Senate Report Accuses CIA Chiefs
over Wmd Claims
By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York
Shaky intelligence about the threat posed by
Iraq was exaggerated by the CIA in the run up to war, according to a
classified report published today.
Vague details about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were
turned into firm warnings, while unreliable sources were taken at
their word, according to a US Senate report.
The report criticises CIA director George Tenet and other top
intelligence officials over their pre-war estimate of the threat posed
by Saddam Hussein.
The intelligence estimate said Iraq possessed chemical and biological
But nearly a year after the war began there is still no evidence that
Iraq had stockpiled such weapons in recent years.
The damning report by the Senate Intelligence Committee comes amid
bickering between politicians and spy chiefs about who was to blame
for the apparently wrong intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass
According to the USA Today newspaper, Republicans and Democrats on the
committee have agreed on its key findings.
They concluded that the CIA must improve both its human and electronic
“The picture in regards to intelligence is not very flattering,”
said Republican Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the committee.
The intelligence estimate was sent to the US Congress shortly before a
vote authorising the use of force against Iraq.
The estimate said Iraq “has chemical and biological weapons”.
It said “if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon
during this decade”.
According to the Senate report, the CIA used satellite images of
convoys, phone intercepts of Iraqi officials talking about chemical
war, and information from human sources.
But it apparently ignored the fact that there was little evidence what
the convoys were carrying, that the talk of chemical war may have been
in preparation for a defence, rather than an attack, and that many
human sources were unreliable.
The report accuses Mr Tenet and the CIA of presenting the worst-case
Speaking yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell, told ABC’s This
Week: “We were presenting to the world the facts as we understood
from our intelligence analysis.” President George Bush formed a
separate commission of inquiry earlier this year to investigate
It came after Dr David Kay resigned as top US weapons inspector in
Iraq, saying he believed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction
would never be found.
He said the intelligence community and White House were “wrong” in
their belief that Saddam had such weapons in the several years leading
up to the war.