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Tenet To Defend Pre-war Intelligence On Iraq - 2004-02-05


U.S. officials say Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet will defend pre-war assessments of Iraqi weapons in a speech today (Thursday) in Washington.

Officials say Mr. Tenet plans to assert there are "misperceptions and inaccuracies" about what the intelligence community reported, or did not report, regarding Iraq.

Critics have charged the administration presented a narrow view of the intelligence to make it appear Iraq posed an imminent danger to the United States.

The debate flared again recently after former chief U.S. weapons inspector--David Kay--said he believes there are no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

Officials say Mr. Tenet is likely to stress that the search for banned weapons in Iraq is not over and that it would be premature to reach conclusions about the ousted Iraqi regime's weapons capabilities.

Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also defended the administration's pre-war intelligence.

Speaking before the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee, Mr. Rumsfeld said inspectors still searching for weapons in Iraq might eventually find them. Noting that it took American forces 10 months to find Saddam Hussein, Mr. Rumsfeld said inspectors need more time.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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