Pentagon Official Joins WMD Panel

President Bush on Wednesday appointed longtime Pentagon official Walter Slocombe (search) to an independent commission investigating America's intelligence operations, particularly the flawed prewar information about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (search).

Bush formed the commission — called the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction — in February after criticism surfaced about whether such weapons existed. Allegations about such weapons were an important factor in the run-up to the war that drove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power.

Slocombe, who was senior security adviser for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad and now is back in private law practice in Washington, will replace Lloyd Cutler (search), who stepped down for personal reasons. Cutler, former White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton, will no longer be a member of the commission but will serve as its counsel and will continue to contribute to its work.

Slocombe served in the Defense Department as undersecretary of defense for policy from 1994 to 2001. He was principal deputy undersecretary for policy from 1993 to 1994, deputy undersecretary for policy planning from 1979 to 1981 and principal deputy assistant secretary for international security affairs from 1977 to 1979.

The commission's joint chairmen are former Sen. Chuck Robb, D-Va., and Republican Laurence Silberman, a retired federal appeals court judge. The other commission members are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former federal judge Patricia M. Wald; Yale University President Richard C. Levin; retired Adm. William O. Studeman, former deputy director of the CIA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Charles M. Vest; and Henry S. Rowen, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and assistant secretary of defense from 1989 to 1991.