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Republicans in Congress Reject Calls for Formal Intelligence Probe

Voice of America

VOA News
11 Jun 2003, 17:43 UTC

Majority Republicans in Congress have rejected requests by Democrats for a formal investigation into the Bush administration's handling of intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs.

At a news conference Tuesday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) said there is no evidence of wrongdoing, and routine oversight would suffice. He said he would not allow the committee to be politicized or used as a tool.

Senator Roberts said his committee will review prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and its connection to terrorist groups, and examine whether the findings were reasonable and accurate. The Senate Armed Services Committee is also conducting closed-door hearings on the issue.

Leading Senate Democrats have called for a more formal investigation amid charges intelligence may have been manipulated to support the case for war.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), wants both public and closed hearings, as well as interviews with intelligence and administration officials.

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said what is at stake is whether American intelligence can be trusted in the future as as a basis for action against other adversaries such as North Korea and Iran.

No Democrats attended Wednesday's news conference. President Bush and other senior administration officials had cited Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as one of the main reasons for going to war.

The White House has asked for more time to search for the weapons, and has some 1,500 experts in Iraq looking for them

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