White House will cooperate in Iraq probe

The White House has promised to hand over intelligence documents relating to Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction to the US Senate's intelligence committee.

    CIA chief George Tenet (L) advising George Bush in the White House

    The Bush administration revised it's earlier resistance to hand over information to the high level inquiry.

    A Republican politician who had been critical of the government's inability to meet the deadline to disclose all information said the announcement was a step in the right direction.

    ''In a spirit of co-operation the White House has agreed to supply us with the documents and the interviews that we want'' said Senator Pat Roberts.

    White House spokesman Trent Duffy said there had been ''productive conversations about the way we can work and assist the committee in a spirit of co-operation ''.

    However, Democrats such as Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia are more sceptical

    ''I want to see the documentation before I'm satisfied'', he said

    .

    Committee

    The intelligence committee sent out letters to leading figures in the White House, demanding that documents be handed over to the inquiry.

    Among the reports that the committee wants to pore over are president Bush's daily briefings focusing on national security, compiled by the CIA.

    The Bush administration has not disclosed these reports in the past, citing executive privilege.

    Exaggeration

    Critics of Bush's presidency believe that the administration may have exaggerated the scale of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme to gain support for the invasion of the country.

    Seven months after the invasion of Iraq, no chemical weapons have been found in the country.

    Blocked

    The committee has been highly critical of the Bush administration, accusing it of blocking the inquiry from conducting interviews with some officials. The government has also been accused of preventing the CIA from forwarding documents on to the inquiry.

    Republicans are hoping that the first stage of the inquiry will be completed by the end of the year.

    Democrats however want a broader inquiry focusing on how the White House used the intelligence that was provided.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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