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CIA Whites Out Controversial Estimate on Iraq Weapons;

Main Subject of Today's Senate Intelligence Report Remains Largely Secret;

Agency Censors Document Despite Public CIA Speeches, Testimony, Statements

Links
The Saddam Hussein Sourcebook
Saddam Hussein: More Secret History
Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein
The U.S. tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
Eyes on Saddam
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U.S. Army Identified 500 Alleged Iraqi War Criminals in 1992
Report released under FOIA is precursor to 2003 war crimes proceedings
Operation Desert Storm: Ten Years After
Documents shed light on role of intelligence, stealth technology and space systems in the Gulf War

 

Washington D.C., 9 July 2004 - The CIA has decided to keep almost entirely secret the controversial October 2002 CIA intelligence estimate about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that is the subject of today's Senate Intelligence Committee report, according to the CIA's June 1, 2004 response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Security Archive.

The CIA's response included a copy of the estimate, NIE 2002-16HC, October 2002, Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, consisting almost entirely of whited-out pages. Only 14 of the 93 pages provided actually contained text, and all of the text except for the two title pages and the two pages listing National Intelligence Council members had previously been released in July 2003. At that time, CIA responded to the first round of controversy over the Niger yellowcake story by declassifying the "Key Findings" section of the estimate and a few additional paragraphs.

The CIA's censorship of the estimate mirrors its apparent treatment of the Senate's own report. The Senate Intelligence Committee had previously noted, in a 17 June 2004 press release, that "The Committee is extremely disappointed by the CIA's excessive redactions to the report." News accounts quoting Senate sources estimate that this excessive redaction amounted to 50% of the entire text. After a month of back-and-forth, not only did a number of Senators gain an education in the subjectivity of classification, but also the CIA retreated, to a final censorship level (by word-count) of 16%. Perhaps the most egregious example of the CIA's knee-jerk secrecy occurs on pages 49-50, when only one sentence survives censorship in the Committee's discussion of the British White Paper - and that sentence reports that the British had actually published the Paper. Large sections of blacked-out discussion following the Committee's Conclusions - such as the CIA's misleading of Secretary of State Colin Powell for his February 2003 United Nations speech (pages 253-257) and the CIA's misleading the public in its October 2002 white paper that left out the caveats, hedged language, and dissents in the underlying intelligence (pages 295-297) - are currently under declassification review by CIA. The Committee itself withheld these sections from the CIA's review until release of the report so as not to be scooped or spun.

The estimate has been the subject of multiple public speeches, statements and testimony by CIA and other intelligence community officials - even more of which is published in today's Senate report. These include public statements by CIA director George Tenet on 11 July 2003 and 11 August 2003, Tenet's Georgetown speech of 5 February 2004, and NIC vice-chairman Stuart Cohen's statement of 28 November 2003.

The Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) today summed up the committee's 511-page report as follows: "[T]oday we know these assessments were wrong. And, as our inquiry will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available evidence." National Security Archive director Thomas Blanton commented, "The CIA's continued secrecy claims on a document that has been widely and publicly discussed by top CIA officials, and now by the Senate, is wrong, unreasonable, and largely unsupported by the available evidence."

Today's posting by the National Security Archive includes:

1. The 1 June 2004 release by CIA of the censored estimate.

2. The July 2003 release by CIA of the estimate's Key Findings and additional paragraphs.

3. The October 2002 unclassified presentation on "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs," with the seal of the Director of Central Intelligence on the cover.

4. The full text of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate

There have been three separate releases of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, including most recently a June 1, 2004 CIA response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive. The CIA released an Unclassified version of the NIE, titled Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs, in October 2002. In response to the brewing controversy over U.S. intelligence estimates of Iraqi WMD programs, the White House approved the release of another version of the report in July 2003.

National Intelligence Estimate
Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction
October 2002, Top Secret
Source: CIA declassification release under FOIA, June 1, 2004

National Intelligence Estimate - White House declassification release
Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction
October 2002, Top Secret (Extract)
Source: White House, July 2003

National Intelligence Estimate - CIA Unclassified version
Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs
October 2002, Unclassified
Source: CIA public release, October 2002

The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Prewar Intelligence

United States Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence
Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq
Released on July 7, 2004
Full text (24 MB)

Or Download by Section

I. Introduction

II. Niger

III. Intelligence Community Analysis of Iraq's Nuclear Program

IV. Intelligence Community Analysis of Iraq's Biological Weapons Program

V. Intelligence Community Analysis of Iraq's Chemcal Weapons (CW) Program

VI. Intelligence Community Analysis of Iraq's Delivery Systems

VII. Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence in Secretary Powell's United Nations Speech

VIII. Intelligence Community Collection Activities Against Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

IX. Pressure on Intelligence Community Analysts Regarding Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Capabilities

X. White Paper on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs

XI. The Rapid Production of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction

XII. Iraq's Links to Terrorism

XIII. Intelligence Community Collection Activities Against Iraq's Links to Terrorism

XIV. Pressure on Intelligence Community Analysts Regarding Iraq's Links to Terrorism

XV. Powell Speech - Terrorism Portion

XVI. Iraq's Threat to Regional Stability and Security

XVII. Saddam Hussein's Human Rights Record

XVIII. The Intelligence Community's Sharing of Intelligence on Iraqi Suspect Weapons of Mass Destruction Sites With United Nations Inspectors

Appendices, Glossary, Acronyms & Abbreviations

Additional Views

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