In a move sure to raise even more questions about the decision to go to war with Iraq, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will on Friday release selected portions of pre-war intelligence in which the CIA warned the administration of the risk and consequences of a conflict in the Middle East.
Among other things, the 40-page Senate report reveals that two intelligence assessments before the war accurately predicted that toppling Saddam could lead to a dangerous period of internal violence and provide a boost to terrorists. But those warnings were seemingly ignored.
In January 2003, two months before the invasion, the intelligence community’s think tank â€” the National Intelligence Council â€” issued an assessment warning that after Saddam was toppled, there was â€œa significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other and that rogue Saddam loyalists would wage guerilla warfare either by themselves or in alliance with terrorists.â€
It also warned that â€œmany angry young recruitsâ€ would fuel the rank of Islamic extremists and “Iraqi political culture is so embued with mores (opposed) to the democratic experience â€¦ that it may resist the most rigorous and prolonged democratic tutorials.”
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It is likely that Democrats and Republicans on the Hill will question how the administration could have predicted a short, easy war given these warnings and why it has taken more four years for them to surface.