Report says Iraq didn't have WMD

Geege geege at
Thu Jan 8 17:59:22 PST 2004

witness the mass distraction?
  -----Original Message-----
  From: fork-bounces at [mailto:fork-bounces at]On Behalf Of
Elias Sinderson
  Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 1:35 PM
  To: FoRK List
  Subject: Report says Iraq didn't have WMD

  Uhmm... Anyone care to comment on the following?


  Report says Iraq didn't have WMD
  Author: Political pressure influenced intelligence before war

  Thursday, January 8, 2004 Posted: 12:52 PM EST (1752 GMT)

  WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iraq had ended its weapons of mass destruction
programs by the mid-1990s
  and did not pose an immediate threat to the United States before the
  war, according to a report released Thursday.

  Bush administration officials likely pushed U.S. intelligence assessors
  to conform with its view the country posed an impending danger, said one
  of the authors of the study.

  The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace -- a nonpartisan,
  respected group that opposed the war in Iraq -- conducted the study.

  It follows a nine-month search in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction
  -- nuclear, biological and chemical -- the key reason the administration
  cited in its decision to invade Iraq.

  "We looked at the intelligence assessment process, and we've come to the
  conclusion that it is broken," author Joseph Cirincione said Thursday on
  CNN's "American Morning."

  "It is very likely that intelligence officials were pressured by senior
  administration officials to conform their threat assessments to
  pre-existing policies."

  The report says that the "dramatic shift between prior intelligence
  assessments and the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE),
  together with the creation of an independent intelligence entity at the
  Pentagon and other steps, suggest that the intelligence community began
  to be unduly influenced by policymakers' views sometime in 2002."

  More than 1,000 U.S. inspectors have worked daily since before the war
  began in March, searching the country and interviewing scientists and
  other Iraqi officials, according to Cirincione.

  "We found nothing," Cirincione said. "There are no large stockpiles of
  weapons. There hasn't actually been a find of a single weapon, a single
  weapons agent, nothing like the programs that the administration believe

  The Carnegie report based its conclusions on information gleaned from
  declassified U.S. intelligence documents about Iraq from U.N. weapons
  inspectors and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear
  watchdog for the United Nations. The endowment also said the study used
  statements from the Bush administration and corroborated reports from
  the news media.

  The report also accuses the Bush administration of misrepresenting the
  threat from Iraqi WMDs by "treating nuclear, chemical and biological
  weapons as a single 'WMD threat'" instead of characterizing the threats
  from the three types separately. It says the Bush administration also
  insisted "without evidence -- yet treating as a given truth -- that
  Saddam Hussein would give whatever WMD he possessed to terrorists."

  Cirincione said the study "is the first comprehensive review of
  everything we knew or thought we knew about weapons of mass destruction
  in Iraq, and it turns out that some of the things we thought were
  working -- our threat assessments -- we're deeply flawed."

  "We exaggerated the threat. We worst-cased it and then acted as if that
  worst case was the most likely case."

  However, Cirincione also said other systems put in place to prohibit
  Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction were working
  better than experts thought at the time.

  Iraq's "programs were crippled by years of [U.N.] inspections and U.S.
  military strikes," he said, "and the sanctions that prevented them from
  getting anything going at all."

  Cirincione said one reason for the apparent lack of progress in the
  Iraqi weapons programs was because Iraqi scientists were "telling Saddam
  that they were further along than they actually were."

  "Apparently that was picked up by some of the Iraqi defectors who came
  to the U.S. telling stories of elaborate advanced weapons programs," he

  "So the defectors were fooled, Saddam was fooled, but as it turns out
  Saddam himself had made the decision -- as far as we can tell -- in the
  mid-'90s to shut down these programs."

  U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told ABC News' "Nightline" on
  Wednesday that there is no way to know for sure what weapons were or
  were not in Iraq at the time.

  In a dramatic display last year before the war, Powell presented the
  U.N. Security Council with U.S. intelligence information about alleged
  Iraqi weapons.

  "Everything we have seen over those years since they actually used these
  weapons in 1988 led us to the conclusion, led the intelligence community
  to the conclusion that they still had intent, they still had capability
  and they were not going to give up that capability," said Powell,
  apparently referring to Saddam's gassing of the Kurds in Iraq.

  "And the intelligence community to this day stands behind the judgments
  that were made and that were presented to the world, presented to the
  Congress and presented to the American people through the national
  intelligence estimate, and that I presented before the Security

  The Carnegie report isn't "a gotcha study" seeking to blame officials,
  Cirincione said. "We're trying to prevent it from happening in the
  future," he said.

  "We recommend the formation of a senior blue ribbon commission to
  examine this in an independent, nonpartisan way and make recommendations
  for how to insulate intelligence assessors from political pressures,"
  Cirincione said.

  "We don't know what happened in the offices of the administration, but
  there's a lot of evidence that points to" intelligence assessors being
  pressured by their bosses.
  Politiks mailing list
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