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Senators say CIA delaying panel report on Iraq

WASHINGTON -- Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee are accusing the CIA of trying to delay release of the panel's report that criticizes the agency for overestimating the prewar threat posed by Iraq.

''I'm not sure whether it's because they don't want to be embarrassed," Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the committee's top Democrat, said yesterday on CNN's ''Late Edition" news program. ''For some reason, they're delaying it. They don't want it out."

The CIA was given most of the committee's report several weeks ago for declassification and fact-checking. The report examines intelligence failures on Iraq, including the flawed weapons estimates.

''They were supposed to have that back to us in two weeks, then three, and it's now four," said Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, the committee's chairman. He said the committee's review is ''not a flattering picture."

CIA spokesman Tom Crispell said, ''We will continue to work with the committee in order to deal with these issues."

The senators declined to discuss details of the report, but Roberts said the weapons issue ''was a global failure of all of the world intelligence agencies."

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