Gates Hearing in Senate May Have Echoes of 1991





The accusations lodged against Robert M. Gates the last time he came before the Senate for confirmation, in 1991, sound eerily contemporary in the wake of the debate over skewed prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Mr. Gates, in the words of one Central Intelligence Agency subordinate, Jennifer L. Glaudemans, “politicized intelligence analysis,” insisting on slanted reports that became the basis for “momentous foreign policy decisions.”

The Senate will have to decide whether such claims, which did not prevent the C.I.A. veteran from becoming the agency’s director 15 years ago, have new relevance now that President Bush has named him to succeed Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary.

Senators may revisit assertions that Mr. Gates falsely denied knowledge of the Reagan administration’s secret scheme to sell arms to Iran and use the proceeds to support the Nicaraguan contra rebels, an issue that derailed his first nomination to lead the C.I.A. in 1987.

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