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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
Senate Committee report: Key excerpts

Key points from the US Senate Intelligence Committee report criticising the country's intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA, for the quality of their pre-war information on Iraq.


Most of the major key judgements in the intelligence community's (IC) October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq's Continuing Programmes for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting.

A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterisation of the intelligence.

The IC did not accurately or adequately explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind the judgements in the October 2002 NIE.


The IC suffered from a collective presumption that Iraq had an active and growing WMD programme.

This "group think" dynamic led IC analysts, collectors and managers to both interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD programme as well as ignore or minimise evidence that Iraq did not have active and expanding WMD programmes.

In a few significant instances, the analysis in the NIE suffers from a "layering" effect whereby assessments were built on previous judgements without carrying forward the uncertainties of the underlying judgements.


The committee found significant shortcomings in almost every aspect of the IC's human intelligence collection efforts (about) Iraq's WMD activities, in particular that the community had no sources collecting (about) WMD in Iraq after 1998.

Most, if not all, of these problems stem from a broken corporate culture and poor management and will not be solved by additional funding and personnel.

Because the US lacked an official presence inside Iraq, the IC depended too heavily on defectors and foreign government services to obtain... information of Iraq's WMD activities... these sources... had a limited ability to provide the kind of detailed intelligence about current Iraqi WMD sought by US policymakers...

Their credibility was difficult to assess and was often left to the foreign government services to judge.


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ... abused its unique position in the IC, particularly in terms of information sharing, to the detriment of the IC's pre-war analysis concerning Iraq's WMD programmes.


IC analysis lacked a consistent post-September 11 approach to analysing and reporting on terrorist threats.

Source protection policies within the IC direct or encourage reports officers to exclude relevant detail about the nature of their sources... analysts community-wide are unable to make fully informed judgements about the information they receive, relying instead on non-specific course lines to reach their assessments.

The IC relies too heavily on foreign government services and third party reporting, thereby increasing the potential for manipulation of US policy by foreign interests.


The language in the October 2002 NIE that "Iraq also began vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake" overstated what the IC knew about Iraq's possible procurement attempts.

The CIA comments and assessments about the Iraq-Niger uranium reporting were inconsistent and, at times, contradictory.

The director of Central Intelligence should have taken the time to read the State of the Union speech and fact check it himself.

Had he done so, he would have been able to alert the National Security Council if he still had concerns about the use of the Iraq-Niger uranium reporting in a presidential speech.


The committee believes that the judgement in the NIE that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear programme was not supported by the intelligence.

The statement in the NIE that the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission was "expanding the infrastructure - research laboratories, production facilities and procurement networks - to produce nuclear weapons" is not supported by the intelligence provided to the committee.


The statement of the key judgements of the October 2002 NIE that "Baghdad has... chemical weapons" overstated both what was known about Iraq's chemical weapons holdings and what intelligence analysts judged about Iraq's chemical weapons holdings.


The committee did not find any evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgements related to Iraq's WMD capabilities.


The CIA assessment on safe haven - that al-Qaeda or associated operatives were present in Baghdad and in north-eastern Iraq in an area under Kurdish control - was reasonable.

The CIA assessment that to date there was no evidence proving Iraqi complicity or assistance in al al-Qaeda attack was reasonable and objective. No additional information has emerged to suggest otherwise.


The committee found that none of the analysts or other people interviewed by the committee said that they were pressured to change their conclusions related to Iraq's links to terrorism.

After 9/11, however, analysts were under tremendous pressure to make correct assessments, to avoid missing a credible threat, and to avoid an intelligence failure on the scale of 9/11.

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