(Bloomberg) -- Sept. 8, 2006 -- Bush administration claims justifying the war against Iraq were based on fragmented, conflicting, and at times unreliable intelligence, according to two reports released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Administration statements that Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden and was helping al-Qaeda obtain chemical and biological weapons proved wrong and misleading and weren't based on solid intelligence in its possession, the declassified Senate reports said.
Contrary to assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials, Hussein didn't have links to al-Qaeda and the September 11 terrorist plot, the reports said.
"Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime,'' one of the reports said. Hussein refused all requests from al-Qaeda to provide material or operational support, said the reports.
While Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress told U.S. officials that Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, that information later proved inaccurate, according to the committee reports.
U.S. intelligence agencies overestimated Saddam Hussein's ability and desire to obtain weapons material while United Nations sanctions were in place, the reports said. Further, the Senate committee determined that Hussein sought weapons of mass destruction as deterrents against Israel and Iran, not for use against the United States.