WASHINGTON – A new Senate report released Thursday appears to shed more light on the level of distrust between the CIA and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, but it did little to resolve partisan differences over the gathering and use of pre-Iraq war intelligence.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called for another probe following the report's release, this time into claims made by Rumsfeld in fall 2002 over Iraq weapons facilities, and accused Rumsfeld of making false claims to support the war effort.
Wyden said that while Rumsfeld said the weapons facilites were not vulnerable to air strikes, the report found that no intelligence agencies had come to that conclusion.
"This is stunning: the secretary of defense, testifying before Congress about whether or not ground forces would be strategically necessary in a war against Iraq, said that the Executive Branch knew somehting that it did not know," Wyden said, according to a release.
But Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans strongly dissented from the report, calling it a "disappointment" to those looking for evidence that anything "unlawful" occurred.
A majority of Republicans on the Intelligence Committee opposed releasing the report, but two — Sens. Olympia Snowe and Chuck Hagel — joined the Democrats in a 10-5 vote to release the report.
Republicans have chafed at Democrats' refusal to include unfavorable statements by Democrats in the report. So Thursday, they released a few of them on their own.
For instance, while Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. and chairman of the Intelligence Committee, is leading the effort to show the flaws in the Bush administration's handling and discussion of intelligence, Republicans pointed out that in October 2002, he appeared to support the idea that Iraq posed a threat.
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons. ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress that Saddam Hussein has been able to make in the development of weapons of mass destruction," Rockefeller said at the time.
The report also discusses more about the level of mistrust between President Bush's top deputies and the CIA.
Pentagon officials in late 2001 and 2002 concealed from the CIA and other intelligence agencies potentially useful information gleaned from Iranian agents, according to the report.
The Iranians told Pentagon employees about a tunnel complex in Iran used to store weapons and move its personnel covertly out of the country, likely into Afghanistan in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, war period, according to the report by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Iranians also told of a long-standing relationship with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and the growth of anti-regime sentiment inside Iran, it said.
The report focuses on a much-investigated series of meetings held in Rome over three days in December 2001 as the war in Afghanistan was being waged and the invasion plan for Iraq was in the initial planning stages.
Then-Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith sent two Pentagon employees to the Rome meetings with Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian dissident already dismissed by the CIA as untrustworthy, and several Iranians who were former and current members of the security service. It also involved an unspecified foreign government's intelligence service.
Ghorbanifar used one of those meetings to press for regime change in Iran, and outlined a plan for it on a napkin, according to the report, saying it would cost about $5 million to start.
The report said then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley failed to inform then-CIA Director George Tenet and then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage fully about the meeting, either before or after it occurred. It said, however, that Hadley and the Pentagon did not exceed their authority in conducting the meeting.
It also said that Defense Department officials refused to allow "potentially useful and actionable intelligence" to be shared with intelligence agencies, even the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency.
FOX News' Trish Turner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.