WASHINGTON – President Bush will name Sen. John McCain (search) to a commission that will investigate Iraq intelligence failures, an administration official said Thursday.
Bush will formally create the nine-member panel on Friday with an executive order. The bipartisan commission will be directed to deliver its findings next year, which means they will come in after the November presidential elections.
The president had resisted creating a commission but reversed course as political pressure mounted. In another reversal, Bush also announced support this week for a two-month extension of the reporting date for a commission investigating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The White House refused to disclose all the intelligence commission members in advance, but an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said McCain, R-Ariz., would be a member.
The commission will have access to the findings of the Iraq Survey Group (search) which is still searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, officials said. The former head of that group, David Kay (search), has concluded that Iraq did not possess forbidden weapons when the war began and that the United States went to war based on erroneous intelligence.
Kay was at the White House on Thursday and met with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (search) for a half hour. He met with Bush earlier in the week.
Administration officials say the intelligence commission will look at issues beyond simply weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It also will investigate intelligence more broadly in the war on terror, and the challenge of collecting information on terrorist groups and secretive governments such as those in Iran and North Korea.