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    29 March 2005


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    A presidential commission assigned to look into the intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war will recommend a series of changes intended to encourage more dissent within the nation's spy agencies and better organize the government's multi-tentacled fight against terrorism, officials said yesterday.

    Mr. president wont like that one bit!


    Bush appointed the panel, officially known as the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, in February 2004 after initially resisting any further examination of the assessments that preceded his decision to invade Iraq.

    Like other studies, the commission report offers a scathing review of the CIA for concluding that Saddam Hussein had secret weapons that ultimately were never found, while also taking aim at the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other agencies, according to officials. In addition, it examines the performance of intelligence agencies in Iran, North Korea, Libya and Pakistan, but the Iran and North Korea sections remain classified.

    The White House, while refusing to disclose the contents of the report, embraced it yesterday as the authoritative account of what went wrong in Iraq. Bush was briefed on the report yesterday by aides who have reviewed it. The president will meet with the panel's co-chairmen, Senior U.S. Appeals Court Judge Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.), at the White House tomorrow and then join the two at a briefing for reporters.

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan praised the report as "a very thorough job" and suggested that Bush would adopt many, though not necessarily all, of its ideas. "We will carefully consider the recommendations and act quickly on the recommendations, as well," he told reporters at his daily briefing. "They build upon the steps we've already taken to improve our intelligence-sharing and -gathering."

    But McClellan offered no second thoughts about the Iraq war despite the intelligence failures documented in the commission report. "Saddam Hussein's regime was creating instability in the region, and we are better off with his regime out of power," he said.

    Just admit you are wrong! Powell did...

    Nope they suppress further damage...

    gorilla's diary
    Pat Roberts, the Senate intelligence committee chairman, told everyone not to bother. "It's basically on the back burner," Roberts said after a speech on intelligence reform at the Woodrow Wilson Center. "The bottom line is that [the administration] believed the intelligence, and the intelligence was wrong." Some might dispute that characterization, as former CIA Director George Tenet did last year when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee--on which Roberts also serves--that "when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it."

    Besides, Roberts added, the "WMD Commission in March will lay it all out." That would be the commission President Bush appointed last February to deflect political heat on the Iraq intelligence debacle--and which doesn't look at policymakers' role in either intelligence production or public representation. As Vice President Cheney recently told Fox News, the WMD Commission's mandate has expanded recently to provide guidance on how to implement the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which Roberts emphasized--and not without good reason--will be his oversight priority during the next congress. Iraq--already only one aspect of the commission's focus from the start--has been decreasing in priority for the secretive commission. When I asked spokesman Larry McQuillan recently whether the WMD Commission whether would provide closure on the Iraq intelligence failures, his answer wasn't encouraging: "We're going contribute to the understanding of what happened in Iraq. It's for others to decide whether that's closure." But since Roberts' decision to essentially scotch the second phase of the Senate inquiry makes the WMD Commission's forthcoming report the last official review of prewar intelligence--and with that report, McQuillan adds, "most of what is found is not going to be released to the public"--we may not have much choice in the matter.

    Why would you not want to investigate something that was so wrong?

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