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US Congress Examines Intelligence Used for Iraq War - 2003-06-26

A key member of Congress looking into information used to justify the war in Iraq is focusing on whether the Bush administration relied too heavily on circumstantial evidence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Democrat Jane Harman, a member of the House committee on intelligence, spoke as the House of Representatives debated a bill to fund U.S. intelligence agencies.

Congresswoman Harman says there is no doubt Iraq at one time had chemical and biological weapons. But she says the failure so far of U.S. and British forces to locate any, underscores the importance of a thorough investigation.

She had this message for the White House. "I urge this administration not to contemplate military action, especially pre-emptive action in Iran, North Korea, or Syria until these issues are cleared up."

Mrs. Harman say the administration rarely included "caveats" about its information, leading Americans to think there was stronger evidence.

The House investigation, she adds, is focusing on whether the administration position was based more on circumstantial evidence rather than "hard facts."

The Republican committee chairman, Porter Goss, says Americans need to be patient while lawmakers complete investigations.