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Ex-Inspector Says C.I.A. Missed Disarray in Iraqi Arms Program

Read The New York Times' Jan. 24, 2004 interview with David Kay, conducted a few days after his resignation as head of the ISG team in Iraq. Kay discusses how chaos in Iraq's leadership, in particular, writes reporter James Risen, "an increasingly isolated and fantasy-riven Saddam Hussein," had corrupted Iraq's capability to develop banned programs and weapons. This disarray at the top level of the government was something the C.I.A. had failed to detect in the years leading up to the 2003 war.

"Spies, Lies and Weapons: What Went Wrong"

How could so many people have been so wrong about Iraq's WMD capability? Kenneth M. Pollack, in this January 2004 Atlantic Monthly article, offers a detailed examination of how and why he and others erred in estimating Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. Pollack had supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq and argued his reasons, as well as his reservations, in his influential 2002 book, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq. The Atlantic's site also features an interesting interview with Pollack.

Interim Progress Report of the Iraq Survey Group

This October 2003 preliminary report presents what David Kay's group has and has not found after being on the ground in Iraq since the summer. The report also summarizes the difficulties the ISG is encountering in the hunt for WMD weapons and programs. (The ISG's next report is due in late January 2004.)

WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications

This January 2004 report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace compares pre-war intelligence on WMD with the Bush adminstration's statements and the actual evidence uncovered since the Iraq invasion. Explore Chapter II, "Iraq's Capabilities," which has tables listing pre-war intelligence and post-war findings. The Carnegie report concludes that while Iraq had possessed capability to produce WMD at some point in the future, the Bush administration had exaggerated the WMD threat by downplaying caveats and uncertainties.

[Editor's Note: Secretary of State Colin Powell briefly addressed the Carnegie report's findings at a press conference on Jan. 8: "...the Carnegie report -- which I have not read, but I'm familiar with it from press accounts this morning -- said that there was that capability within Iraq and they were doing these kinds of things. And they believe that we perhaps overstated it, but they did not say it wasn't there. The fact of the matter is Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction and programs for weapons of mass destruction and used weapons of mass destruction against Iran and against their own people. That's a fact..."]

"Selective Intelligence"

Critics of the Bush administration charge that in the build-up to war with Iraq, policy makers were "cherry-picking" intelligence from CIA and other intelligence agencies, publicizing only the information that would bolster the case for war and ignoring contrary evidence. Richard Perle of the Defense Policy Board and Greg Thielmann, a former State Department intelligence official who is critical of the administration, address that charge in interviews from FRONTLINE's October 2003 report, "Truth, War and Consequences."

"The Logic of Intelligence Hype and Blindness"

The intelligence community had underestimated the threat of a terrorist attack like 9/11, but it had overestimated Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Both cases have one thing in common, says Bruce G. Blair, an expert on U.S. security policies. In both cases, the intelligence analysis process by which conclusions were reached was not only plausible, but reasonable, if one applies a rule of logic known as Baye's law.

The David Kelly Affair

Just a few days before he was due to join the Iraq Survey Group in July 2003, British scientist David Kelly committed suicide. His death was headline news in Britain for weeks and has led to a major governmental inquiry. New Yorker writer John Cassidy tells the story of this very private man caught in a political and media maelstrom which has sullied the reputation of the BBC and unravelled the Blair government's publicly stated case for going to war in Iraq.

The Hutton Inquiry Web Site

Lord Hutton is heading Britain's investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. David Kelly. How often does a national investigation such as his publish online thousands of pages of the evidence received -- and this before the final report is released? Explore the evidence and many other details of the inquiry on his web site. Lord Hutton's report will be released on Jan. 28, 2004, and, of course, will also be on the site.

Speech to the U.N. by Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5, 2003

Six weeks before the start of the war against Iraq, this speech (with video and pictures) laid out the administration's evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. (Also read President Bush's Sept. 12, 2002 address to the U.N. in which he stated that Saddam Hussein's regime "is a grave and gathering danger.")


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posted january 22, 2004; last updated january 26, 2004

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