Senators vow to finish investigation into faulty intelligence

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sunday reaffirmed their commitment to investigate whether the administration and policymakers exaggerated prewar intelligence on Iraq to justify an invasion, but did not offer any timeline for completing the probe.

The committee will complete the second phase of its investigation, Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said on NBC News' Meet the Press.

"I hope this doesn't take too long," Roberts said. "I'm more than happy to finish this, and I want to finish it, but we have other things that we need to do."

Roberts said other priority work for the committee includes Tuesday's confirmation hearing for John Negroponte to be the national intelligence director and next week's hearing for Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden to be the deputy national intelligence director.

The committee completed the first phase of its investigation last summer and found that the CIA incorrectly concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

At the time, Roberts and Rockefeller said they were launching a second phase that would investigate whether senior Bush administration officials intentionally exaggerated information and pressured analysts in order to build a case for invading Iraq in 2003.

Rockefeller said he was especially interested in whether Douglas Feith, then-deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, was operating an illegal intelligence operation from the Pentagon that circumvented traditional intelligence channels.

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction also concluded late last month that the intelligence community was "dead wrong" in almost all prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The commission did not find any evidence that the intelligence community distorted evidence regarding Iraqi weapons or changed analytic judgments in response to political pressure to reach a particular conclusion.

Rockefeller, however, said the commission's report fell short because it did not investigate allegations that intelligence was hyped. The commission "did not have the authority to look into the use of intelligence, the hyping of intelligence, the misuse of intelligence, and thus half the report really has been left out," he said.

Roberts said the second phase of his committee's investigation has three parts. The first part compares public statements by administration officials before the invasion to what is now known about the intelligence.

The second part examines the intelligence work done under Feith. The third looks at prewar intelligence on the post-war insurgency in Iraq.

Roberts and Rockefeller both agreed that current and future intelligence needs to be carefully evaluated.

"Our committee has now determined that we're not going to take any intelligence at face value, we're going to be very proactive and very preemptive to look at the capabilities of the intelligence community on the tough threats that face our national security," Roberts said. "We've learned our lesson."

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