David Kay, chief U.S. weapons inspector, told Congress that “Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of [biological weapons] agents” and that Iraq concealed relevant “equipment and materials” from UN inspectors in violation of Security Council Resolution 1441. His most prominent piece of evidence, however, was that an Iraqi scientist hid “a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced” in his home; Kay later acknowledged that the vial had been hidden in the scientist’s home since 1993. Kay also said that a “very large body of information has been developed…that confirms” Iraq’s concealment efforts, but he did not elaborate.
Additionally, Kay said the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has “not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile [biological weapons] production effort” and that the group’s investigation into two trailers discovered last spring is so far inconclusive. A May CIA report claimed that the two trailers were for producing biological weapons, apparently vindicating the administration’s prewar claims that Iraq possessed such mobile production units. The Department of State, however, has expressed doubts about the trailers’ purpose.
The ISG also found that:
· Iraqi scientists experimented with “nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited investigation with pathogenic agents.” For example, they conducted experiments with a substitute for anthrax that would have been “directly applicable” to producing anthrax for weapons.
· Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were “explicitly ordered not to declare” a prison laboratory complex that was possibly used in human testing of biological weapons agents.
· New research was being conducted on biological-weapon applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and that continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.
· Iraq never declared a “clandestine network of laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus.” The network “was suitable for preserving [biological weapons] expertise, [biological weapons] capable facilities and continuing R&D [research and development]—all key elements for maintaining a capability for resuming biological weapons production.” The ISG is “still working on determining the extent to which this network was tied to large-scale military efforts or…weapons.”
Iraq “did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled chemical weapons program after 1991. Information found to date suggests that Iraq’s large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new [chemical weapons] munitions was reduced—if not entirely destroyed—during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions, and UN inspections.”
Still, the ISG has “developed multiple sources that indicate that Iraq explored the possibility of chemical weapons production in recent years, possibly as late as 2003.”
“Iraqi scientists and senior government officials” told the ISG that “Saddam Hussein remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons” and “assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point,” perhaps “after Iraq was free of sanctions.” In 2000, Iraq “began several small and relatively unsophisticated dual-use research initiatives,” but the ISG has no evidence that the research was applied to weapons production.
The ISG has “not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material” although “Iraq did take steps to preserve some technological capability from the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.” These steps include directing scientists to perform work to “preserve the science base and core skills that would be needed for any future fissile material production or nuclear weapons development.” The ISG “has found indications that there was interest, beginning in 2002, in reconstituting a centrifuge enrichment program.”
“Several [Iraqi] 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” them to the UN. These items would have been “useful” for uranium-enrichment programs, according to Kay.
Kay’s statement indicates that Iraq was conducting R&D on several different missile projects designed to produce missiles with ranges exceeding the 150 km permitted under Security Council resolutions. Kay told reporters Oct. 2 that the ISG is still trying to determine whether the missiles were intended to carry conventional or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) payloads.
UN weapons inspectors ordered Iraq to destroy its al Samoud missiles, which Iraq declared to the UN in December 2002, in February 2003 because the missiles exceeded the permitted range. Baghdad was in the process of doing so when the invasion began.
Kay cited several Iraqi missile programs:
· Beginning in 1999, Iraq attempted to acquire technology from North Korea for “surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 1,300 km…and land-to-sea missiles with a range of 300 km.” No such transfers actually occurred.
· “[S]ources” told ISG that, beginning in 2000, Hussein “ordered the development of ballistic missiles with ranges of at least 400 km and up to 1,000 km.” These projects appeared to include liquid and solid propellant missiles. Work on the former “had [apparently] progressed to a point to support initial prototype production of some parts and assemblies.” It is unclear as to whether work on the latter had progressed past the design phase.
· “[T]estimony from missile designers” indicates “that Iraq…reinitiated work on converting SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250 km. Engineering work was reportedly underway in early 2003, despite the presence of [the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission].”
· Kay said Iraq had two cruise missile programs. The first was to increase the range of its HY-2 coastal-defense cruise missile from 100 km to 150-180 km, according to “multiple sources of testimony…corroborated in part by a captured document.” Iraq produced 10 of these missiles, and two were fired during the invasion. The second, aimed at converting the same missile into a land-attack cruise missile with a 1,000 km range, began in 2001, but “Iraq halted engine development and testing and disassembled the test stand in late 2002 before the design criteria had been met.”
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
According to Iraqi officials, Iraq had several UAV programs. A prototype of one flew well beyond its permitted range during a 2002 test flight. However, Kay said that whether these vehicles were “intended” to deliver WMD “remains an open question.” Iraq had such a program before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and UN inspectors were still investigating the matter as of the March 2003 invasion.
Kay said the ISG has faced difficulties performing its work:
· Iraq engaged in “systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence—hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use—are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts.”
· Iraqi officials dispersed “material and documentation related to weapons programs” and may have taken “evidence and…weapons-related materials” to other countries.
· Both ISG personnel and knowledgeable Iraqis are subject to safety threats. For example, Kay stated that ISG facilities and personnel were attacked three times in September alone and told FOX News Sunday Oct. 5 that one scientist was assassinated the same day he spoke to ISG inspectors.
· Iraq undertook extensive concealment efforts, such as co-locating unmarked chemical ordnance with large stocks of conventional munitions.