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Bush confident of unearthing Iraqi weapons

Bush:
Bush: "Intelligence throughout the decade" showed that Iraq had a weapons program.

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Some officials admit prewar intelligence on Iraqi weapons lacked clarity.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Monday that he remains "absolutely convinced" evidence of weapons of mass destruction eventually will be found in Iraq.

A U.S. search team has so far produced no evidence of such weapons in the country. The United States stated the threat of Iraq's weapons capability as its primary reason to invade in March.

"Iraq had a weapons program," Bush said. "Intelligence throughout the decade showed they had a weapons program." (Full story)

With the lack of concrete finds, Bush and his administration are facing increasing calls for an investigation into the prewar intelligence, which was used as ammunition when the case for war was being made.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a Senate Intelligence Committee member, told CNN he believes the U.S. intelligence community deliberately manipulated intelligence to win support for the Iraq war.

A summary of a September 2002 report from the Defense Intelligence Agency -- the Pentagon's military intelligence wing -- said it had found "no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons." But the summary also said intelligence indicated Saddam was dispersing chemical weapons in advance of a possible war.

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice cautioned against misreading the report or pursuing "revisionist history."

"The truth of the matter is that repeated directors of Central Intelligence, repeated reports by intelligence agencies around the world, repeated reports by U.N. inspectors asking hard questions of Saddam Hussein and tremendous efforts by this regime to conceal and hide what it was doing clearly give a picture of a regime that had weapons of mass destruction and was determined to conceal them," Rice said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

U.S. Secretary State Colin Powell, who addressed the U.N. Security Council on Iraq's weapons capabilities during the buildup to the war, said there was "no doubt whatsoever" that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction before the U.S.-led invasion. (More on Powell's February presentation)

Other developments:

• A U.S. soldier was killed Sunday night while manning a traffic control point in Qaim in western Iraq near the Syrian border, according to U.S. Central Command. Two people, armed with pistols, got out of a vehicle and shot the soldier after requesting help for a sick passenger, a Central Command statement said. Soldiers at the checkpoint returned fire, killing one assailant and capturing a second, while at least one other assailant fled in the vehicle, the Army said. (Full story)

• Two senior al Qaeda figures in U.S. custody have said they do not know of any ties between their group and the former Iraqi regime, U.S. officials told CNN. The New York Times reported Monday that Abu Zubaydah and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed have told interrogators they did not know of any connection between al Qaeda and Saddam's regime. U.S. officials confirm that Zubaydah has said Osama bin Laden rejected the idea of cooperating with Iraq. The U.S. officials, however, are downplaying the significance of the detainees' comments to interrogators.

• Iraqi Oil Ministry sources said Monday that oil will begin to be exported to international markets during the third week of June. The sources said contracts are being evaluated for firms that want to buy oil.


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