by John Hawkins | October 2, 2003 11:59 pm
The text of David Kay’s unclassified report was released tonight. After hammering home that this is an interim report and that nothing is final, Kay hit a number of points including…
The difficulty of tracking these WMD down…
— “It is important to keep in mind that even the bulkiest materials we are searching for, in the quantities we would expect to find, can be concealed in spaces not much larger than a two car garage.”
Some of the things they’ve found so far…
— “A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment.”
— “Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist’s home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.” (The Sun identifies this as ‘live’ botulism)
— “New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.”
— “A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.”
On biological weapons…
— “With regard to biological warfare activities, which has been one of our two initial areas of focus, ISG teams are uncovering significant information — including research and development of BW-applicable organisms, the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) in possible BW activities, and deliberate concealment activities.”
— “…(O)ne scientist confirmed that the production line for Bt could be switched to produce anthrax in one week if the seed stock were available.”
On the mobile trailers…
— “We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile BW production effort. Investigation into the origin of and intended use for the two trailers found in northern Iraq in April has yielded a number of explanations, including hydrogen, missile propellant, and BW production, but technical limitations would prevent any of these processes from being ideally suited to these trailers. That said, nothing we have discovered rules out their potential use in BW production.”
On chemical weapons…
— “…(T)here are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined.
— “While searching for retained weapons, ISG teams have developed multiple sources that indicate that Iraq explored the possibility of CW production in recent years, possibly as late as 2003.
When Saddam had asked a senior military official in either 2001 or 2002 how long it would take to produce new chemical agent and weapons, he told ISG that after he consulted with CW experts in OMI he responded it would take six months for mustard.
Another senior Iraqi chemical weapons expert in responding to a request in mid-2002 from Uday Husayn for CW for the Fedayeen Saddam estimated that it would take two months to produce mustard and two years for Sarin.”
— “Multiple sources with varied access and reliability have told ISG that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled CW program after 1991.
Information found to date suggests that Iraq’s large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new CW munitions was reduced — if not entirely destroyed — during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox…”
— “We have multiple reports that Iraq retained CW munitions made prior to 1991, possibly including mustard – a long-lasting chemical agent — but we have to date been unable to locate any such munitions.”
On the nuclear program…
— “With regard to Iraq’s nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons.
They have told ISG that Saddam Husayn remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. These officials assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point. Some indicated a resumption after Iraq was free of sanctions.”
— “Despite evidence of Saddam’s continued ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material. However, Iraq did take steps to preserve some technological capability from the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.”
— “Several scientists — at the direction of senior Iraqi government officials — preserved documents and equipment from their pre-1991 nuclear weapon-related research and did not reveal this to the UN/IAEA.
One Iraqi scientist recently stated in an interview with ISG that it was a “common understanding” among the scientists that material was being preserved for reconstitution of nuclear weapons-related work.”
Summing it up…
— “1. Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Even those senior officials we have interviewed who claim no direct knowledge of any on-going prohibited activities readily acknowledge that Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever the external restrictions were removed. Several of these officials acknowledge receiving inquiries since 2000 from Saddam or his sons about how long it would take to either restart CW production or make available chemical weapons.”
— “3. In the chemical and biological weapons area we have confidence that there were at a minimum clandestine on-going research and development activities that were embedded in the Iraqi Intelligence Service. While we have much yet to learn about the exact work programs and capabilities of these activities, it is already apparent that these undeclared activities would have at a minimum facilitated chemical and biological weapons activities and provided a technically trained cadre.”
I still think they have an excellent chance to find a large stock of mustard gas or some other chemical weapon sitting around in one of those 120 unexamined Ammunition Storage Points (why haven’t more of them been examined yet?). But even if they don’t find anything more than they already have, isn’t it pretty clear that invading was the only way to stop Saddam from having WMD? Either he had them in hand or as Kay indicated, he would have just waited until the sanctions were lifted — or the heat was off — and made them then. It’s six of one and a half dozen of the other as far as the WMD go…
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