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Rumsfeld says prewar intelligence on Iraq not manipulated

PLA Daily 2004-02-05

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said on Wednesday he was confident that the prewar intelligence on Iraq was not manipulated by the Bush administration to justify its war rationale.

This was Rumsfeld's first public comments on the prewar intelligence issue since David Kay, the former chief weapons inspector, told the Congress last week that he believed Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction before the war and it was now clearUS intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs was fundamentally flawed.

In a prepared statement at the hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rumsfeld said he was confident that prewar intelligence was possibly flawed in some respects but was not manipulated by the administration to justify its war aims.

He said he was not ready to conclude that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before US troops invaded to depose Saddam Hussein last year, and that US weapons inspectors needed more time to reach final conclusions about whether chemical and biological weapons existed in Iraq before the war.

Rumsfeld offered several possibilities as "alternative views" about why no weapons have been discovered in Iraq, including the possibilities that banned arms had never existed, or had been transferred to a third country, or hidden and dispersed throughout Iraq, or destroyed by the Iraqis before the war.

The Bush administration launched the Iraq war in March last year, citing "grave and gathering danger" posed by Iraq's biological and chemical weapons.

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