WASHINGTON – President Bush on Thursday named the final two members of the commission that will investigate prewar intelligence on Iraq, adding the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (search) and a former Pentagon official.
Charles M. Vest has been MIT's president since 1990. Henry S. Rowen, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, was an assistant defense secretary from 1989 to 1991 and a deputy assistant defense secretary from 1961 to 1964.
Bush, under fire about whether Iraq had banned weapons before the U.S.-led invasion, reversed course last week and created the nine-member bipartisan commission. Iraq's alleged possession of such weapons was Bush's primary rationale for war, and he had initially rejected Democrats' demands for an independent commission on prewar intelligence (search).
But pressure intensified after David Kay (search), the former head of the U.S. weapons inspection team in Iraq, said prewar intelligence was wrong.
The president instructed commissioners to examine why U.S. intelligence suggested Iraq had chemical and biological weapons stockpiles and an aggressive nuclear weapons program -- none of which have been found. The commission also will look at U.S. intelligence on weapons programs in North Korea, Iran, Libya and Afghanistan.
The panel has until March 31, 2005, to issue its report -- well after the November presidential election.
The commission is led by Laurence Silberman (search), a former federal appeals court judge and ambassador to Yugoslavia, and Charles Robb (search), a former two-term Democratic senator and Virginia governor.
The other members are: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lloyd Cutler, former White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton; former federal judge Patricia M. Wald; Yale University president Richard C. Levin; and retired Adm. William O. Studeman, former deputy director of the CIA.