CIA Blocks Warning on Syria's Weapons Plans

(New York Times) Douglas Jehl - The CIA and other agencies blocked a Bush administration plan to deliver sharp new warnings last week about Syria's efforts to develop unconventional weapons, objecting to testimony that Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John R. Bolton was to present to Congress. Bolton planned to say in a classified portion of his testimony that Syria's development of chemical and biological weapons had progressed to the point that they posed a threat to stability in the Middle East. Government officials said they had no doubt that the separate controversy surrounding President Bush's use of disputed intelligence about Iraq's suspected nuclear weapons program had caused the intelligence agencies to be particularly rigorous in scrutinizing the testimony Bolton had prepared about Syria. In the last year, Bolton has been among the administration officials most publicly critical of Syria, identifying the Damascus government as being among those whose pursuit of chemical and biological weapons made them international threats. In June, Bolton said that American officials "know that Syria is pursuing the development of biological weapons." A CIA report in April said only that it was "highly probable that Syria is also continuing to develop an offensive BW capability."

2003-07-22 00:00:00

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