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Debate About Iraq War Intelligence Escalates

The debate over information used by the Bush administration to justify the war in Iraq is escalating. Supporters and critics of the president's Iraq policy spoke out on the news interview programs that dominate Sunday morning television in the United States.

Two days after President Bush took on his critics in a speech to military veterans, his national security adviser followed up on national television.

Stephen Hadley acknowledged that some of the evidence used by the president to make the case for war in Iraq was flawed. But he stressed Mr. Bush did not manipulate the data to win support for his policies.

"Yes, we were all wrong in the intelligence. But to go back now and to argue that the president somehow manipulated intelligence, somehow misled the American people in a rush to war is flat wrong," Mr. Hadley says.

Appearing on CNN's Late Edition program, Mr. Hadley had harsh words for those who have made such allegations. He noted that neither the Senate Intelligence Committee, nor an independent commission set up to review intelligence community failures, accused the White House of twisting the facts.

"It is unworthy and unfair, and ill-advised when our men and women in combat are putting their lives on the line, to re-litigate an issue, which was looked at by two authoritative sources and has been closed," Mr. Hadley says.

But the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee defends those who want another look at the administration's handling of intelligence prior to the war. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia spoke on the Fox News Sunday program.

"If it is the fact that they created intelligence, or shaped intelligence, in order to bring American opinion along to support them in going to war, that is a really bad thing, which should not ever be repeated," Mr. Rockefeller says.

Other Senate Democrats have said they want to know if the White House relied too much on faulty information and sources provided by Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi opposition figure prior to the war. Mr. Chalabi, who is now a deputy prime Minister in Iraq's interim government, spoke on CNN Late Edition.

"I deny that we misled the United States. I deny completely that we provided false information. What we did was provide people who knew about the weapons to be interviewed, only three of them," Mr. Chalabi says.

Ahmad Chalabi was also asked about his recent meetings with officials in Tehran. He said he went to Iran to discuss bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries, but he said he stressed during the talks that Iraq has an unbreakable bond with the United States.