NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating
questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have
students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion
questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org]
for possible publication.
are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Story: Panel to Investigate
Iraq Intelligence: 2/02/04
1. How does the United States
find out about what is going on in hostile countries such as Saddam Hussein's
2. What was the argument President
Bush used to go to war in Iraq?
3. Is it important to know
if the prewar intelligence in Iraq was accurate? Does it change your opinion
of the war there? Why or why not?
Reading Comprehension Questions:
(click here for printout)
1. What did President Bush
announce on Monday? What reasons did he give?
On Monday President Bush
said he would call for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate
intelligence failures in Iraq but defended his decision to go to war.
"I want all the facts.
We do know that Saddam Hussein had the intent and capabilities to cause
great harm, we know he was a danger.
He slaughtered thousands
of people," the president said.
2. What led to the president's
Last week, former chief
U.S. weapons inspector David Kay told Congress that prewar weapons intelligence
assessments on Iraq, which led to the American invasion, was flawed.
"My view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq
indeed had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out we were all wrong,
probably, in my judgment, and that is most disturbing," Kay said.
During the hearing Kay
also urged Congress to begin an investigation into why the intelligence
in Iraq was wrong.
3. Who is Sen. John Kerry and
what has he said about the Iraq war intelligence?
John Kerry is the front-runner
in the Democratic presidential race. Sen. Kerry has said Mr. Bush, Vice
President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell chose intelligence
that supported their case against Saddam Hussein, "misleading"
Congress during the debate over whether to authorize military action
4. According to President Bush, what will the investigative commission
In addition to examining
the possible misjudgments in Iraq, the panel will examine problems in
gathering information in such secretive regimes as North Korea and Iran
as well as stateless groups such as terrorists.
"What we don't know
yet is (reconciling) what we thought and what the Iraq Survey Group
has found, and we want to look at that," the president said. "But
we also want to look at our war against proliferation and weapons of
mass destruction, kind of in a broader context."
5. What did former weapons
inspector David Kay say about some of the problems in intelligence gathering?
David Kay summed up some
of the problems in intelligence gathering in a discussion with Jim Lehrer
on the NewsHour last week.
"We are not very
good as a nation in our intelligence capability at reading the most
fundamental secrets of a society, what are its capabilities, what are
its intentions? You can't photograph those. You need Americans on the
ground penetrating those societies and people who are speaking their
languages," Kay said.
Discussion Questions (more
research might be needed):
1. How would knowing that U.S. information about Iraq's weapons programs
was incorrect, or at least incomplete, impact your opinions about the
war in Iraq? President Bush? U.S. intelligence?
2. How can this commission
impact the 2004 presidential election? Provide both positive and negative
concrete examples for each political party.
3. David Kay explained how
U.S. intelligence can be improved. He said,"You need Americans on
the ground penetrating those societies and people who are speaking their
languages." How can the United States begin to improve in this area?
Send your answers, in essay
form, to email@example.com for