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10 February 2004

Rumsfeld Sees Presidential Intelligence Commission as Useful Tool

Defense Department report, February 10: Intelligence

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the presidential commission on intelligence announced by President Bush February 6 is "part of an ongoing process of lessons learned."

Briefing reporters at the Pentagon February 10, Rumsfeld said the presidential commission "will be able to compare what the Iraq Survey Group [tasked with searching for weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems in Iraq] finds when it completes work with the information that the coalition had prior to the war. It should be able to assess whether the intelligence community is best organized, equipped, trained and resourced to meet the challenges ahead."

The defense secretary began the briefing by quoting from a recent European Union Security Strategy paper that "the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is potentially the greatest threat to our security, and the most frightening scenario is one in which terrorist groups acquire weapons of mass destruction." Rumsfeld then called intelligence information the "one capability that is essential to dealing with all of these threats."

Rumsfeld characterized the task of the intelligence community as having "to try to penetrate closed societies and organizations and learn things that our adversaries don't want us to know, while the adversaries know precisely what it is they are determined to keep from us."

Rumsfeld was asked about the authenticity of a document recovered from Hassan Ghul, an al-Qaeda operative captured in Iraq. He passed the question to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers, who had read a translation of it. The general said first that the document's authenticity "is still being evaluated," but that two things stood out in it: one, that the coalition and Iraqi forces were having success, because the document author proposed a "desperate" tactic of fomenting a sectarian fight between Iraq's Sunni and Shia populations; and two, that "if that letter is authentic ... al-Qaeda is involved in this, and has been for some time."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

This page printed from: http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=February&x=20040210184053adynned0.2477991&t=usinfo/wf-latest.html

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