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Bush Orders Pre-War Iraqi Intelligence Inquiry - 2004-02-07


President Bush has announced a bipartisan commission to investigate U.S. intelligence failures, specifically regarding intelligence prior to the Iraq war on weapons of mass destruction.

With an executive order, President Bush created this independent panel, which includes both Democrats and Republicans.

"To look at American intelligence capabilities, especially our intelligence about weapons of mass destruction," Mr. Bush said.

The announcement comes just days after the former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq concluded Baghdad probably did not have large stockpiles of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, which the Bush administration used as its main justification for going to war.

The panel's investigation will go beyond Iraq to examine possible intelligence gaps involving other countries that U.S. officials say have been working to obtain weapons of mass destruction, or where terrorists have found haven. The president calls proliferation of such weapons the most serious threat to world peace.

"It will review our intelligence programs on countries such as North Korea and Iran. It will examine our intelligence on threats posed by Libya and Afghanistan before recent changes in those countries," President Bush said.

Former Democratic Senator Charles Robb and retired federal judge Laurence Silberman will head the panel, which will have until March of next year to complete its work and issue recommendations.

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