Senate intelligence committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) announced new deadlines for his panel's fabled "Phase II
" of its now-epic investigation into prewar Iraq intelligence -- but the final report is still unlikely to come until after the November elections, Congressional Quarterly reports
Writes CQ's Tim Starks:
With several of his previously set deadlines for the second phase of the investigation already lapsed, Roberts said Tuesday his committee would hold a business meeting July 13 to determine the process for finalizing two reports before the August break and the third in September.
The first two reports would address postwar findings on Saddam Husseinâs connections to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction capabilities, and how the intelligence community used information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, an exile organization headed by Ahmed Chalabi. The third report would address prewar intelligence assessments of postwar Iraq.
Another segment of the Phase II investigation is being held up by a pending Pentagon inspector general report on activities conducted by the Pentagonâs Office of Special Plans under former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith. Roberts said he wants to await the completion of that report before pursuing his own inquiry further.
The final segment, which is the most controversial, would address the administrationâs public statements on Iraq. However, Roberts and panel Democrats have fought over Robertsâ desire to include the prewar remarks of other government officials, including Democratic senators.
"Phase II" was where Roberts stuffed most of the most vexing questions for the administration. The panels' report on Phase I was released nearly two years ago.
The panel is taking so long with this phase of the invstigation, they will clearly produce a very, very thorough report. Especially once the political pressures of the midterm elections are past. Right?