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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Get the truth on pre-war intelligence

A report by the Pentagon’s inspector general raises two big questions about how the U.S. government used or abused intelligence as it was preparing to go to war in Iraq.

The report says that before the 2003 invasion, the Pentagon fed the White House questionable evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida — evidence that the CIA doubted was true.

The most urgent question is whether Americans should believe what the Bush administration is saying now about Iran’s involvement in Iraq.

Officials are putting out information that seems to show Iran is helping people who are fighting U.S. troops. But is this information true, and are we getting the whole story?

U.S. citizens shouldn’t have to ask such questions, which indicate distrust of our own government. But what else can we do when it appears that the Bush administration, intentionally or not, used bad information to justify the Iraq invasion?

If the U.S. expands the war by taking military action against Iran, it had better have indisputable evidence that such action is necessary.

The other question is whether administration officials trumped up a reason to attack Iraq. The inspector general’s report says former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld directed that the CIA be briefed on the Pentagon’s findings, but ultimately the CIA wasn’t fully informed about what the Pentagon told the White House.

Somebody important may have broken the law while rushing the nation into a needless, costly and tragic war.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin, D-Mich., says he will hold hearings on the Pentagon’s “twisted intelligence.” Good. Americans deserve the truth.

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