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Australian Report Finds Iraq Data Flawed...

by Blake Cook / July 22, 2004 5:20 AM PDT

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Australia's decision to invade Iraq was based on thin, equivocal and uncertain intelligence about that country's weapons of mass destruction, a report on Australia's prewar intelligence gathering found Thursday.

But the report by former Australian diplomat and spy master Philip Flood cleared Prime Minister John Howard's government of allegations that it doctored intelligence assessments to boost its case for joining the U.S.-led invasion.

In his 185-page report, Flood lamented "the thinness of the intelligence on which analysts were expected to make difficult calls" about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The findings were similar to reports issued in both the United States and Britain.

"There was little by way of hard current intelligence available to analysts across the range of WMD capability issues," Flood said. "Much of the information that was available was equivocal or of uncertain validity."

He added, "the weakness of the intelligence picture was in part due to inadequate collection."

The efforts of Australian spy agencies the Office of National Assessments and Defense Intelligence Organization was further complicated by their almost complete reliance on intelligence gathered by the United States and Britain, Flood said.



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