CIA Report Offers Fresh Critiques of Iraq

CIA report offers fresh critiques of Iraq intelligence
By David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire
October 14, 2005

... the report appears to contradict two major conclusions in a report from ... the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

[Kerr Report:] ... [Team Bush's] views on Iraqi [WMD] and pressure for certain information might have affected the quality of analyses the intelligence community provided.

[CICUSRWMD] report ... found "no evidence of political pressure to influence the intelligence community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs."

[Kerr Report:] ... intelligence community [should've asked] whether Iraq may have abandoned [WMD] programs ...

[CICUSRWMD report] noted a failure "even to consider the possibility that Saddam Hussein would decide to destroy his chemical and biological weapons and to halt work on his nuclear program after the first Gulf War."

[Kerr Report:] ... the intelligence community might reasonably have concluded Iraqi WMD programs could have been abandoned given a paucity of information indicating they existed.

"Collection strategies should recognize the extreme difficulty of requiring such a regime to prove the negative in the face of assumptions that it is dissembling."
[--Kerr Report]

... the "Duelfer Report" ... concluded ... Iraq ... abandoned ... weapons and programs, was deliberately ambiguous [to maintain] deterrence ... had no intention of attacking the [US] ...

[Kerr Report:] ... pressure to satisfy ... requests for intelligence regarding suspected Iraqi weapons capabilities and links to al-Qaeda might have driven the intelligence community to cut corners and focus on providing the sought-after information rather than providing a more balanced picture.

"Eagerly responsive to quickly developed policy requirements, the quick and assured response gave the appearance of both knowledge and confidence that, in retrospect, was too high."
[--Kerr Report]

... Kerr report does not blame Bush administration ... "serious pressure from policy-makers almost always accompanies serious issues." [Intelligence Community] was satisfied to produce volumes of information that satisfied the intelligence consumers ...

"The extensive layers of critical management review that traditionally served to insure both the validity and standing of finished intelligence products seem to have been ineffective in identifying key issues affecting collection and analysis."
[--Kerr Report]

[Kerr Report:] ... daily, close intelligence community contacts with policy-makers may have led to the conveyance of intelligence less tempered with caveats than would appear in written reports.

"In the case of Iraq, daily briefings and other contacts at the highest levels undoubtedly influenced policy in ways that went beyond the coordinated analysis contained in the written product. Close and continuing personal contact, unfettered by the formal caveats that usually accompany written production, probably imparted a greater sense of certainty to analytic conclusions than the facts would bear."
[--Kerr Report]

... there "remains an open question" about whether "the climate of policy-level pressure" had "contributed to the problem of inconsistent analytic performance."
[--Kerr Report]

a "constant stream of questions" from [Team Bush] on possible Iraq-al Qaeda connections caused analysts to conduct exhaustive, repetitive searches for such links ... [yet] "no operational or collaborative relationship existed."

"Precisely because we've had such inadequate investigation of this intelligence failure, we still haven't learned the real lessons of what went wrong and it seems like this report has started to correct the balance." "There was conscious political effort to push the intelligence in a way that would support an already determined policy. And this report comes closer than any other in recognizing that fundamental reality."
[--Joseph Cirincione, nonproliferation director at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)]

2005 by National Journal Group Inc
(Source URL:
15 Oct 2005 by Simon W. Moon