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Bush Expected to Order Probe of Pre-War Iraq Intelligence - 2004-02-02


Top U.S. administration officials say President Bush plans to set up an independent commission to investigate pre-war U.S. intelligence on Iraq in view of the failure to find any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The officials, who asked not to be identified, told reporters that Mr. Bush is expected to make an announcement some time this week.

The president has previously resisted calls for such a commission. But he has come under increasing pressure from both Republican and opposition Democratic lawmakers to open an inquiry, especially following recent Congressional testimony by former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay.

Mr. Kay told lawmakers last week he believes pre-war intelligence on suspected banned weapons in Iraq was "almost all wrong." He said he does not believe any large stockpiles of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons will be found there.

But Mr. Kay dismissed suggestions that senior administration officials pressured intelligence agencies to conclude Baghdad did have banned weapons to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

White House officials have previously said the creation of an independent commission should wait until a more wide-ranging search for banned weapons in Iraq is completed. They also noted that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has already opened its own inquiry.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.