|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: BILL DUHNKE
|JUNE 11, 2003|
PHONE: (202) 224-1700
SENATOR ROBERTS: INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT TO INCLUDE THOROUGH REVIEW OF INTELLIGENCE ON IRAQ'S WMD
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today said that as part of the committee's on-going oversight responsibility, the committee will conduct a thorough and bipartisan review of intelligence regarding the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program and Iraq's connections with terrorist groups.
"While I am Chairman," Senator Roberts said, "the committee will handle this review in a responsible manner untainted by politics. Let me point out that the Joint Inquiry by an independent staff into 9-11 strongly criticized intelligence officials for not connecting the dots and for being risk averse, for failing to put together a picture that seemed all too obvious after the fact.
"Now, there seems to be a campaign afoot to criticize the intelligence community and the President for connecting the dots, for putting together a picture that seemed all too obvious before the fact.
"While some of the criticism leveled on the intelligence community has been understandable given the circumstances and, at times, constructive, some of the attacks have been for political gain. I will not allow the committee to be politicized or to be used as an unwitting tool for political strategists. That is not good for the community or for our national security. Such action has already caused divisiveness and those within the intelligence community to go back to the days of risk aversion, the primary cause of 9-11."
As a part of regular oversight duties of the Intelligence Committee we will endeavor to complete three tasks:
. Gather and evaluate the intelligence underlying pre-war assessments of Iraq's WMD capability and its connections to terrorists groups.
. Evaluate the reasonableness of the assessments considering the quantity and quality of such intelligence.
. Evaluate the accuracy of those assessments by comparing them with the results of the ongoing search in Iraq for prohibited weapons and connections to terrorist groups.
"All of the documents are and will be available to Committee members beginning Monday," Senator Roberts said. "I am recommending that they personally review each and every document so that their public statements are based on fact and so the committee can make informed decisions. The next time a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee expresses an opinion on this topic, I encourage you to ask them if they have done their homework. As Chairman, I intend to do mine."
"I am concerned by the number of anonymous 'officials' that have been speaking to the press alleging that they were pressured by Administration officials to skew their analysis, a most serious charge and allegations that must be cleared up," Senator Roberts said. "I can tell you the committee has yet to hear from any intelligence official expressing such concerns. If any officials believe, however, that they have been pressured to alter their assessment, they have an obligation and I encourage them to contact the committee for confidential discussions."