Senate Report Blasts Intelligence Agencies' Flaws
He said he expects President Bush to support the committee's calls for reform of the intelligence community.
"What he said [about Iraq's banned weapons] was what he got from the intelligence community, and what he got was wrong," Roberts said. "So he more than anybody will want to work with us" on reform efforts.
The thick report, which was heavily redacted by the CIA, represents the first phase of a two-part review of intelligence on Iraq. Left for the second phase -- in a second report likely to come out sometime next year -- is the issue of the Bush administration's use of the intelligence that was provided to it.
Before the report was issued, Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), a senior Democrat on the committee, said the document highlights "failures of leadership in the CIA." Despite the Bush administration's preparations to attack Iraq last year, Levin told NBC's "Today Show" this morning, "They just weren't ready at the CIA."
He added: "But I think it's also clear that they were shaping intelligence in order to meet the policy needs of the administration. There can't be much doubt about that as an explanation."
Interviewed on the same program, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) said that view "isn't fair" and does not represent the committee's unanimous conclusion.
She said, "What happened here was a systemic failure throughout the intelligence community. . . . There was no human intelligence operations. They didn't place a priority on it. So there was failure across the board within the community.
"No analyst is going to say they changed their view as a result of specific pressure," Levin countered. "No analyst is going to admit that. But there is no doubt and this report reflects the fact that there was tremendous pressure inside the agency. As a matter of fact, Tenet himself said, and this report reflects that, that he was told by analysts that they were under tremendous pressure. And what Tenet said is, well, in that case, just try to ignore that pressure. But the pressure was clearly there."
Yesterday, Levin said in a press conference that the report "does not purport to address the central issue of the administration's exaggerations of the intelligence that was provided to them by the CIA. That issue is left for the second phase of the Intelligence Committee's investigation."
Levin said that "many, many questions that we have asked the CIA remain unanswered. . . ." But one question that was answered only Wednesday, he said, "demonstrates that it was the administration, not the CIA, that exaggerated the relations between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda."
He said the CIA found that, contrary to assertions by Vice President Cheney and other officials, there was no credible information that a purported meeting in Prague in April 2001 between an Iraqi intelligence agent and Mohamed Atta, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, actually occurred.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company