President looks to establishment for intelligence inquiry
Saturday 07 February 2004
President George Bush appointed a panel yesterday to investigate the so-called intelligence failures over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The seemingly bi-partisan panel will not report its findings until well after this year's presidential election.
Amid growing pressure to explain why the administration's pre-war claims about Saddam Hussein's arsenal have proved to be wrong, Mr Bush named seven members of the nine person panel that will hold an inquiry. They included the Republican Senator John McCain, Charles Robb, a former governor of Virginia and the son-in-law of the former president Lyndon Johnson, and the retired judge Laurence Silberman.
The appointment of Senator McCain, often an outspoken critic of Mr Bush,is in contrast to Tony Blair's appointment of the former cabinet secretary Lord Butler of Brockwell to the UK's WMD review committee.
Critics have already dismissed Lord Butler's inquiry as likely to be a whitewash. Eleven backbenchers, including Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, have signed a Commons motion declaring that the former civil servant's service under three prime ministers "undermines his credibility as a fair and impartial chairman".
Lord Butler exonerated Jonathan Aitken after an inquiry into his visit to the Paris Ritz hotel owned by Mohamed Al Fayed. Mr Aitken was jailed for perjury following a court case over the affair. Lord Butler also defended Whitehall deceit during the Scott inquiry into arms to Iraq.
Mr Bush has been under considerable pressure to explain why the pre-invasion claims he made about Saddam's WMD have been proved false and the White House has tried to shift responsibility to the intelligence community. The director of the CIA, George Tenet, said the agency's analysts had never said Saddam was "an imminent threat".
Democrats sense Mr Bush's growing vulnerability on the issue of WMD. In an effort to regain the momentum, Mr Bush has opted for a somewhat risky strategy of appearing tomorrow on a Sunday morning political talk show, Meet the Press. The show's host, Tim Russert, is known for being less dogged than usual when interviewing cabinet officials.
Meanwhile, the President told Charles Duelfer, the newly appointed head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), yesterday that he "wants him to find the truth ... it is important that we know all the facts".
With no weapons having been found and with Mr Duelfer's predecessor, David Kay, publicly starting he believes no such weapons existed, the focus of the ISG will be to explain what Saddam did with any weapons that existed during the 1990s.
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...
£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...