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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 01:36 GMT 02:36 UK
CIA reviews Iraq intelligence
By Justin Webb
BBC correspondent in Washington

The CIA is to conduct an inquiry into intelligence assessments of Iraq before the war.

US troops examine a suspected mobile weapons facility recovered in northern Iraq
No proof of banned weapons has yet been found in Iraq
Officials say the inquiry was planned even before the war took place.

But critics of the agency have been suggesting that alleged evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was exaggerated in order to make the case for war.

The review is being conducted by four retired senior intelligence analysts.

It will look at the work of the Central Intelligence Agency and other American intelligence bodies in the run-up to the war.

According to one official it will ask "How did we do?", "What did we get right?", "What didn't we get right?"

The president's spokesman said such exercises were a common and healthy practice.

But the inquiry comes as the Bush administration finds itself under ever increasing pressure to explain why it has been unable to provide evidence on the ground in Iraq to back up its very precise claims about weapons of mass destruction made before the war.

Some CIA operatives have claimed privately that war intelligence provided by the agency was not essentially flawed but was exaggerated and misused by politicians.

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