Bush To Declassify Iraq Report

George W. Bush, US President, with Hamid Karzai, as Afghanistan President, (r-l), appear together at joint press conference, Washington DC, photo 2006/9/26
AP
President Bush on Tuesday said it is naive and a mistake to think that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism, disputing a national intelligence assessment by his own administration. He said he was declassifying part of the report.

"Some people have guessed what's in the report and concluded that going in to Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush announced that he was ordering parts of the report declassified during a White House news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The president charges that portions of the national intelligence estimate were leaked for political purposes just weeks before the midterm elections, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports. Portions of the document that have been leaked suggest that the threat of terrorism has grown worse since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the war in Afghanistan, due in part to the war in Iraq.

Earlier Tuesday, White House spokesman Dana Perino raised the possibility that the administration would declassify the terror assessment.

Democrats have used the report to bolster their criticism of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy. The administration has claimed only part of the report was leaked and does not tell the full story.


Read the declassified parts of the National Intelligence Estimates report here (.pdf)
Both the chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee have urged the White House to release the material.

Using a portion of the report to attack his Iraq policy and suggest it has fanned more terrorism is "naive," Mr. Bush said.

"I think it's a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe," he said.

"There will not be an end to terrorism unless we remove the sources of hatred in madrassas and the training grounds," Karzai said before meeting with Mr. Bush.

President Bush told Karzai that his people need not wonder if America has the will to help them succeed. Mr. Bush told him "we have got that will," to which Karzai said "wonderful."

Acknowledging that the Taliban has tried to regain control in Afghanistan, Mr. Bush says the U.S. and NATO have adjusted tactics and are on the offensive. He says the fight in Afghanistan is part of what he calls "a global struggle."

The president also called on Congress to pass his plan for interrogating suspected terrorists.

Democrats failed to push the House into an unusual secret session to discuss a classified intelligence analysis on global terrorism that says the Iraq war is nourishing a new generation of extremist operatives.

The proposal from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was denied by a vote of 171-217. Such a session hasn't happened in the House since July 1983, when the chamber went into a closed session to discuss the United States' support for paramilitary operations in Nicaragua.