The Honorable George Tenet
UNITED STATES SENATEJune 26, 2003
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
WASHINGTON, DC 20510-6050
Director of Central Intelligence
Washington, DC 20505
Dear Director Tenet:
An article in today's New York Times indicates that "The State Department's intelligence division is disputing the Central Intelligence Agency's conclusion that mysterious trailers found in Iraq were for making biological weapons, United States government officials said today."
This same article noted that "In a classified June 2 memorandum, the officials said, the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research said it was premature to conclude that the trailers were evidence of an Iraqi biological weapons program, as President Bush has done." The article also noted that "Officials said the C.I.A. and D.I.A. did not consult with other intelligence agencies before issuing the report."
On May 28, the CIA posted a report on its website, complete with photographs entitled Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants. The report states that the two trailers found in Iraq "probably are part of a two- or possibly three-trailer unit. Both trailers we have found probably are designed to produce BW agent in unconcentrated liquid slurry." The report also concludes that "Coalition experts on fermentation and systems engineering examined the trailer found in late April and have been unable to identify any legitimate industrial use ... that would justify the effort and expense of a mobile production capability. ...We ... agree with the experts that BW agent production is the only consistent, logical purpose for these vehicles."
I would like to ask several questions about the New York Times article and the May 28 report on the CIA website.
I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.
- If the New York Times article is accurate and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research issued a report disagreeing with the CIA's conclusion that the trailers were mobile biological warfare agent production plants, why isn't this dissenting view noted on the CIA's website?
- If the New York Times article is accurate, do you intend to add a notification of the State Department's dissenting view on your website?
- Is the statement in the New York Times article that the C.I.A. and D.I.A. did not consult with other intelligence agencies before issuing the May 28 report accurate? Why would the CIA not seek the views of other members of the Intelligence Community before making public such a report?
- Is it standard practice for the CIA to put reports like this on its website? If so, what is the purpose of doing so? If not, why was an exception made in this case and what was the purpose of doing so?