Saturday, June 21, 2003

Move along, please. Nothing to see here.

Yet another report is casting doubt about the government's intelligence on Iraq before the war. As U.S. News revealed earlier this month, the Defense Intelligence Agency in a September assessment found "no reliable information" on Iraq's production of chemical weapons. Top Bush administration officials later said that line was taken out of context. But it turns out that in November the agency repeated its conclusion in a classified report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, U.S. News has learned. "No reliable information indicates whether Iraq is producing or stockpiling chemical weapons or where the country has or will establish its chemical agent production facility," the second report states. This means the DIA analysts remained cautious even after their bosses signed off on an October National Intelligence Estimate, a joint assessment by the U.S. intelligence community, which concluded that Iraq did in fact possess chemical and biological weapons. Both DIA reports noted suspicious arms transfers, but a spokesman says: "There was no single piece of irrefutable data that said Saddam definitely has it."