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Bush administration: Data will prove Iraqi deception

From John King
CNN Washington Bureau


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration is likely to declassify intelligence as early as next week that it says proves that senior Iraqi officials have been concealing weapons and evidence of weapons programs from U.N. weapons inspectors, administration officials said Monday.

But there is concern within the administration that releasing information will compromise sources, and two officials said the scope of the planned release has not been determined.

By the end of the month or about the first week of February, the administration was aiming to make a more detailed case showing that Iraq not only has banned weapons programs but also has been working to keep inspectors from finding them, officials indicated.

The information could include satellite photographs and "intercepts," according to one of the officials, who declined to be named or to be more specific.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell have publicly said that the United States has intelligence showing Iraqi officials working to stymie the inspectors. On Monday, Powell said inspectors also have reported indications that Iraq is trying to conceal weapons.

Deputy national security adviser Steven Hadley is heading the administration effort to determine what to make public. A "careful review" is under way because officials are concerned that releasing information might compromise future intelligence operations, the White House official said.

One reason the United States has not shared its most sensitive intelligence with the U.N. inspectors is the fear that inspectors are being monitored by Iraqi officials. Some of that information, the official said, could undermine any U.S. war effort if it reached the senior Iraqi officials.


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