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'Intelligence Fiasco' Stirs Up the Korean Peninsula

Intelligence Analysts Whiffed on a 'Curveball'

WMDs: Doubts on Weapons Were Dismissed

WMD Commission: Yet Another Intelligence Failure

Intelligence Agencies' Record on Weapons


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Intelligence Agencies' Record on Weapons

Thursday, March 31, 2005 Last updated 11:43 a.m. PT

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Before the Iraq invasion, the Bush administration asserted that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons and was developing nuclear weapons. Officials also alleged Iraq was working on prohibited long-range missiles and drones that could disperse biological agents.

The presidential intelligence commission examined each of the U.S. intelligence community's prewar assertions on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and reached these conclusions:

Nuclear weapons: Wrong.

Analysts wrongly interpreted the purpose of some metal tubes Iraq tried to import, arguing they were for centrifuges to enrich uranium when they were for conventional artillery rockets. Other imports of materials with more than one potential use were also similarly misinterpreted.

Biological weapons: Wrong.

Agencies trusted several Iraqi defectors who were lying, ignoring inconsistencies in their statements and other warning signs that these defectors were providing false information.

Chemical weapons: Wrong.

The intelligence community drew its conclusions from satellite photos of trucks and buildings and other sources that were suspicious but ultimately ambiguous, and trusted human sources who made claims that Saddam had accomplished things that are technically impossible.

Long-range missiles: Correct.

Saddam was in fact working on missiles that exceeded range limitations imposed by the United Nations after the first Gulf War.

WMD-armed drones: Wrong.

Analysts concluded the drones were for WMD based on limited information; Iraq's drones turned out to be for reconnaissance.

Saddam's intentions: Wrong.

Intelligence agencies did not seriously consider Saddam could have given up his WMD ambitions and destroyed his stockpiles. Although several intelligence sources asserted before the war that Iraq did not have any WMD, U.S. analysts regarded this as disinformation.

 

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