Times doing long piece on Intel failure
In 2002, at a crucial juncture on the path to war, senior members of the Bush administration gave a series of speeches and interviews in which they asserted that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program. In a speech to veterans that August, Vice President Dick Cheney said Mr. Hussein could have an atomic bomb "fairly soon."
President Bush, addressing the United Nations the next month, said there was "little doubt" about Mr. Hussein's appetite for nuclear arms.
Today, 18 months after the invasion of Iraq, investigators there have found no evidence of hidden centrifuges or a revived nuclear weapons program. The absence of unconventional weapons in Iraq is now widely seen as evidence of a profound intelligence failure, of an intelligence community blinded by "group think," false assumptions and unreliable human sources.
Yet the tale of the tubes, pieced together through records and interviews with senior intelligence officers, nuclear experts, administration officials and Congressional investigators, reveals a different failure.
Far from "group think," American nuclear and intelligence experts argued bitterly over the tubes. A "holy war" is how one Congressional investigator described it. That debate, which started in April 2001, produced two competing theories about the tubes. One, championed by the C.I.A., suggested a new nuclear menace. The other, advanced by the Energy Department, suggested a regime replenishing its rocket supply.