Evening Newscasts Wrap: ABC News Political Unit

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All networks lead with the Senate Intelligence Report. ABC: Linda Douglass/ NBC: Andrea Mitchell/ CBS: David Martin.


ABC's Linda Douglass notes the report concludes that the Administration based much of its case for war on false information, exaggerated claims and faulty assumptions by the CIA. The 500 page report paints a devastating picture of intelligence agencies that twisted the evidence to support their belief that Saddam Hussein was producing WMDs. In the fall of 2002, the CIA rushed to release a frightening report that warned Saddam Hussein was preparing to use Sarin gas, Anthrax, and Small Pox that could threaten the U.S. Today's report found that claim was inconsistent with anything the CIA had said before. Although the administration touted the intelligence claims in the months leading up to the war, the report found that much of the information Colin Powell presented to the UN before the war was "overstated" and "misleading." However, the report did not find evidence that administration officials attempted to coerce or pressure analysts to conclude that Iraq had WMDs. Democrats strongly disagree. The report found that the CIA was correct in concluding there were links between Iraq and Al Qeada, though no formal relationship. The next phase of the report will look at whether the White House manipulated information.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports according to today's report, President Bush went to war on false assumptions that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. 511 pages catalog misjudgments, no attempt by Saddam to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program, no stock pile of biological or chemical weapons, no formal terror connection between Iraq and al Qaeda. Even today in two appearances, President Bush insisted Saddam was a threat. The CIA says the White House did not pressure them to hype the pre-war threat. Dissenting views from committee Democrats call that an incomplete picture, insisting the agency was pressured.

CBS's Harry Smith says that the report found no evidence there was collusion with WH, and blamed the CIA for the failures. Reports CBS's David Martin, most conclusions were not supported by the evidence and that the report is "crammed" with specific details and mistakes. Sen. Pat Roberts claims officials suffered from "groupthink" for people to presume Iraq had WMD. Martin also reports that the aluminum tubes were likely for rockets. The report also finds there were no CIA agents in Iraq after 1999, and yet the committee did not blame the White House, even blaming the CIA for Bush's State of the Union gaffe. No need for a shakeup says John McLaughlin. McLaughlin denies there are "sweeping" problems that need to be fixed.


Ted Koppel reports, campaigning in Pennsylvania today, President Bush said the committee's report had not changed his mind, he would make the same choice to go to war. Mr. Bush said that Saddam Hussein was a threat for many reasons, and that the world is a better place... America is safer without Saddam.


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