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Senate Intel Panel Pushes Forward on Iraq Report

After a parliamentary move last week by Democrats to bring pre-Iraq war intelligence to the front pages, Republicans were steaming. But Wednesday's session in the Senate Select Intelligence Committee about the forthcoming report was marked by compromise and conciliation.

Click in the box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Jim Angle.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., accused by Democrats last week of stonewalling the investigation, said he was happy that the panel's analysis of pre-war intelligence on former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction program is now complete after a year's work.

Roberts seemed to take the progress as vindication against complaints the probe was moving too slowly.

"There are five provisions and we are working on all of them and we're making progress on all of them. Two of them are done, we'll have a third done very quickly," he said.

But the effort to look at pre-war statements about Iraq by U.S. officials of both parties, including President Bush, has been changed on the insistence of Democrats, and thus will take more time.

"When you have over 400 statements to try to match up intelligence and then to go back when you think you have questions, it does take a considerable amount of time," Roberts said.

One other issue, the role of a Pentagon unit in generating intelligence about Iraq, is still under way.

The progress so far seemed to satisfy both sides on Wednesday, and appeared to bring at least a temporary truce in the partisan shooting.

"Yesterday I indicated that I hoped we will be able to move forward in a bipartisan manner and I think we have done that as of today," Roberts said.

And the Democratic vice chairman of the committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., concurred, though he had second thoughts about fully embracing Roberts' view.

"I am in full agreement with; I'll start that again, I agree with Chairman Roberts that we made a lot of progress today," Rockefeller said.

"Phase Two," the second round of a broad investigation into what went wrong with U.S. pre-war intelligence about Iraq, was the subject of Democratic attacks a week ago.

At the time, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others forced the Senate into a closed session to complain that Roberts hadn't even begun work on the project. Though Democrats didn't take any of that back on Wednesday, Rockefeller confirmed that partisan differences have subsided.

"As the chairman indicated, we already have two drafts that we can work on and so I think we're on the right path, and as he indicated, I think we're on a unified path," Rockefeller said.

One Republican emerged from the meetings to say it was about time.

"The political stunt that was pulled last week was designed unfairly to cast aspersions on the chairman's leadership, and to try to score political points," said Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.

But Rockefeller said sometimes you have to have a disagreement in order to get an agreement. One Rockefeller aide insisted it wasn't clear the committee would ever finish Phase Two until the showdown last week pushed it along.

In any case, no partisan sniping occurred in Wednesday's meeting, and now Democrats and Republicans alike seem to agree that the investigation is headed in the right direction.