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Bush Creates Iraq Intelligence Commission - 2004-02-07


President Bush has appointed a commission to investigate pre-war intelligence on Iraq and review other intelligence operations.

Mr. Bush signed an executive order creating the nine-member bipartisan commission today (Friday). He said results of the group's work will be released in March of next year.

The commission will review intelligence on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It is also charged with looking at security information regarding North Korea, Iran, Libya and Afghanistan.

The president said part of the commission's work is to find out why pre-war intelligence on Iraq differed from what is now known. But Mr. Bush did not say that it would work to find out what was done with the information by political leaders, as many critics of the Bush administration have insisted.

Some Democrats contend that a truly bipartisan, independent committee cannot be put together by the president in an election year.

They are also complaining the president is playing politics by ordering results from the inquiry to come out after the election.

On Thursday, the front-running Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, called for information to come out quickly, adding Mr. Bush must not play politics with national security.

The president initially dismissed calls for an inquiry on intelligence matters. But he has been under increasing pressure following revelations by the former U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, that pre-war intelligence was "almost all wrong."

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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