WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released two out of five sections of its Phase II report that seeks to understand how intelligence was prepared and used by policy makers in the lead up to the war with Iraq.
The two reports released today address: 1) a comparison of prewar assessments with postwar findings on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program and potential links to al-Qa’ida terrorists; and 2) the role of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in providing prewar intelligence.
Phase II builds on the Committee’s July 2004 report on the Intelligence Community’s failures prior to the Iraq war.
In a statement today on the Senate floor, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said that, “The Committee’s investigation into prewar intelligence on Iraq has revealed that the Bush Administration’s case for war in Iraq was fundamentally misleading. The Administration pursued a deceptive strategy of using intelligence reporting that the Intelligence Community had already warned was uncorroborated, unreliable, and in critical instances, fabricated.”
Rockefeller added, “These reports are about accountability. They are about identifying the mistakes that led us to war, and they are about making sure those mistakes never happen again.
“These reports lay out the facts and show that the Administration did not use intelligence the way it was intended – to inform policy makers. Instead, Administration officials cherry-picked, exaggerated, or ignored intelligence to justify the decision they had already made to go to war with Iraq.”
The following are Key Judgments released in today’s reports:
1. Key Judgments of the Report Comparing Pre-War Intelligence to Post-war Findings:
- Iraq did not provide any material or operational support to al-Qa’ida prior to the war.
- No evidence was found of any meeting between the Iraq regime and al-Qa’ida before the war other than a single meeting that took place in 1995 in the Sudan, and that meeting did not lead to any operational support.
- Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa’ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime. He refused all al-Qa’ida requests and issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al-Qa’ida.
- Iraq was not aware of al-Zarqawi’s presence in Baghdad in 2002 until alerted by a foreign government. Saddam Hussein viewed al-Zarqawi as an outlaw and attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture him. Al-Zarqawi left in November 2002 and did not return to Baghdad until after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime.
- The Intelligence Community was correct that there was no connection to 9/11, no indication that Saddam Hussein intended to use al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist group to strike the U.S.
- The claim that Iraq provided al-Qa’ida with training in chemical and biological weapons prior to the war was false and based on the reporting of a single source, al-Libi, whom the Defense Intelligence Agency warned as early as February 2002 was intentionally misleading his debriefers. The CIA concluded in February 2004 that al-Libi was a fabricator.
- The State Department was correct when they determined that there was not enough evidence to say that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear program.
- The State Department and the Department of Energy were correct that the aluminum tubes were not for a nuclear program.
- The Air Force was correct that Iraq’s UAVs were not for delivery of biological weapons.
2. Key Judgments of the Report on the Iraqi National Congress (INC)
- The INC attempted to influence U.S. policy on Iraq by providing false information through defectors.
- False information from the INC was used to support key Intelligence Community assessments.
- Intelligence Community use of INC information was a serious error.
- The Administration decision in July of 2002 to have the Pentagon fund the INC was ill-advised and done in spite of warnings that the INC was penetrated by hostile intelligence services and would use that relationship to promote its own agenda.
“Today’s reports show that the Administration’s repeated allegations of a past, present and future relationship between al-Qa’ida and Iraq were wrong and intended to exploit the deep sense of insecurity among Americans in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The Administration sought and succeeded in creating the false impression that al-Qa’ida and Iraq presented a single unified threat to the United States,” Rockefeller concluded.
The Committee has yet to complete the remaining three reports that deal with:
1) the quality of prewar intelligence assessments about postwar Iraq;
2) whether public statements and reports and testimony regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials made between the Gulf War period and the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom were substantiated by intelligence information;
3) any intelligence activities relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. (ends)
Click here to read the full report (Postwar Findings about Iraq's WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How they Compare with Prewar Assessments) on the Senate website (151 pages in PDF format)