Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials exaggerated what U.S. intelligence agencies were reporting about Iraqi weapons, according to Congressional investigations. But even before that exaggeration, the intelligence reports had been skewed by an administration eager for war, according to recently declassified documents. For example, the CIA's white paper on "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Program" was supposedly based on the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). But drafts of the CIA paper existed in July 2002, "long before the NIE was even requested by Congress." There are few differences between the early draft and final paper, mostly made "to insert more charges" about Iraqi weapons activities, "or to sharpen them. ... Little of the text shows the kind of approach characteristic of intelligence analysis." An early draft of a September 2002 British paper on Iraqi weapons shows that its claims were also made "even more somber," suggesting that "the Bush administration and the Tony Blair government began acting in concert to build support for an invasion of Iraq two to three months earlier than previously understood." U.S. intelligence agencies' use of information from the anti-Saddam Hussein exile group Iraqi National Congress -- and their dismissal of more reliable sources saying there were no Iraqi WMDs -- "most likely flows directly from the prodding ... by high levels at the Pentagon and White House," concludes the National Security Archive.
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