A report issued by a key U.S. Senate committee says the intelligence community predicted before the U.S-led invasion of Iraq that toppling Saddam Hussein would lead to violence and political uncertainty.
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee issued a lengthy report Friday that included two previously classified assessments by the National Intelligence Council in January 2003, and widely circulated throughout the Bush administration.
The assessments said establishing democracy in Iraq would present a "turbulent challenge," because the country had no history of representative government. The intelligence community also warned that both Iran and the al-Qaida terrorist group would exploit the postwar period to undermine U.S. efforts to achieve stability.
But the assessments incorrectly predicted that terrorist attacks would decline, and that Iraq's vast oil reserves would finance reconstruction efforts.
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller of the opposition Democratic Party says the report proves the Bush administration failed to take the warnings about the post-war consequences in Iraq seriously.
But Christopher Bond, the Republican Party vice-chairman of the panel, says the report exaggerates the importance of the pre-invasion assessments.
The committee has been probing the pre-war intelligence leading up to the Iraq war. A report issued in 2004 focused on the intelligence community's failure to accurately determine the extent of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The panel has also been looking into the Bush administration's use of the intelligence.
Bond says the probe has become "too embroiled in partisanship and politics."
Some information for this report was provided by AP.