Under pointed questioning from a Senate Democrat, Mr. Goss said he agreed that statements by Vice President Dick Cheney and the national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that linked Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, to Al Qaeda and to an active nuclear weapons program appeared to have gone beyond what was spelled out in intelligence reports at the time.
Each of the examples on which Mr. Goss commented were raised by Senator Carl M. Levin, the Michigan Democrat. They included a December 2001 statement in which Mr. Cheney said that a meeting in Prague between one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, and an Iraqi official had been “pretty well confirmed.” Also, statements by Ms. Rice in September 2002 saying that aluminum tubes being imported by Iraq “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs” and that “we know” that Iraq provided some training to Al Qaeda in chemical weapons development.
[H]e said of Mr. Cheney’s public assertion about Mr. Atta and the meeting with an Iraqi official in Prague, for example: “I do believe that’s a case that would put me into action if confirmed.”
By law, a director of central intelligence is required to submit independent judgments to the president. The idea, therefore, that an intelligence chief would correct policymakers has a long precedent.
Earlier this year, George J. Tenet, then still serving as intelligence chief, told Congress that he had corrected Bush administration officials, including Mr. Cheney, about several statements — including those linking Mr. Atta and the meeting in Prague.