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CIA Intelligence Gathering

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The head of the CIA insists there was no intelligence failure about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

George Tenet says even now, it would be difficult to come to a different conclusion than the one the CIA made a year ago. But he notes that the assessment never included a warning that Iraq's Saddam Hussein presented an "imminent threat."

Tenet says CIA analysts did warn Saddam was a brutal dictator who was trying to build programs that might surprise the US and threaten its interests.

The CIA director acknowledges the agency may have "over-estimated" the progress Saddam was making on nuclear weapons. And he notes that no chemical or biological weapons have been found.

Still, he's pleading for patience -- saying those searching for the weapons are nowhere near the end of their work and they need more time.

He also discounts suggestions that CIA analysts were pressured -- saying no one told the agency what to say or how to say it.

A US official says Tenet did not clear his speech with the White House ahead of time. Scott McClellan says President Bush retains "great confidence" in Tenet.


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