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Ex-Iraq WMD hunter says Bush should 'come clean'
Updated: 2004-03-03 12:44

Former chief U.S. weapons inspector David Kay said in an interview on Wednesday President Bush should come clean and admit he was mistaken about Iraq having stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons.

Kay told Britain's Guardian newspaper that the failure to accept that the intelligence was wrong was giving the impression people had been deliberately misled.

"When you don't say you got it wrong, it leads to the general belief that you manipulated the intelligence and so you did it for some other purpose," he told the paper.

Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was the main reason given by the Bush administration for the war in which more than 500 U.S. troops have died.

In January, Kay resigned his post saying he now believed no such arms existed and the failure to find any such arms has raised serious questions about the quality of pre-war intelligence.

Bush has since defended the war saying Saddam Hussein had the capacity to develop banned weapons even if he did not actually posses them.

But Bush's Democratic challengers have accused him of hyping the threat to justify the invasion and under mounting pressure in an election year he has ordered an independent investigation to examine the issue.

Kay, who says he still believes the war was justified and that Bush had acted in good faith, said the president had to go further to regain public trust.

"It's about confronting and coming clean with the American people, not just slipping a phrase into the state of the union speech," Kay said. "He should say 'We were mistaken and I am determined to find out why'."

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