CIA Intelligence Gathering

Central Intelligence Agency
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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.