In a new 516-page book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight," Rove says, "(Did) Bush lie us into war? Absolutely not," CNN reported.
He adds, "Would the Iraq War have occurred without (the belief Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction)? I doubt it. Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution without the threat of WMD. The Bush administration itself would probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam, bring about regime change, and deal with Iraq's horrendous human rights violations."
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein may have destroyed most of his WMD stockpiles, Rove said, or moved them to other countries before the war, CNN reported.
"But I am under no illusions; the failure to find stockpiles of WMD did great damage to the administration's credibility. Our weak response in defense of the president and in setting the record straight, is, I believe, one of the biggest mistakes of the Bush years."
Rove joined the Bush White House after the 2000 election.
The former presidential aide defended the use of enhanced interrogation techniques for terror suspects, saying the Department of Justice authorized them in August 2002 and then-CIA director George Tenet approved them, CNN reported.
He also tried to knock down claims the administration failed to brief Congress on the use of the techniques, including waterboarding.
Rove wrote, "When these techniques were first authorized, Democratic leaders had been briefed about them. Their silence made them complicit in their use."