U.S. Intelligence and Policymaking: The Iraq Experience

RS21696 -- U.S. Intelligence and Policymaking: The Iraq Experience

Updated February 21, 2006


A continuing issue for Congress is the question of whether the U.S. Intelligence Community failed to provide accurate information about Iraqi capabilities to develop and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and whether the Bush Administration systematically misused intelligence to garner support for launching Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 and for continuing military operations in Iraq. The Senate Intelligence Committee submitted a report on the Intelligence Community's performance in July 2004 (S.Rept. 108-301), but a follow-on assessment of the use of intelligence has not been prepared and has become the source of controversy that led to a rare closed session of the Senate on November 1, 2005. This report explores in general terms the relationship between the production of intelligence and the making of policy as reflected in the period prior to the war against Iraq in March 2003 and the implications for Congress. This report will be updated if circumstances warrant.