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Bush’s Intelligence Panel Is Compromised at the Outset

Re “Panel Selected to Investigate Iraq Arms Data,” Feb. 7: I never realized that President Bush was an engineer. He certainly has engineered the “bipartisan” commission he has handpicked to investigate lapses in intelligence, not only with regard to Iraq but also for other countries considered security threats to the United States.

Why should Bush be the one to pick the participants? On the day Bush named them, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a member of the commission, stated that he was convinced the president had not tried to deceive the American people about his reasons to wage war against Iraq. Shouldn’t McCain wait to inspect the evidence before coming to his conclusion?

And how convenient for Bush that the commission’s report will not be due until four months after the November election.

This administration compels cynicism in the thinking electorate.

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Judi Birnberg

Sherman Oaks

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It seems to me that the president is trying to inoculate himself with the appointment of McCain, with his stellar reputation for independence. But the senator is already campaigning for Bush’s reelection.

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Giving the commission until March 2005 to present its findings sadly reminds me of President Nixon, at the height of the Watergate crisis, volunteering to edit the White House tapes and then present them to the American people.

Is there another Judge John Sirica out there?

Ezra D. Rappaport

Valley Village

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As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said, the administration should have given Congress a role in creating the commission. What we need is a truly independent commission to make a thorough study not only of the intelligence-gathering and analysis but also of how the Bush administration used the information. Was it cherry-picked and colored in order to gain support for a preordained war with Iraq? That is the question that needs to be answered before the November election.

Joan Irvine Smith

San Juan Capistrano

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What the Iraq intelligence commission should conclude is that the CIA works more effectively when the office of the vice president is not breathing down its neck, demanding evidence to fit a predetermined policy. Since the commission is constrained from investigating the administration’s use of the intelligence and is composed entirely of individuals appointed by the president, it seems likely that, instead, the CIA will be the scapegoat.

It’s ironic that the early CIA analysis, which took place before the administration started meddling, did not indicate that Iraq was much of a threat to the region, let alone to the U.S.

Paul Stone

Newport Beach


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