Whatever Happened to the Senate Iraq Intel Probe?

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As you know, Sen. Pat Roberts’ (R-KS) Senate intelligence committee has been sitting on the “phase two” of its inquiry into WMD Iraqi intel for two years now — the part that’s supposed to look into whether the White House overstated the intelligence when making its case for war.

Roberts popped his head up two days ago to say his team was “making progress” on the report — an odd announcement for a couple reasons. First, the matter’s been out of sight and mind for most Americans; with the situation in Iraq worsening and the president’s poll numbers plummeting, why bring back an old nightmare?

Second — it’s been two years, chief. Everybody knows if it was up to Roberts this would have been dropped long ago. Who is he kidding?

Here’s the scuttlebutt: Democrats on the committee were preparing to make public complaints about Roberts’ continued foot-dragging, and the chairman made the announcement as a pre-emptory strike. (Big surprise, the Dems wouldn’t call back to confirm. Neither would Roberts’ office.)Normally, the specter of Democrats complaining doesn’t prod Republicans to act. But remember, last November the Dems shut down the Senate over this “phase two” report. Aside from being good oversight, it’s a good political issue, and the Dems know it.

Will this report ever actually exist? Like Congress should have said about the White House’s Iraqi WMD claims: we’lll believe it when we see it. In the meantime, we’ll keep poking around on Roberts’ committee, and let you know what we find.

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