WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice is investigating allegations that Bush administration officials altered records sent to Congress to disguise shipment of technology with military uses to Iraq, according to interviews and documents.
The investigation is trying to determine which officials were responsible for deleting military designations on some of the administration-approved export licenses and whether the changes violated federal law, two sources said.
Congress requested the list as part of its examination of administration policies that allowed Iraq to buy high-tech American goods, some of which were used to build Saddam Hussein's military power.
The deletion of some military descriptions meant that Congress did not get an accurate picture of the material licensed for sale.
The information was compiled from data at the Department of Commerce, which regulates export of sensitive technology.
Two officials at the White House National Security Council supervised the compilation and production of the records for a House investigative committee last year, said two administration officials familiar with the preparation of the material.
The NSC was one of the agencies that implemented a policy of selling Iraq sensitive technology, which started during the Iran-Iraq war.
The sources said they were aware of no evidence that the NSC officials participated in the alterations, and no one has been accused of wrongdoing.
The investigation centers on export licenses for the sale of $1.5 billion worth of high-tech goods to Iraq between 1985 and 1990.
Rep. Doug Barnard, D-Ga., chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee on commerce, consumer and monetary affairs, sought a list of the licenses last year as part of an inquiry into whether lax controls during the Reagan and Bush administrations allowed Iraq to obtain U.S. technology used in developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.