|09/07/04||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
|National Security Archive Update, July 9, 2004|
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Contact: Thomas Blanton
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.” In the report released today, the CIA's censorship includes the entire discussion sections that follow the Committee's conclusions that the CIA misled Secretary of State Colin Powell for his February 2003 United Nations speech (pages 253-257), and that the CIA's unclassified presentation of its Iraq WMD findings in October 2002 misled the public by leaving out the caveats, hedged language, and dissents in the underlying intelligence (pages 295-297).
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:
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