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White House Ignored CIA Warnings on Iraq

Postwar Projections "had little or no impact on policy deliberations"

Declassified Kerr Report Available on National Security Archive Website

October 13, 2005

Links

"Director of Censored Intelligence"
by John Prados
TomPaine.com
October 12, 2005

"CIA review faults prewar plans"
by John Diamond
USA Today
October 12, 2005

"Report Says White House Ignored C.I.A. on Iraq Chaos"
by Douglas Jehl
New York Times
October 13, 2005

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Washington, D.C., October 13, 2005 - The White House disregarded intelligence projections on post-Saddam Iraq according to a newly-declassified CIA report, "Intelligence and Analysis on Iraq: Issues for the Intelligence Community," posted today on the website of the National Security Archive.

"In an ironic twist," the report finds, "the policy community was receptive to technical intelligence (the weapons program), where the analysis was wrong, but apparently paid little attention to intelligence on cultural and political issues (post-Saddam Iraq), where the analysis was right."

The report, from July 2004, is the third of three prepared by a group of intelligence experts led by Richard J. Kerr, a former deputy director of central intelligence, to examine the U.S. Intelligence Community's assessments in the months before the U.S. invasion. The first two reports remain classified despite the fact that many of their key findings are summarized in the July report and in unclassified reports produced by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The Kerr report also identifies a number of weaknesses in the Intelligence Community's analytical products, particularly the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraqi weapons programs, which the report says was prepared "under an unusually tight time constraint" and was "the product of three separate drafters, drawing from a mixed bag of analytic product." The October 2002 NIE was at the center of Bush administration claims about Iraq's weapons programs in the prewar period.

The report also finds that intelligence analysts were under constant pressure to find "links between Saddam and [al-Qa'ida]" causing them to take a "purposely aggressive approach" to the issue, "conducting exhaustive and repetitive searches for such links." No such ties were ever found, however, and "the Intelligence Community remained firm in its assessment that no operational or collaborative relationship existed."

The Kerr report was the subject of articles in USA Today and TomPaine.com on October 12 and is featured in an article by Douglas Jehl in today's New York Times. The text of the report was published this month with an edited introduction in the CIA's Studies in Intelligence journal (Vol. 49, No. 3). The complete, unedited version of the report was declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and appeal by National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson.

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