Monday, June 25, 2007

White House opposes move to declassify report on Iraq's WMDs

WASHINGTON - The White House is resisting a move by both Republicans and Democrats to fully declassify a Senate report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Republicans say the public disclosure would help show that the CIA made honest mistakes in its 2002 assessment that Iraq owned stockpiles of WMDs, when in fact it no longer did.

But the White House believes the declassification would trigger another round of negative news media coverage and Democratic-led congressional hearings, said a Senate Republican, who asked to remain anonymous because of ongoing private discussions.

The dispute revolves around an obscure federal panel, the nine-member Public Interest Declassification Board.

Last November, incoming Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and the outgoing chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., signed a letter to the board asking for a review of two committee reports.

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