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American Forces Press Service

Bush Announces Members of Intelligence Commission

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2004 - President Bush today announced seven members of an independent commission that will look into U.S. intelligence capabilities.

Bush made the announcement at the White House with the two co-chairs of the commission - former Virginia Sen. Chuck Robb and Judge Lawrence Silberman - flanking him.

The commission will especially study prewar U.S. intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and compare that to what the Iraq Survey Group has found. "We're also determined to make sure that American intelligence is as accurate as possible for every challenge in the future," he said.

Bush said that former Iraq Survey Group chief David Kay "stated that some prewar intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's weapon stockpiles have not been confirmed. We are determined to figure out why."

Bush said the United States must have accurate intelligence to combat the threats facing the United States and its friends. "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses the most serious of dangers to the peace of the world," Bush said. "Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists or terror regimes could bring catastrophic harm to America and to our friends. It is the policy of the United States government to oppose that threat by any means necessary."

Rounding out the commission are Arizona Sen. John McCain; Lloyd Cutler, former White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton; Rick Levin, the president of Yale University; Adm. Bill Studeman, the former deputy director of the CIA; and Judge Pat Wald, a former judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Bush said the men and women of the U.S. intelligence services are doing a superb job. He said America's enemies are secretive and ruthless. "In tracking and disrupting their activities, our nation must bring to bear every tool and advantage at our command," Bush said.

In Iraq, the president said, the coalition enforced the "clearly stated" United Nations demands that Saddam Hussein prove Iraq had disarmed. Bush said that the losses of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the calculus of terror. "I will not take risks with the lives and security of the American people by assuming the goodwill of dictators," he said.

He said intelligence is an important weapon against terror, and the United States and its allies must stay ahead of a constantly changing enemy. "The stakes for our country could not be higher, and our standard of intelligence gathering and analysis must be equal to that of the challenge," he said.

Bush said the commission members will examine all relevant documents and interview all relevant people, and they will present their findings by March 31.

The commission is not limited to intelligence about Iraq. "It will review our intelligence on weapons programs in countries such as North Korea and Iran," Bush said. "It will examine our intelligence on the threats posed by Libya and Afghanistan before recent changes in those countries."

The commission will expand to nine members in the future, Bush said.


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