Congressional Investigation of Pre-Iraq War Intelligence

Materials presented in chronological order.

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Priest. "Lawmakers Begin Iraq Intelligence Hearings." Washington Post, 19 Jun. 2003, A16. []

On 18 June 2003, "[t]he House and Senate intelligence committees began closed-door hearings ... on the intelligence that provided the basis for the U.S.-led attack on Iraq, as President Bush and his top policymakers continued to defend their decision to go to war despite the continuing failure to find chemical or biological weapons or indications of a reconstituted nuclear arms program in Iraq."

Gellman, Barton, and Walter Pincus. "Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence." Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2003, A1. []

Priest, Dana. "House Probers Conclude Iraq War Data Was Weak." Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2003, A1. []

"Leaders of the House intelligence committee have criticized the U.S. intelligence community for using largely outdated, 'circumstantial' and 'fragmentary' information with 'too many uncertainties' to conclude that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda." The criticism is contained in a letter sent on 25 September 2003 by the committee chair and the ranking Democrat to DCI George J. Tenet. See also, Carl Hulse and David E. Sanger, "New Criticism on Prewar Use of Intelligence," New York Times, 29 Sep. 2003.

Priest, Dana. "Inquiry Faults Intelligence on Iraq: Threat From Saddam Hussein Was Overstated, Senate Committee Report Finds." Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2003, A1. []

According to congressional sources, "[t]he Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is preparing a blistering report on prewar intelligence on Iraq that is critical of CIA Director George J. Tenet and other intelligence officials for overstating the weapons and terrorism case against Saddam Hussein.... The committee staff was surprised by the amount of circumstantial evidence and single-source or disputed information used to write key intelligence documents -- in particular the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate -- summarizing Iraq's capabilities and intentions."

Jehl, Douglas. "C.I.A. Disputes Accusations that Its Prewar Conclusions on Iraq Arms Were Flawed." New York Times, 25 Oct. 2003. []

The CIA "responded angrily" on 24 October 2003 "to new Congressional criticism of its handling of prewar intelligence about Iraq's suspected illicit weapons program. At a briefing at C.I.A. headquarters, four senior intelligence officials said that a top-secret internal review now underway had found no evidence of faulty work."

Priest, Dana. "Panel Issues Broad Demand for Iraq Intelligence Data." Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2003, A18. []

"The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is investigating the quality of prewar intelligence on Iraq, sent stern letters" on 30 October 2003 to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell "demanding that they produce previously requested documents and allow interviews to be scheduled by noon" on 31 October 2003. A "toughly worded letter" was sent to DCI George Tenet on 29 October 2003, "giving him the same noon deadline ... to turn over requested documents."

Pincus, Walter. "[Senate] Panel to See Prewar CIA Memos on Iraq: White House Agrees on Release." Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2003, A24. []

A White House official said on 4 November 2003 that "[t]he White House will agree to share with the Senate intelligence committee CIA memos from October 2002 that warned the White House against saying that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium in Africa."

Isikoff, Michael. "PDB Battle Heats Up." Newsweek, 10 Nov. 2003, 8.

After battling for months demands by the national 9/11 commission for the President's Daily Briefs (PDBs) from the summer of 2001, the White House is now being pressed to see them as well by Senate investigators looking at pre-Iraq-war intelligence. "White House hard-liners ... insist any accommodation on PDBs will set a dangerous precedent; one insider calls the documents the 'crown jewels' of executive privilege." At the same time, "the 9/11 commission is threatening" to subpoena the PDBs. Thus far, "commissioners have refused to accept an offer to let only the panel's chair and vice chair, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, review them in private."

Pincus, Walter. "Memo Exacerbates Defense-CIA Strains: Clues on Al Qaeda-Hussein Ties at Issue." Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2003, A34. []

"A leaked top-secret memo that Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith sent the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last month listing and analyzing raw intelligence reports on alleged connections between Iraq and al Qaeda has reopened a long-simmering behind-the-scenes battle between Pentagon and CIA officials.... The memo was put together in response to a request by the Senate committee chairman and vice chairman after Feith had told them in a closed hearing last July that intelligence reports discovered by his analysts 'on the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda were not reflected in finished intelligence products' put out by the CIA and other agencies, according to senior administration officials and congressional sources."

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