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Secret US Report Shows Iraqi Oil Industry in Disrepair - 2003-10-05


A U.S. newspaper has published details of a secret Washington report that shows Iraq's key oil industry was badly damaged before the U.S.-led war.

The New York Times published an article Sunday saying the report was issued by a secret Pentagon task force last autumn. But details of the report were not made public at the time.

The task force, Energy Infrastructure Planning Group, claimed Iraqi oil output was down by 25 percent, due to the effects of a decade-long trade embargo.

The newspaper article suggests the findings disagree with prewar claims from the Bush administration as they made the case for a military attack against Iraq.

White House officials have said money from Iraqi oil sales would help pay for the massive effort to rebuild the country.

President George W. Bush has asked Congress for an additional $20 billion for rebuilding efforts next year. The U.S. is also seeking a new U.N. resolution that would add more troops and money from other countries to help rebuild Iraq.

And later this month, U.S. officials are expected to ask foreign allies for help in Iraq, during a donor conference in Spain.

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