(CBS/AP) When two small trailers were seized in Iraq in late May 2003, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory. The administration called the trailers mobile 'biological laboratories,' and Mr. Bush declared: 'We have found the weapons of mass destruction.'
Three years later, The Washington Post is reporting that the Bush administration publicly made that claim at that time even though U.S. intelligence officials already had strong evidence the trailers were not labs for making large scale biological weapons.
The Post notes that in late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the "confidence level is increasing" that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney pronounced the trailers to be "mobile biological facilities," and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.
But a secret mission to Iraq, according to the Post, had already concluded the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of a Pentagon-sponsored mission, according to a report on the newspaper's web site, sent their findings to Washington in a report on May 27, 2003 - two days before the president's statement.
The newspaper says both the brief initial report, and a 122-page final report finished soon after that, were shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly claim the trailers were weapons factories.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Did White House Push Bogus WMD Claim? - CBS News:
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