So far, teams hunting Iraq have found none of the large stockpiles for making anthrax or Sarin nerve gas, or the long-range missiles or other weapons that the U.S. and Britain alleged Iraq possessed.
"It's not because they're not there," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday. "We do believe they are there."
In Britain, opponents of the war are calling for hearings to determine if Prime Minister Blair lied when he presented a dossier in September that asserted Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction in as little as 45 minutes.
The BBC has reported that intelligence agents believe the unconfirmed claim was mentioned for political purposes, something Blair calls "absurd."
Visiting Poland on Friday, Blair asked skeptics to "Have a little patience."
"I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will present the full evidence after we have investigated all the sites, after we've interviewed all the scientists and experts, and this will take place in the coming weeks and months."
In other developments:
While polls indicate most Americans are not concerned about the lack of any weapons finds to date, officials in Washington apparently are. The CIA is conducting an in-house review of prewar intelligence that was requested by Rumsfeld in October.
An intelligence report this week found that two trucks equipped with fermenters seized in Iraq are likely mobile biological weapons labs.
In a wide-ranging, 45-minute interview Thursday, Mr.Bush — pounding his forefinger on the table for emphasis — seized on the CIA report.
"We've discovered weapons manufacturing facilities that were condemned by the United Nations — biological laboratories, described by our secretary of state to the whole world, that were not supposed to be there," he said.
But the report by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency was not conclusive and still offers no proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that were ready for use.
Like Blair, Rumsfeld asked for more time.
"We never believed that we or inspectors would just trip over them and find them," the defense secretary told Infinity Radio. "We always believed that (Saddam) was so successful at hiding things and denial and deception, that the way we would ultimately find them would be through other people telling us where they were."
However, some officials seem to be hedging their arguments about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld told an audience Tuesday that weapons may never be found in Iraq, possibly because Saddam destroyed them before the war.
An architect of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq said that Iraq's alleged illegal weapons arsenal was not the chief reason for going to war.
"For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was one reason everyone could agree on," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told Vanity Fair magazine.
He said a better reason was that overthrowing Saddam would allow the United States to remove its troops from Saudi Arabia, thus depriving al Qaeda of one of its recruiting tools.
On Friday, Blair said the search for weapons is "not the most urgent priority since Saddam is gone," arguing that rebuilding Iraq and addressing humanitarian issues take precedence.