after the November election. As a result, the officials said, the committee’s initial, unanimous report will focus solely on misjudgments by intelligence agencies, not the White House, in the assessments about Iraq, illicit weapons and al-Qaida that the administration used as a rationale for the war.

The effect may be to provide an opening for President Bush and his allies to deflect responsibility for what now appear to be exaggerated prewar assessments about the threat posed by Iraq, by portraying them as the fault of the CIA and its departing chief, George J. Tenet, rather than Bush and his top aides.

The unanimous report by the panel will say there is no evidence that intelligence officials were subjected to pressure to reach particular conclusions about Iraq.

The plan to release the “Report on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq” on Friday was announced Wednesday by the committee.

The public version of the report will include more than 80% of a classified, 410-page version approved unanimously by the committee, the officials said.

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