Gibbons to travel to Iraq in July for fact-finding mission

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Rep. Jim Gibbons will travel to Iraq next month as part of a fact-finding mission concerning weapons of mass destruction, his spokeswoman said Friday.

The Nevada Republican will join other members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence for the trip, which is scheduled from July 8 to July 11, said Amy Spanbauer, Gibbons' spokeswoman.

The group will include committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla., Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Ala. They will travel throughout Iraq, including a stop in Baghdad, but no other details were released.

Spanbauer said Speaker of the House, Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., requested the trip to look at the nation's intelligence capabilities concerning the search for chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.

"The great news is that the major conflict of the war ended quickly, but that doesn't mean our job will end as quickly," Spanbauer said. "(There's still) the reconstruction effort and the search for weapons of mass destruction. This is one of those things that is going to take time."

Democrats have questioned whether prewar intelligence was inaccurate or manipulated to back President Bush's push for war. Republicans have said there is no sign of wrongdoing and have accused Democrats of raising the issue for political reasons.

House and Senate intelligence committees are reviewing the issue. Harman, the top Democrat on the House committee, said early stages of their review found the administration ignored doubts about Iraq's chemical and biological weapons capability. But Harman said she believes Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that could be in the hands of terrorists.


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