B. Weapons of Mass Destruction Capabilities
(U) The Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) related sections of the report recount the Committee's efforts to evaluate the quantity and quality of the intelligence underlying prewar assessments. Each section contains its own set of conclusions. There is also a separate section on the issue of objectivity which addresses whether analysts were pressured to reach specific conclusions to support a particular policy objective. This report does not address the question of accuracy regarding WMD. When the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) completes its work in Iraq, we will then be able to evaluate to the maximum extent possible the accuracy of the IC's judgments prior to the war.
(U) The Committee focused its evaluation of the Intelligence Community's WMD analysis primarily on the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE): Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction. This document was selected for several reasons:
- First, according to the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) are the IC's most authoritative written judgments concerning national security issues. The process by which the IC reduces NIEs - including the one on Iraqi WMD - has been honed over nearly 30 years. According to the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) webpage, it is designed to provide policymakers in both the executive and legislative branches with the "best, unvarnished, and unbiased information - regardless of whether analytic judgments conform to U.S. policy."
- Second, the 2002 NIE addressed all of Iraq's WMD programs and was a coordinated community judgment in which all agency views were represented and dissenting opinions were noted.
- Third, the 2002 NIE was comprehensive, encompassing more than ten years of source reporting and analysis. The intelligence documentation provided to the Committee to support the assessments in the 2002 NIE also included the documents which were the basis for the previous decade of analytical products on Iraq's WMD programs.
- Fourth, the 2002 NIE presented some new IC assessments, some of which shifted in significant ways from previous judgments regarding Iraq's WMD programs.
- Finally, the 2002 NIE was requested by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Members so that policymakers could benefit from the IC's coordinated judgment on Iraq's WMD programs while they debated authorizing military action against Iraq.
(U) Since June 2003, Committee staff has worked through a decade of intelligence assessments on Iraqi WMD programs and the intelligence source reporting used by IC analysts to make those assessments - over 20,000 pages of documents. Committee staff interviewed over 160 people, including intelligence analysts from every agency involved in preparing WMD assessments on Iraq, ambassadors, operations officers, collection managers, nuclear experts with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), former United Nations (UN) inspectors, Department of Defense (DoD) weapons experts, State Department officials, and National Security Council (NSC) staff members.
(U) These efforts have enabled Committee staff to develop a full understanding of the body of intelligence on Iraq's WMD capabilities and an understanding of how intelligence analysts throughout the IC used that body of intelligence reporting to develop their assessments, particularly those in the 2002 NIE on Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
1. What is an NIE?
(U) A National Intelligence Estimate is the IC's most authoritative written judgment concerning a specific national security issue. The Estimates are intended to provide policymakers in both the executive and legislative branches with the best, unvarnished, and unbiased information - regardless of whether analytic judgments conform to any particular policy objective.
(U) A 2003 NIC paper on the NIE process stated that an NIE is ". . . the most authoritative written means by which the Director of Central Intelligence conveys to the President and other senior leaders the judgments of the entire Intelligence Community regarding national security issues." Sherman Kent,1 a former Chairman of the Board of National Estimates, described the purpose and importance of NIEs in an essay in 1976, which noted that the NIE
. . . was and is the Director's estimate, and its findings are his. Although many experts from perhaps all intelligence components of the community participated in the production of the papers in the NIE series, and although the intelligence chiefs themselves formally passed on the final text, they could not bend its findings to suit their own judgments contrary to the will of the DCI. They could try to win him to their sides by full and free discussions, but they could not outvote him and force him to join them, nor could they make him dissent from them . . . they could of their own accord concur with his findings or, not being able to, they could dissent and make their alternative views known in footnotes to his text.
(U) NIEs and the formal process by which they are produced, were established in the 1950s. An NIE can be requested by a variety of individuals, including members of the executive branch, members of Congress, and military commanders. After an NIE has been requested and authorized, the next step is the preparation of a document which has come to be called the Terms of Reference (TOR). According to a 1994 NIC paper describing NIE drafting guidelines, the TOR is an outline of the "issues and key questions to be covered in the Estimate." Sherman Kent describes the TOR as a "statement of precisely what was wanted."
(U) An officer of the NIC, typically the National Intelligence Officer (NIO) with responsibility for the substantive issue being examined in the NIE, is given responsibility for managing the NIE from its initial drafting, through the coordination process with the national intelligence agencies, to final approval. The officer presiding over the drafting of the NIE can draw on the staff of the NIC as well as the national intelligence agencies to write the draft.
(U) The 1994 NIE drafting guidelines state that an NIE can be drafted by an IC analyst, a member of the NIC staff, a deputy NIO, or an outside expert. After the draft has been reviewed within the NIC staff, it is then sent to the national intelligence agencies where each agency's appropriate subject matter experts review the draft and prepare their comments. Agency comments are then carried forward to the first interagency coordination session. At this and any successive coordination sessions, the goal is to produce a draft that, without unnecessary hedging or ambiguity, reflects the collective judgment of the IC. In the event any of the agency representatives find a part of the NIE with which they do not concur, they are free to argue their case before their colleagues in order to sway them. If they fail to convince their colleagues, they are free to draft a dissenting footnote. Once the agency representatives arrive at a consensus paper, with or without footnotes, this final draft is usually submitted to IC peers and to a panel of IC experts for their review. A summary of the outside experts' views is included in the NIE. The NIC front office reviews the final draft prior to forwarding it to the National Foreign Intelligence Board (NFIB) principals for their approval. The NFIB is composed of senior representatives of the IC organizations involved in the collection, processing and analysis of intelligence2 and is chaired by the DCI. The senior representatives of the military intelligence services may also attend as members of the NFIB when matters under their purview are considered and may attend other NFIB sessions as observers. The NFIB typically approves the NIE the same day it is presented.
(U) The 1994 NIE drafting guidelines described three rough time frames for the production of an NIE: a "fast track" of two to three weeks, a "normal track" of four to eight weeks, and a "long track" of two months or more. The Vice Chairman of the NIC told Committee staff that an NIE prepared within 60 days would be considered very fast, and that typically NIE's take three to six months. Sherman Kent noted in his essay that prior to 1976, NIE's had historically taken up to six to eight months to produce, but under conditions of urgency the time line has been considerably shortened. For example, during the Suez crisis of 1956, the Soviets sent a threatening note to Britain and France, who, along with the Israelis, had begun an attack on Egypt. The acting DCI convened the heads of the national intelligence agencies to develop an NIE to provide the IC's appraisal of Soviet intentions. There were no TORs and a draft was produced in about 30 minutes. The draft was immediately presented to the heads of the IC, who discussed and cleared the NIE within a few hours. The NIOs told Committee staff that ideally they would like about three months to produce an NIE.
2. The 2002 NIE on Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction
(U) In an unclassified letter dated September 9, 2002, Senator Richard Durbin, a member of the SSCI, wrote to the DCI expressing concern that the IC had not drafted an NIE on the status of Iraq's WMD program, and requested that the DCI "direct the production" of such an NIE expressing the belief that "policymakers in both the executive branch and the Congress will benefit from the production of a coordinated, consensus document produced by all relevant components of the Intelligence Community" on this topic. Senator Durbin also requested that the DCI "produce an unclassified summary of this NIE" so "the American public can better understand this important issue."
(U) On September 10, 2002, Senator Bob Graham, then SSCI Chairman, sent a second letter to the DCI requesting the production of an NIE "on the status of Iraq's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, the status of the Iraqi military forces, including their readiness and willingness to fight, the effects a U.S.-led attack on Iraq would have on its neighbors, and Saddam Hussein's likely response to a U.S. military campaign designed to effect regime change in Iraq."
(U) On September 13, 2002, Senator Diane Feinstein, a member of the SSCI, wrote to President Bush to request his assistance in ensuring that the DCI prepare, on an immediate basis, an NIE "assessing the nature, magnitude and immediacy of the threat posed to the United States by Iraq." Senator Feinstein added, "there has not been a formal rigorous Intelligence Community assessment, such as a National Intelligence Estimate, addressing the issues relating to Iraq, and I deeply believe that such an estimate is vital to Congressional decision making, and most specifically, any resolution which may come before the Senate."
(U) On September 17, 2002, Senator Carl Levin, a member of the SSCI and then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote to the DCI stating that it was "imperative" for the IC to prepare an NIE on Iraq "including the central question of the current state of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs." Senator Levin asked that the NIE address a number of issues including Iraq's WMD holdings, development facilities, acquisition activities, denial and deception activities, deployment, doctrine for employment, means of delivery, the likelihood that Saddam Hussein would use WMD against the U.S., our allies, or our interests, the likelihood that Iraq would comply with UN resolutions; and Iraq's terrorist activities.
(U) By the morning of September 12, 2002, the NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs had received official guidance from the DCI to begin work on the NIE. The work of assembling and coordinating the NIE was divided primarily between four NIO's: the NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs was responsible for the nuclear and ballistic missile portions as well as overall management of the entire NIE, the NIO for Conventional Military Issues was responsible for the chemical warfare (CW) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) portions, and the NIO for Science and Technology was responsible for the biological weapons (BW) portion. The NIO for Near East South Asia (NESA) was also involved in issues regarding regional reactions, interfacing with the NIO for Conventional Military Issues on the doctrine issues, and some terrorism issues, specifically whether Iraq might use terrorists to deliver WMD.
(U) Because of the short time period to prepare the NIE, the NIOs began by drawing language from existing agency and interagency papers. The NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs disseminated a draft to the IC agencies for review on September 23, 2002 and held an all day coordination meeting with IC analysts on September 25, 2002. The NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs disseminated a second draft which incorporated the analysts' changes and comments on September 26, 2002. Due to the compressed schedule of this NIE, the NIC did not submit the draft for peer review or to a panel of outside experts. The Vice Chairman of the NIC told Committee staff that because preparation for this NIE involved four NIOs, there was a "virtual peer review," and said that he did not believe that outside experts would have had substantially different views from the NIE, noting that "I think all you could have called in is an amen chorus on this thing, because there was nobody out there with different views." The NIE was approved by a meeting of the full NFIB on October 1, 2002 and printed that day.
(U) The scope note of the NIE said that it "was requested by the Director of Central Intelligence to address the status of and outlook for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs" and built on the work and judgments of twelve previous IC products. The NIE contained four sections on specific WMD programs including:
1) Saddam's Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons;
2) Chemical Warfare Program - Rebuilt and Expanding;
3) Biological Warfare Program - Larger Than Before; and
4) Delivery Systems - Iraq Increasing Its Options.
(U) Committee staff examined each of these sections in detail, including the intelligence source reporting underlying the assessments. Committee staff also reviewed previous IC products and assessments from individual IC agencies that discussed Iraq's WMD programs to understand the progression of analysis from the time United Nations inspectors left Iraq in December 1998 until just before the war with Iraq in 2003. The nuclear, biological, chemical and delivery sections of this report discuss the assessments made in those products and the intelligence source reporting the IC analysts used to make their judgments.
3. Overall Conclusions - Weapons of Mass Destruction
(U) Conclusion 1. Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence.
(U) The major key judgments in the NIE, particularly that Iraq "is reconstituting its nuclear program," "has chemical and biological weapons," was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) " probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents," and that "all key aspects - research & development (R&D), production, and weaponization - of Iraq's offensive biological weapons (BW) program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War," either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting provided to the Committee. The assessments regarding Iraq's continued development of prohibited ballistic missiles were reasonable and did accurately describe the underlying intelligence.
(U) The assessment that Iraq "is reconstituting its nuclear program" was not supported by the intelligence provided to the Committee. The intelligence reporting did show that Iraq was procuring dual-use equipment that had potential nuclear applications, but all of the equipment had conventional military or industrial applications. In addition, none of the intelligence reporting indicated that the equipment was being procured for suspect nuclear facilities. Intelligence reporting also showed that former Iraqi nuclear scientists continued to work at former nuclear facilities and organizations, but the reporting did not show that this cadre of nuclear personnel had recently been regrouped or enhanced as stated in the NIE, nor did it suggest that they were engaged in work related to a nuclear weapons program.
(U) The statement in the key judgments of the NIE that "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons" overstated both what was known and what intelligence analysts judged about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons holdings. The intelligence reporting did support the conclusion that chemical and biological weapons were within Iraq's technological capability, that Iraq was trying to procure dual-use materials that could have been used to produce these weapons, and that uncertainties existed about whether Iraq had fully destroyed its pre-Gulf War stocks of weapons and precursors. Iraq's efforts to deceive and evade United Nations weapons inspectors and its inability or unwillingness to fully account for pre-Gulf War chemical and biological weapons and precursors could have led analysts to the reasonable conclusion that Iraq may have retained those materials, but intelligence analysts did not have enough information to state with certainty that Iraq "has" these weapons.
( ) Similarly, the assessment that "all key aspects - R&D, production, and weaponization - of Iraq's offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War" was not supported by the underlying intelligence provided to the Committee. Intelligence showed that Iraq was renovating or expanding facilities that had been associated with Iraq's past BW program and was engaged in research that had BW applications, but few reports suggested specifically that the activity was related to B W. Intelligence reports did indicate that Iraq may have had a mobile biological weapons program, but most of the reporting was from a single human intelligence (HUMINT) source to whom the Intelligence Community (IC) never had direct access. It was reasonable for intelligence analysts to be concerned about the potential weapons applications of Iraq's dual use activities and capabilities. The intelligence reporting did not substantiate an assessment that all aspects of Iraq's BW program "are" larger and more advanced than before the Gulf War, however.
( ) The key judgment in the NIE that Iraq was developing a UAV "probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents" also overstated what the intelligence reporting indicated about the mission of Iraq's small UAVs. Numerous intelligence reports confirmed that Iraq was developing a small UAV program DELETED,but none of the reports provided to the Committee said that Iraq intended to use the small UAVs to deliver chemical or biological weapons. The Air Force footnote, which stated that biological weapons delivery was a possible mission for the small UAVs, though other missions were more likely, more accurately reflected the body of intelligence reporting.
(U) The failure of the IC to accurately analyze and describe the intelligence in the NIE was the result of a combination of systemic weaknesses, primarily in analytic trade craft, compounded by a lack of information sharing, poor management, and inadequate intelligence collection. Many of these weaknesses, which are described in detail below, have not yet been fully addressed, despite having been identified previously by other inquiry panels, including the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2002 (2002), The Intelligence Community's Performance on the Indian Nuclear Tests (The Jeremiah Report, 1998), and the Report of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (The Rumsfeld Commission, 1998). The Committee found no evidence that the IC's mischaracterization or exaggeration of the intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities was the result of political pressure.
(U) Conclusion 2. The Intelligence Community did not accurately or adequately explain to policymakers the uncertainties behind the judgments in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.
(U) One of the key failures in analytic trade craft of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was the failure of the Intelligence Community (IC) to explain the details of the reporting and the uncertainties of both the reliability of some key sources and of intelligence judgments. Intelligence analysts are not only charged with interpreting and assessing the intelligence reporting, but with clearly conveying to policymakers the difference between what intelligence analysts know, what they don't know, what they think, and to make sure that policymakers understand the difference. This articulation of the IC's responsibility to policymakers is widely attributed to Colin Powell when he was serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the effective communication of judgments has been accepted as a primary analytic function for decades. For example, in 1964, Sherman Kent, considered the founder of intelligence analysis as a profession, wrote about the importance of using appropriate words of estimative probability to "set forth the community's findings in such a way as to make clear to the reader what is certain knowledge and what is reasoned judgment, and within this large realm of judgment what varying degrees of certitude lie behind each key statement."3
(U) At the time the IC drafted and coordinated the NIE on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in September 2002, most of what intelligence analysts actually "knew" about Iraq's weapons programs pre-dated the 1991 Gulf War, leaving them with very little direct knowledge about the current state of those programs. Analysts knew that Iraq had active nuclear, chemical, biological, and delivery programs before 1991, and had previously lied to, and was still not forthcoming with, UN weapons inspectors about those programs. The analysts also knew that the United Nations was not satisfied with Iraq's efforts to account for its destruction of all of its pre-Gulf War weapons, precursors, and equipment. Additionally, the analysts knew that Iraq was trying to import dual-use materials and equipment and had rebuilt or was continuing to use facilities that had been associated with Iraq's pre-Gulf War weapons programs, and knew that WMD were likely within Iraq's technological capabilities.
(U) The IC did not know whether Iraq had retained its pre-Gulf War weapons, whether Iraq was intending to use those dual-use materials and facilities for weapons or for legitimate purposes, or even if Iraq's attempts to obtain many of the dual-use goods it had been trying to procure were successful. The IC thought that Iraq had retained its pre-Gulf War weapons and that Iraq was using dual-use materials and facilities to manufacture weapons. While this was a reasonable assessment, considering Iraq's past behavior, statements in the 2002 NIE that Iraq "has chemical and biological weapons," "Iraq has maintained its chemical weapons effort," and "is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program," did not accurately portray the uncertainty of the information. The NIE failed in that it portrayed what intelligence analysts thought and assessed as what they knew and failed to explain the large gaps in the information on which the assessments were based.
( ) In the cases in the NIE where the IC did express uncertainty about its assessments concerning Iraq's WMD capabilities, those explanations suggested, in some cases, that Iraq's capabilities were even greater than the NIE judged. For example, the key judgments of the NIE said "we judge that we are seeing only a portion of Iraq's WMD efforts, owing to Baghdad's vigorous denial and deception efforts. Revelations after the Gulf War starkly demonstrates the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information. SENTENCE DELETED " While this did explain that key information on Iraq's programs was lacking, it suggested that Iraq's weapons programs were probably bigger and more advanced than the IC had judged and did not explain that SENTENCE DELETED analysts did not have enough information to determine whether Iraq was hiding activity or whether Iraq's weapons programs may have been dormant.
(U) Accurately and clearly describing the gaps in intelligence knowledge is not only important for policymakers to fully understand the basis for and gaps in analytic assessments, but is essential for policymakers in both the executive and legislative branches to make informed decisions about how and where to allocate Intelligence Community resources to fill those gaps.
(U) Conclusion 3. The Intelligence Community (IC) suffered from a collective presumption that Iraq had an active and growing weapons of mass destruction (WNW) program. This "group think" dynamic led Intelligence Community analysts, collectors and managers to both interpret ambiguous evidence as conclusively indicative of a WMD program as well as ignore or minimize evidence that Iraq did not have active and expanding weapons of mass destruction programs. This presumption was so strong that formalized IC mechanisms established to challenge assumptions and group think were not utilized.
(U) The Intelligence Community (IC) has long struggled with the need for analysts to overcome analytic biases, that is, to resist the tendency to see what they would expect to see in the intelligence reporting. In the case of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities, the Committee found that intelligence analysts, in many cases, based their analysis more on their expectations than on an objective evaluation of the information in the intelligence reporting. Analysts expected to see evidence that Iraq had retained prohibited weapons and that Iraq would resume prohibited WMD activities once United Nations' (UN) inspections ended. This bias that pervaded both the IC's analytic and collection communities represents "group think," a term coined by psychologist Irving Janis in the 1970's to describe a process in which a group can make bad or irrational decisions as each member of the group attempts to conform their opinions to what they believe to be the consensus of the group. IC personnel involved in the Iraq WMD issue demonstrated several aspects of group think: examining few alternatives, selective gathering of information, pressure to conform within the group or withhold criticism, and collective rationalization.
(U) The roots of the IC's bias stretch back to Iraq's pre-1991 efforts to build WMD and its efforts to hide those programs. The fact that Iraq had repeatedly lied about its pre-1991 WMD programs, its continued deceptive behavior, and its failure to fully cooperate with UN inspectors left the IC with a predisposition to believe the Iraqis were continuing to lie about their WMD efforts. This was compounded by the fact that Iraq's pre-1991 progress on its nuclear weapons program had surprised the IC. The role this knowledge played in analysts' thinking is evident in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate's (NIE) introduction which said, "revelations after the Gulf War starkly demonstrate the extensive efforts undertaken by Iraq to deny information. The revelations also underscore the extent to which limited information fostered underestimates by the Intelligence Community of Saddam's capabilities at that time." This bias was likely further reinforced by the IC's failure to detect the September 11th terrorist plot and the criticism that the Community had not done all it could to "connect the dots."
(U) The IC had long assessed that Iraq maintained its ambitions to obtain WMD, and would seek to resume full WMD efforts once UN sanctions and inspections ended. Accordingly, after UN inspectors left Iraq in 1998, IC analysts began to look for evidence that Iraq was expanding WMD programs. Analysts interpreted ambiguous data as indicative of the active and expanded WMD effort they expected to see. The presumption that Iraq would take advantage of the departure of inspectors to restart its WMD efforts essentially became a hypothesis in search of evidence.
( )The IC's bias was compounded by the fact that prior to 1998, the IC had become heavily dependent on UN information on the state of Iraq's WMD programs. When the IC lost this important information, analysts were forced to rely on less reliable and less detailed sources. For example, DELETED reporting during UN inspections often described the DELETED. These reports provided IC analysts with much of the insight DELETED. Intelligence reporting after inspectors departed relied on less direct sources of information such as satellite imagery of activity at suspect facilities, fragmentary and ambiguous reports of Iraqi dual-use procurement efforts, and reporting of suspicious or prohibited activity from human sources who were no longer in the country. These indirect sources left the IC with few ways to determine the exact nature of suspicious Iraqi activity. The expectation, however, that Iraq would take advantage of the departure of inspectors to resume and expand its WMD programs led analysts to downplay or ignore the increased uncertainty that carne with these less detailed and less reliable sources.
( ) The Committee found that the IC had a tendency to accept information which supported the presumption that Iraq had active and expanded WMD programs more readily than information which contradicted it. This was evident in analysts' assessments of Iraq's attempts to procure dual use materials and activities at dual-use facilities. Dual-use materials and facilities are those which could be used in a WMD program, but which also have conventional military or legitimate civilian applications. The IC properly noted the potential threat embodied in these dual-use capabilities, should they be turned toward WMD purposes, and did an effective job of analyzing DELETED Iraq's attempts to purchase dual-use equipment and materials to show how they could advance Iraq's WMD capability. But, the IC fell short by accepting most reporting of dual-use material imports or capabilities as intended for WMD programs. Information that contradicted the IC's presumption that Iraq had WMD programs, such as indications in the intelligence reporting that the dual-use materials were intended for conventional or civilian programs, was often ignored. The IC's bias that Iraq had active WMD programs led analysts to presume, in the absence of evidence, that if Iraq could do something to advance its WMD capabilities, it would.
( )Another example of the IC's tendency to reject information that contradicted the presumption that Iraq had active and expanded WMD programs was the return of UN inspectors to Iraq in November 2002. SENTENCE DELETED When these inspections did not find evidence of active Iraqi WMD programs and, in fact, even refuted some aspects of the IC's nuclear and biological assessments, man analysts did not regard this information as significant. For example, the 2002 NIE cited DELETED Iraq's Amiriyah Serum and Vaccine institute as DELETED reasons the IC believed the facility was a "fixed dual-use BW agent production" facility. When UN inspectors visited Amiriyah after their return to Iraq in November 2002, however, they did not find any evidence of BW work at the facility, DELETED. Analysts discounted the UN's findings as the result of the inspectors relative inexperience in the face of Iraqi denial and deception. Similarly, when International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors returned to Iraq in late 2002, one of their key lines of work was to investigate Iraq's claims that aluminum tubes it was trying to procure were intended for artillery rockets. The IAEA found that Iraq's claims that the aluminum tubes were intended for artillery rockets was completely consistent with the evidence on the ground in Iraq. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) responded to the IAEA's analysis by producing intelligence reports which rejected the IAEA's conclusions. Without giving many details of the IAEA's findings, CIA's analysis suggested that the IAEA was being fooled by Iraq, and reiterated CIA's assessment that the tubes were to be used in uranium centrifuges.
(U) Intelligence analysts' presumption that all dual-use activity was intended for WMD programs recurs throughout the 2002 NIE. Analysts believed that the fact that Iraq often attempted to obtain dual-use materials surreptitiously, through front companies and other illicit means in violation of UN sanctions, indicated that Iraq intended to use those materials for WMD. Analysts argued that Iraq would have no reason to hide itself as the end user of these materials if they were intended for legitimate purposes. However, analysts ignored the fact that Iraq typically used front companies and evaded UN sanctions for imports of purely legitimate goods. Analysts who monitored Iraq's compliance with the Oil for Food Program noted several reasons that Iraq wanted to avoid legitimate channels for imports including 1) the UN often denied materials needed for legitimate purposes because the materials had WMD applications, 2) using the UN's bureaucratic process was more cumbersome and time consuming than using illicit channels, and 3) transactions using front companies were less transparent, making corruption and profit taking easier for Iraqi managers and officials.
(U) Likewise, analysts were predisposed to identify as suspect any activity by scientists and officials involved in Iraq's pre-1991 WMD programs. While the IC should not have ignored the activity of these people, IC analysts failed to fully consider the possibility that Iraq, having spent significant national resources developing their capabilities, might have been seeking non-WMD purposes to fully employ the idle expertise left over from closed WMD programs.
( ) The presumption that Iraq had active WMD programs affected intelligence collectors as well. None of the guidance given to human intelligence collectors suggested that collection be focused on determining whether Iraq had WMD. Instead, the requirements assumed that Iraq had WMD, and focused on uncovering those activities and collecting against the extent of Iraq's WMD production and the locations of hidden stocks of weapons. A former manager in the CIA's Iraq WMD Task Force also told Committee staff that, in retrospect, he believes that the CIA tended to discount human intelligence (HUMINT) sources that denied the existence of Iraqi WMD programs as just repeating the Iraqi party line. In fact, numerous interviews with intelligence analysts and documents provided to the Committee indicate that analysts and collectors assumed that sources who denied the existence or continuation of WMD programs and stocks were either lying or not knowledgeable about Iraq's programs, while those sources who reported ongoing WMD activities were seen as having provided valuable information.
( ) The presumption that Iraq had active WMD programs was so strong that formalized IC mechanisms established to challenge assumptions and "group think," such as "red teams," "devil's advocacy," and other types of alternative or competitive analysis, were not utilized. The Committee found no evidence that IC analysts, collectors, or managers made any effort to question the fundamental assumptions that Iraq had active and expanded WMD programs, nor did they give serious consideration to other possible explanations for Iraq's failure to satisfy its WMD accounting discrepancies, other than that it was hiding and preserving WMD. The fact that no one in the IC saw a need for such tools is indicative of the strength of the bias that Iraq had active and expanded WMD programs. The Committee does not regard the DELETED analysis on Iraq's aluminum tubes performed by CIA contractors as an attempt to challenge assumptions, but rather as an example of the collective rationalization that is indicative of "group think." The contractors were only provided with information by CIA, did not question agencies about their analysis, were not briefed by other agencies about their analysis, and performed their analysis of a complex intelligence issue in only one day.
(U) The IC's failure to find unambiguous intelligence reporting of Iraqi WMD activities should have encouraged analysts to question their presumption that Iraq had WMD. Instead, analysts rationalized the lack of evidence as the result of "vigorous" Iraqi denial and deception (D&D) efforts to hide the WMD programs that analysts were certain existed. The 2002 NIE's introduction stated that "we judge that we are only seeing a portion of Iraq's WMD efforts owing to Baghdad's vigorous D&D efforts." The intelligence provided to the Committee showed that Iraq was making efforts to hide some activity, but the reporting was not clear about what activity was being hidden or why it was being hidden. Although the IC lacked unambiguous reporting of either active WMD programs or a vigorous D&D effort to hide WMD programs, the assumptions that Iraq was engaged in both were tied together into a self-reinforcing premise that explained away the lack of strong evidence of either.
(U) Conclusion 4. In a few significant instances, the analysis in the National Intelligence Estimate suffers from a "layering" effect whereby assessments were built based on previous judgments without carrying forward the uncertainties of the underlying judgments.
(U) The Committee defines "layering" as the process of building an intelligence assessment primarily using previous judgments without substantial new intelligence reporting. While this process is a legitimate and often useful analytic tool in making logical connections between intelligence reports and in understanding complex analytic problems, the process can lose its legitimacy when the cumulative uncertainties of the underlying assessments are not factored into or conveyed through the new assessments.
(U) In discussions with the Committee about his experience running the Iraq Survey Group, Dr. David Kay suggested that the IC's mind set before Operation Iraqi Freedom concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs was a train that seemed "to always be going in the same direction." The IC drew on very few pieces of new evidence to reach large conclusions in which new pieces of evidence would accrete to the previous conclusion and pieces that did not fit tended to be thrown aside.
(U) One example of this layering effect occurred in the IC's analysis of Iraq's chemical weapons program. The NIE assessed that Iraq had renewed production of chemical weapons agents and stockpiled as much as 500 metric tons of chemical agent, much of it added in the last year. These assessments were largely based on another assessment, that Iraq may have been engaged in chemical weapons transshipment activity in the spring of 2002. This assessment was largely based on yet another assessment, that the presence of a specific tanker truck was a possible indicator that chemical or biological weapons related activities were occurring. The IC did not make it clear in its latter assessments that its judgments were based on layer upon layer of previous analytic judgments. This gave the reader of the NIE the impression that Iraq's chemical weapons program was advancing and growing, but did not convey that the assessment was based on very little direct or credible intelligence reporting.
( )Similarly, the IC based its judgment that "all key aspects - research & development (R&D), production, and weaponization - of Iraq's offensive biological weapons (BW) program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War" primarily on its assessment that Iraq had mobile biological production vans. While this assessment was based on direct intelligence that indicated Iraq had mobile biological production units, the reporting was largely from a single source to whom the Intelligence Community did not have direct access. The Committee believes that the IC's expectation that Iraq would move to mobile biological weapons production, focused their attention on reporting that supported that contention and led them to disregard information that contradicted it. This exemplifies Dr. Kay's concerns that the IC made large new conclusions based on only a few pieces of new evidence that were joined to previous conclusions and that pieces that did not fulfill its expectations tended to be thrown aside.
(U)These are just two, of many, examples of this layering effect the Committee found in the IC's analysis of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. The Committee recognizes the importance of analysts' ability to perform this type of analytic extrapolation, particularly in trying to "connect the dots" of sometimes seemingly disparate pieces of intelligence. Incorporating and accurately explaining the cumulative underlying uncertainties inherent in that process is equally important, however.
(U) Conclusion 5. In each instance where the Committee found an analytic or collection failure, it resulted in part from a failure of Intelligence Community managers throughout their leadership chains to adequately supervise the work of their analysts and collectors. They did not encourage analysts to challenge their assumptions, fully consider alternative arguments, accurately characterize the intelligence reporting, or counsel analysts who lost their objectivity.
(U) This report describes a variety of serious analytical and collection failures in the Intelligence Community's (IC) work on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. While not in any way diminishing the responsibility of the analysts and collectors that were directly involved, the Committee believes that blame for these failures can not be laid at their feet alone. In each instance, the analysts' and collectors' chains of command in their respective agencies, from immediate supervisors up to the National Intelligence Council and the Director of Central Intelligence, all share responsibility for not encouraging analysts to challenge their assumptions, fully consider alternative arguments or accurately characterize the intelligence reporting. They failed to adequately question and challenge analysts about their assessments, and, most importantly, to recognize when analysts had lost their objectivity and take corrective action. It seems likely that these failures of management and leadership resulted at least in part as a result of the fact that the Intelligence Community's chain of command shared with its analysts and collectors the same "group think" presumption that Iraq had active and expanded weapons of mass destruction programs.
(U) Conclusion 6. The Committee found significant short comings in almost every aspect of the Intelligence Community's human intelligence collection efforts against Iraq's weapons of mass destruction activities, in particular that the Community had no sources collecting against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after 1998. Most, if not all, of these problems stem from a broken corporate culture and poor management, and will not be solved by additional funding and personnel.
(U) The Committee's review into the prewar intelligence concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs has entailed an unprecedented outside examination of a broad range of the Intelligence Community's (IC) human intelligence (HUMINT) operations. The Committee found significant short comings in almost every aspect of these operations.
( ) From 1991 to 1998, the IC relied too heavily on United Nations (UN) inspectors to collect information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and did not develop a sufficient unilateral HUMINT collection effort targeting Iraq to supplement UN-collected information and to take its place upon the departure of the UN inspectors. While the UN inspection process provided a valuable source of information, the IC should have used the time when inspectors were in Iraq to plan for the possibility that inspectors would leave and to develop sources who could continue to report after inspectors left.
( ) Because the United States lacked an official presence inside Iraq, the Intelligence Community depended too heavily on defectors and foreign government services to obtain HUMINT information on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction activities. While these sources had the potential to provide some valuable information, they had a limited ability to provide the kind of detailed intelligence about current Iraqi weapons of mass destruction efforts sought by U.S. policymakers. Moreover, because the Intelligence Community did not have direct access to many of these sources, their credibility was diffcult to assess and was often left to the foreign government services to judge. Intelligence Community HUMINT efforts against a closed society like Iraq prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom were hobbled by the Intelligence Community's dependence on having an official U.S. presence in-country to mount clandestine HUMINT collection efforts.
(U) When UN inspectors departed Iraq, the placement of HUMINT agents and the development of unilateral sources inside Iraq were not top priorities for the Intelligence Community. The Intelligence Community did not have a single HUMINT source collecting against Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs in Iraq after 1998. The Intelligence Community appears to have decided that the difficulty and risks inherent in developing sources or inserting operations officers into Iraq outweighed the potential benefits. The Committee found no evidence that a lack of resources significantly prevented the Intelligence Community from developing sources or inserting operations officers into Iraq.
( ) SENTENCE DELETED . When Committee staff asked why the CIA had not considered placing a CIA officer in Iraq years before Operation Iraqi Freedom to investigate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, a CIA officer said, "because it's very hard to sustain . . . it takes a rare officer who can go in . . . and survive scrutiny for along time." The Committee agrees that such operations are difficult and dangerous, but they should be within the norm of the CIA's activities and capabilities. Senior CIA officials have repeatedly told the Committee that a significant increase in funding and personnel will be required to enable to the CIA to penetrate difficult HUMINT targets similar to prewar Iraq. The Committee believes, however, that if an officer willing and able to take such an assignment really is "rare" at the CIA, the problem is less a question of resources than a need for dramatic changes in a risk averse corporate culture.
(U) Problems with the Intelligence Community's HUMINT efforts were also evident in the Intelligence Community's handling of Iraq's alleged efforts to acquire uranium from Niger. The Committee does not fault the CIA for exploiting the access enjoyed by the spouse of a CIA employee traveling to Niger. The Committee believes, however, that it is unfortunate, considering the significant resources available to the CIA, that this was the only option available. Given the nature of rapidly evolving global threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons and weapons technology, the Intelligence Community must develop means to quickly respond to fleeting collection opportunities outside the Community's established operating areas. The Committee also found other problems with the Intelligence Community's follow-up on the Iraq-Niger uranium issue, including a half hearted investigation of the reported storage of uranium in a warehouse in Benin, and a failure, to this day, to call a telephone number, provided by the Navy, of an individual who claimed to have information about Iraq's alleged efforts to acquire uranium from Niger.
( )The Committee also found that the Defense HUMINT Service (DHS) demonstrated serious lapses in its handling of the HUMINT source code named CURVE BALL, who was the principle source behind the Intelligence Community's assessments that Iraq had a mobile biological weapons program. The DHS had primary res onsibility for handling the Intelligence Community's interaction with the DELETED debriefers that were handling CURVE BALL, but the DHS officers that were involved in CURVE BALL's case limited themselves to a largely administrative role, translating andpassing along reports DELETED analysts do not have the benefit of the regular interaction with sources or, in this case, CURVE BALL's debriefers, that could have allowed them to make judgments about the reliability of source reporting.
(U) Another significant problem found by the Committee is the fact that the CIA continues to excessively compartment sensitive HUMINT reporting and fails to share important information about HUMINT reporting and sources with Intelligence Community analysts who have a need to know. In the years before Operation Iraqi Freedom, the CIA protected its Iraq weapons of mass destruction sources so well that some of the information they provided was kept from the majority of analysts with a legitimate need to know. The biological weapons and delivery sections of this report discuss at length the CIA's failure to share important information about source reporting on Iraq's alleged mobile biological weapons program and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program that left analysts and policymakers with an incomplete and, at times, misleading picture of these issues.
(U) The process by which the Intelligence Community calculates the benefits and risks of sharing sensitive human intelligence is skewed too heavily toward withholding information. This issue has been raised repeatedly with the Intelligence Community, particularly after the lack of information sharing was found to have played a key role in the intelligence failures of 9/11. The Committee believes that the Intelligence Community must reconsider whether the risks of expanding access to cleared analysts are truly greater than the risks of keeping information so tightly compartmented that the analysts who need it to make informed judgments are kept in the dark.
(U) Conclusion 7. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in several significant instances, abused its unique position in the Intelligence Community, particularly in terms of information sharing, to the detriment of the Intelligence Community's prewar analysis concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.
(U) The Intelligence Community is not a level playing field when it comes to the competition of ideas in intelligence analysis. The Director of Central Intelligence's (DCI's) responsibility, established by the National Security Act of 1947, to coordinate the nation's intelligence activities and correlate, evaluate, and disseminate intelligence that affects national security, provides the CIA with a unique position in the Intelligence Community. The fact that the DCI is the head of the CIA, and head of the Intelligence Community, the principal intelligence advisor to the President, and is responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods, provides the CIA with unique access to policymakers and unique control of intelligence reporting. This arrangement was intended to coordinate the disparate elements of the Intelligence Community in order to provide the most accurate and objective analysis to policymakers. The Committee found that in practice, however, in the case of the Intelligence Community's analysis of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, this arrangement actually undermined the provision of accurate and objective analysis by hampering intelligence sharing and allowing CIA analysts to control the presentation of information to policymakers, and exclude analysis from other agencies.
(U) The Committee found in a number of cases that significant reportable intelligence was sequestered in CIA Directorate of Operations (DO) cables, distribution of sensitive intelligence reports was excessively restricted, and CIA analysts were often provided with "sensitive" information that was not made available to analysts who worked the same issues at other all-source analysis agencies. These restrictions, in several cases, kept information from analysts that was essential to their ability to make fully informed judgments. Analysts cannot be expected to formulate and present their best analysis to policymakers while having only partial knowledge of an issue.
( ) For example, important information concerning the reliability of two of the main sources on Iraq's alleged mobile biological weapons program was not available to most Iraq biological weapons analysts outside the CIA. Some analysts at other agencies were aware of some of the credibility concerns about the sources, but the CIA's DO did not disseminate cables throughout the Intelligence Community that would have provided this information to all Iraq biological weapons analysts. SENTENCE DELETED
( ) The CIA also failed to share important information about Iraq's UAV software procurement efforts with other intelligence analysts. The CIA did share sensitive information that indicated Iraq DELETED was trying to obtain mapping software that could only be used for mapping in the U.S. This suggested to many analysts that Iraq may have been intending to use the software to target the U.S. The CIA failed to pass on additional information, until well after the coordination and publication of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), DELETED. This information was essential for analysts to make fully informed judgments about Iraq's intentions to target the U.S.
(U) In some cases CIA analysts were not open to fully considering information and opinions from other intelligence analysts or creating a level playing field in which outside analysts fully participated in meetings or analytic efforts. This problem was particularly evident in the case of the CIA's analysis of Iraq's procurement of aluminum tubes during which the Committee believes the agency lost objectivity and in several cases took action that improperly excluded useful expertise from the intelligence debate. For example, the CIA performed testing of the tubes without inviting experts from the Department of Energy (DOE) to participate. A CIA analyst told Committee staff that the DOE was not invited "because we funded it. It was our testing. We were trying to prove some things that we wanted to prove with the testing. It wasn't a joint effort." The Committee believes that such an effort should never have been intended to prove what the CIA wanted to prove, but should have been a Community effort to get to the truth about Iraq's intended use for the tubes. By excluding DOE analysts, the Intelligence Community's nuclear experts, the CIA was not able to take advantage of their potentially valuable analytic insights. In another instance, an independent Department of Defense (DOD) rocket expert told the Committee that he did not think the CIA analysts came to him for an objective opinion, but were trying "to encourage us to come up with [the] answer" that the tubes were not intended to be used for a rocket program.
(U) The Committee also found that while the DCI was supposed to function as both the head of the CIA and the head of the Intelligence Community, in many instances he only acted as head of the CIA. For example, the DCI told the Committee that he was not aware that there were dissenting opinions within the Intelligence Community on whether Iraq intended use the aluminum tubes for a nuclear program until the NIE was drafted in September 2002, despite the fact that intelligence agencies had been fervently debating the issue since the spring of 2001. While the DCI, as the President's principal intelligence advisor, should provide policymakers, in particular the President, with the best analysis available from throughout the Intelligence Community, the DCI told Committee staff that he does not even expect to learn of dissenting opinions "until the issue gets joined" through interagency coordination of an NIE. This means that contentious debate about significant national security issues can go on at the analytic level for months, or years, without the DCI or senior policymakers being informed of any opinions other than those of CIA analysts. In addition, the Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs) are prepared by CIA analysts and are presented by CIA briefers who may or may not include an explanation of alternative views from other intelligence agencies. Other Intelligence Community agencies essentially must rely on the analysts who disagree with their positions to accurately convey their analysis to the nation's most senior policymakers.
(U) These factors worked together to allow CIA analysts and officials to provide the agency's intelligence analysis to senior policymakers without having to explain dissenting views or defend their analysis from potential challenges from other Intelligence Community agencies. The Committee believes that policymakers at all levels of government and in both the executive and legislative branches would benefit from understanding the full range of analytic opinions directly from the agencies who hold those views, or from truly impartial representatives of the entire Intelligence Community.
1 Sherman Kent and the Board of National Estimates: Collected Essays, (Http_//www.odci.sov/csi/books/shennankent/inst.htmll. From 1952 to 1967, Sherman Kent was the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates, which would later become the National Intelligence Council.
2 The members of the NFIB are the DCI; Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI); Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support; Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research (INR), Department of State; Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Director, National Security Agency (NSA); Director, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA); Executive Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Director, Office of Intelligence, Department of Energy (DOE); Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury; Chairman, National Intelligence Council.
3 Sherman Kent and the Board ofNational Estimates: Collected Essays, (Httv://www.odci.gov/csi/book s/sherinankent/inst.html). From 1952 to 1967, Sherman Kent was the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates, which would later become the National Intelligence Council.
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