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Prewar Iraq Intelligence Report Delayed

Global Security Newswire

A congressional investigation into U.S. intelligence on prewar Iraq might not be completed until after November elections, the Washington Post reported yesterday (see GSN, June 30).

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has yet to complete the work, even though Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the document was nearly finished nine months ago. Committee sources, however, said work on the report largely began in November after Democrats protested the slow pace of the investigation. Two of its five sections are ready for a panel vote, according to staffers.

The delay in part is the result of Roberts’ desire to allow members to contribute, said spokeswoman Sarah Ross Little. She the two completed sections would be made public “when they are approved by the committee and have been declassified,” ahead of the other three still in progress.

The section Democrats are most concerned about examines the administration’s considerations of prewar intelligence, as well as officials’ public characterizations of that evidence. It is not yet in draft form and might not be released until after November elections, staffers said.

The first part of the committee’s report was issued in 2004, the Post reported. That investigation found that U.S. intelligence had overestimated prewar Iraq’s weapons arsenal. The second phase is now expected to focus on the White House use of intelligence and public statements about the threat.

Staff members said the portion of the inquiry on the Pentagon’s Special Plans Office, which stopped cooperating with the Senate panel last year, is on hold pending a separate investigation by the Defense Department’s inspector general (Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, July 30).