WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - Democratic candidate John Kerry, whose campaign demanded to know on Wednesday whether President George W. Bush read a key Iraq intelligence assessment, did not read the document himself before voting to give Bush the authority to go to war, aides acknowledged.
"Along with other senators, he was briefed on the contents of the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) by (then-CIA Director) George Tenet and other administration intelligence officials," said Kerry spokesman Phil Singer.
Kerry's campaign has challenged Bush to say whether he read the complete intelligence report before deciding to go to war, or whether he just read a one-page summary, which Democrats say gave him none of the dissenting views included in the full version.
The Kerry campaign stepped up the attack on Wednesday, sending out an e-mail with the headline, "Did anyone in the White House read the full National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq?"
In a conference call organized by the campaign, Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat Richard Durbin said Bush should have read the 90-page report issued in October 2002.
Asked if Kerry read it, Durbin responded, "I don't know."
Singer said the issue was not whether Kerry read the intelligence assessment himself, but why the White House had refused to release the one-page presidential summary.
"The bigger question is why ... the president -- the commander-in-chief, who decided when and how to take us to war -- won't share this document with the Congress," Singer said.
The National Intelligence Estimate concluded Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons but noted dissent from the State Department's intelligence service and other agencies.
The Bush campaign has accused Kerry of "flip-flopping" on the war.
The Massachusetts senator, who voted for the congressional resolution authorizing Bush to use force in Iraq, has since charged the president rushed to war without adequate international help or a plan to win the peace.
At campaign stops in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Bush attacked Kerry for expressing pride in having voted against an $87 billion funding bill for Iraq.
"This is yet another example of John Kerry's desperate attempts to hide the fact that he has a political problem because he voted for the war in Iraq, voted against support for our troops, and then claimed to be proud of it," said Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel.
Durbin criticized the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. He said it was prepared in just three weeks instead of the customary six months.
"It was done in a hurry so that the vote would take place in October before the invasion of Iraq. And now we know that there were many aspects of that National Intelligence Estimate which were inaccurate," Durbin said.
Jets Insider VIP JetsInsider.com Legend Charter JI Member
Post Thanks / Like
Here's another doosy...the Bush administration has invited Kerri to some of the recent intelligence meeting and offered to share some recent intelligence reports with him just on the off chance kerri wins the election, (you know, for the good of the country). Kerri has yet to take them up on the offer.
C'mon guys-Warren Buffet or Sumner Redstone may be on their deathbeds at any time, and their wives may need the comfort only Fred Gwynne Jr. can provide. How can you read anything when these veritable fortunes may be in play at any moment?