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Pre-war intelligence

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[Sen. Pat Roberts][1] was, by all accounts, furious on Tuesday.Senate Democrats forced the chamber into closed session, as the New York Times, reports, "out of frustration with the refusal of the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, to make good on his February 2004 pledge to pursue such an investigation" into the Bush Administration's handling of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war."Mr. Roberts denied having done anything to slow the inquiry. In fact, he said, Intelligence Committee staff members were aggressively working on what is known as the Phase 2 intelligence inquiry, so named because the panel completed its initial work on the quality of the intelligence in July 2004."'We have agreed to do what we already agreed to do,' Mr. Roberts said on the Senate floor, 'and that is to complete as best we can phase two of the Intelligence Committee's review of prewar intelligence in reference to Iraq.'"But Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, questioned Mr. Roberts's commitment to the inquiry. He said that whenever the panel closed in on the sensitive question of administration handling of intelligence, 'then all of a sudden an iron curtain comes down.'"Senate Republicans - including Roberts and Majority Leader Bill Frist - expressed anger surprise at the Democratic action. But perhaps they shouldn't have been caught off guard.In recent weeks, Democratic and liberal opinion journals and blogs have increasingly criticized Roberts, accusing him of dragging his feet on the inquiry. Surely Democratic senators took notice of those articles - and perhaps even prompted some of them.[The American Prospect][2], for example, wrote last month that: "In February 2004, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) announced that it had unanimously agreed to expand its investigation of prewar Iraq intelligence from focus on intelligence community blunders and into the more controversial area of "'whether intelligence was exaggerated or misused' by U.S. government officials. ... Republican committee staffers don't deny that Roberts lacks enthusiasm for Phase II. But they insist that he hasn't acted to kill the investigation, and that the last interviews needed to complete it are being wrapped up. Ultimately, they say, it will be up to the committee's members to vote on whether or not to release a report."The influential liberal blog [Talking Points Memo][3] also took repeated shots at Roberts in recent weeks.For more about Pat Roberts and Tuesday's debate, [see here.][4]How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][5] [1]: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/02/politics/02senate.html?hp&ex=1130994000&en=40ae7eec794499f3&ei=5094&partner=homepage [2]: http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=10492 [3]: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/006793.php [4]: http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&lr=&client=safari&rls=en&tab=wn&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22pat+roberts%22+iraq+intelligence&btnG=Search+News [5]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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