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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

16 September 2004

White House Report, September 16: Iraq

CIA prognosis for Iraq shows need for continued U.S. involvement

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency discusses challenges in that country and shows the importance of continued U.S. involvement to help the Iraqi people.

The classified report, prepared in July, is a compilation of views from various U.S. intelligence agencies that looks at different scenarios for Iraq's political and economic future through the end of 2005. According to press reports, the NIE predicts three scenarios, ranging from a tenuous stability to political fragmentation to the possibility of civil war.

Speaking September 16 to reporters en route to St. Cloud, Minnesota, McClellan said the NIE "states the obvious, and it talks about the challenges and the different scenarios that we face."

However, the intelligence report also "makes clear that it's important to stand with the Iraqi people as they face these challenges," he said, adding that "[t]he stakes are very high in Iraq."

The Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi people, said McClellan, have faced pessimistic outlooks before, such as doubts that they would not be able to assume sovereignty by June 30 or could establish an interim representative council to govern the country. "[They] have proven the pessimists wrong every step of the way," he said.

The press secretary said the transition to democracy is "never easy ... particularly in a dangerous region of the world like Iraq," but that the Iraqi people "have shown their commitment to realizing a brighter future."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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