CIA Director George Tenet on Tuesday rejected recent assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney that Iraq had cooperated with the al-Qaida terrorist network.
Tenet also rejected Cheney’s statements that the administration had proof of an illicit Iraqi biological warfare program.
Tenet at first appeared to defend the administration, saying that he did not think the White House misrepresented intelligence provided by the CIA. The administration’s statements, he said, reflected a prewar intelligence consensus that Hussein had stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear bombs.
But under sharp questioning by Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, Tenet reversed himself, saying there had been instances when he had warned administration officials that they were misstating the threat posed by Iraq.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you what my interaction was … and what I did and didn’t do, except that you have to have confidence to know that when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it,” Tenet said. “I don’t stand up publicly and do it.”