Bush misused Iraq intelligence says US report
Washington, June 5, 2008
US President George W Bush and his top policymakers exaggerated Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism and ignored doubts among intelligence agencies about Iraq's arms programs as they made their case for war, a Senate committee reported on Thursday.
The Senate intelligence committee said in a study that major Bush administration statements that Iraq had a partnership with al Qaeda and provided it with weapons training were unsupported by intelligence, and sometimes contradicted it.
It also said statements on Iraq's weapons before the March 2003 US-led invasion were substantiated in most cases by available US intelligence, but that they failed to reflect internal debate over those findings.
The long-delayed Senate study supported previous reports and findings that the administration's main case for war -- that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- was inaccurate and deeply flawed.
"The president and his advisors undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the (Sept. 11, 2001) attacks to use the war against al Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein," intelligence committee chairman John Rockefeller said in written commentary on the report.
"Representing to the American people that the two had an operational partnership and posed a single, indistinguishable threat was fundamentally misleading and led the nation to war on false pretenses."
The report also cited at least one statement -- by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, that the Iraqi government operated underground weapons of mass destruction facilities -- that was not backed up by intelligence information.
The committee voted 10-5 to approve the report, with two Republican lawmakers supporting it. Sen Christopher Bond and three other Republican panel members denounced the study in an attached dissent as a "partisan exercise."
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino cited Republican objections to the report, but said the issue of inaccurate intelligence had been previously aired.
"We had the intelligence that we had, fully vetted, but it was wrong. We certainly regret that and we've taken measures to fix it," Perino said.
US public opinion, supportive of the war at the start, has soured on the war in the last few years, contributing to a dive in Bush's popularity. - Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Malaysia police probe flight engineer
- Moscow wins overwhelming Crimea vote
- Syria rebel bastion near Lebanon falls
- Russia 'can turn US to radioactive ash'
- Malaysia formally asks for international help
- MASSACRE: Gunmen kill 100 in central Nigeria
- Tense Crimea votes on Russia referendum
- Libyan port rebels say ready for talks
- India puts on hold search for missing plane
- Alibaba plans US listing in third-quarter
- Lost airliner was diverted deliberately: Malaysian PM
- Saudi demands Qatar shut down Al Jazeera
- Labour stalwart Benn dies aged 88
- Bahrain boat show postponed over development work
- Korean steel maker Posco set for revamp
- Harsh winter hits US consumer sentiment
- Sanctions set as Russia presses on with Crimea takeover
- India inflation at nine-month low
- Missing plane: It's deliberate act says Malaysia PM
- Lost plane 'flown deliberately toward Andamans'
- Gold hits fresh six-month highs
- Iran not open for business, affirms Kerry
- Barclays 'to cut thousands of jobs'
- Jet sent 'pings' after going missing
- China premier warns on economic slowdown
- Gunmen fire on army bus in Cairo, 1 killed
- Lost jet 'may have flown for four hours'
- Gold up as Ukraine, China prompt safe-haven bids
- Search finds no sign of lost plane at suspect spot
- Missing jet may have strayed to Andaman