Wired News | Bush Sidesteps Call for Outside Probe on Iraq WMD: “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Bush on Friday sidestepped demands for outside review of pre-war intelligence on Iraq, but said it was important to know all the facts surrounding White House assertions Iraq’s illicit weapons justified the U.S. decision to invade.
“I want to American people to know that I, too, want to know the facts,” Bush told reporters at the White House. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has broken party ranks to join Democratic demands for an independent probe into how U.S. intelligence got it wrong given the failure by searchers to find weapons of mass destruction Bush insisted were in Iraq.
The president, seeking re-election this year, gave no sign he planned to yield to the demands. He stuck to a position that the U.S. government will compare in an internal CIA probe the pre-war intelligence with what the weapons hunters have found.
“I want to be able to compare what the Iraq Survey Group has found with what we thought prior to going into Iraq,” he said when asked whether he would support an independent probe.
Former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay said on Capitol Hill on Wednesday “we were almost all wrong” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that his search there found no evidence of biological or chemical arms.
Kay and a number of leading Democrats on Capitol Hill have also called for an investigation, but Republicans say they fear an election-year political witchhunt.
Bush said Kay had made clear in his congressional testimony that Saddam Hussein was a “growing danger” who had to be dealt with given the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world.
“He was defiant, he ignored the request of the international community and this country led a coalition to remove him. We dealt with the danger,” Bush said. But critics emphasize that was not the main justification given for the war, in which more than 500 U.S. troops have so far died.