ITWASSOOTED: Senate asks Pentagon to probe Feith role on Iraq

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Senate asks Pentagon to probe Feith role on Iraq

They also asked Colonel sanders to investigate the fried chicken industry....

Nov 8, 2005 By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's inspector general has been asked to investigate the prewar intelligence role of a planning office headed by former U.S. defense policy chief Douglas Feith, a main architect of the Iraq war, officials said on Tuesday.

The request was made by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a letter sent in August.

It said the Defense Department should determine whether Feith and his Office of Special Plans wielded excessive influence over intelligence that claimed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The threat of such weapons, which have never been found in Iraq, was cited as a main justification for President George W. Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.

A Defense Department spokesman said it had not yet decided whether to undertake the investigation.

Democrats have put pressure on the Republicans who control Congress to speed up an investigation of whether the Bush administration twisted or misused intelligence in the run-up to the war, which was strongly supported by several top Pentagon officials including Feith.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, asked the Pentagon's inspector general to look into the activities of Feith's office after officials stopped cooperating with a Senate probe of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Republicans blame the slackening in Pentagon cooperation on public suggestions by Democrats that Feith's office could be guilty of illegal activities.

"This is in response to problems we had getting them to testify. To get a good look at the situation, (the committee) asked the IG to look into it," Roberts spokeswoman Sarah Ross Little said.

However, Democrats on the committee including the vice chairman, Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia, opposed Roberts' action and warned the move could delay the Senate investigation of Feith's office by up to a year.

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