Monday, January 30, 2006

Pentagon investigation of Iraq hawk stalling Senate inquiry into pre-war Iraq intelligence

The second part of the Senate investigation into bungled pre-war Iraq intelligence is still being held up by an internal Pentagon investigation of Douglas Feith, one of the war's leading architects, RAW STORY has learned.

As previously reported by Raw Story, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) inquiry -- titled Phase II -- is waiting on a report from the Pentagon inspector general as to Feith's alleged role in manipulating pre-war intelligence to support a case for war. Feith, who is also being probed by the FBI for his role in an Israeli spy case, resigned in January 2005.

More broadly, a RAW STORY investigation has found that Feith's access to classified information and his alleged wrongdoing can likely be laid at the feet of more senior officials in the Bush Administration -- namely Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- who would have had to have overruled Pentagon background checks to reissue Feith's clearances after he was booted from the National Security Council for allegations of espionage in the mid 1980s.

Senate and intelligence sources say that although the Phase II investigation into Iraq pre-war intelligence is stalled, the real issue is a "revolving door" policy which allowed a coterie of Iraq war hawks to shuttle in and out of the Pentagon despite their involvement in myriad intelligence-related scandals.

At the heart of the Senate Intelligence Committee's delay is the fact that Feith and the Defense Department refuse to provide documents and witnesses to the Committee. Senate sources say that Feith and the Pentagon have made the case that they will not share any information until the Senate provides them with full documentation of what the investigation is looking into, documentary evidence that Senate staff have acquired, and any other key findings that Feith's lawyers believe should be made available to them.

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