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Iraq Strives to Join Chemical Weapons Pact

Paul Kerr

More than three years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Baghdad is apparently making progress in its efforts to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). But the fate of the UN organization charged with dismantling Iraq’s chemical weapons program has yet to be determined.

On May 30, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) provided Iraq with documentation about the country’s past chemical weapons programs in order to help the country accede to the CWC. Countries who wish to accede to the convention are required to provide documentation of any past chemical weapons programs within 30 days after the convention enters into force for that country. Iraq had chemical weapons prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War but later destroyed them and did not revive the program. (See ACT, November 2004.)

Iraq has not yet signed the convention, but in 2004 it declared its intention to do so and accede once a permanent government was in place. The convention prohibits the production and stockpiling of chemical weapons. To advance their efforts, Iraqi officials have been working with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), participating in two implementation training workshops during the past year. The OPCW verifies compliance with the CWC.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the UN Security Council tasked the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), which UNMOVIC later succeeded, with verifying and supervising the destruction of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles exceeding UN-permitted ranges. As part of its disarmament requirements, Iraq was required to provide the inspectors with complete disclosures of its illicit weapons programs. The United Nations withdrew the inspectors in December 1998, but they returned in November 2002 with Iraq’s consent. (See ACT, December 2002.)

According to a May 30 UNMOVIC report, Samir Al-Sumaida’ie, Iraq’s permanent representative to the Security Council, requested UNMOVIC’s assistance in an April 7 letter to acting Executive Chairman Demetrius Perricos. Al-Sumaida’ie asked the commission to provide Baghdad with the “full, final and complete disclosure” of its chemical weapons program. UNMOVIC did so based on an “updated” version of the declaration, which Iraq had submitted to the United Nations in December 2002.

UNMOVIC Sits Tight

As Iraq seeks to accede to the CWC, it is trying to persuade the Security Council to end UNMOVIC’s role in Iraq. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari stated during a June 15 Security Council meeting that the United Nations should “review” UNMOVIC’s mandate.

Radio Free Europe reported in May that, according to a statement from Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, Baghdad is willing to allow UNMOVIC to “confirm” that Iraq does not have illicit weapons or related programs. Yet, Iraq would not allow the inspectors to work indefinitely, the statement said.

The Security Council, however, appears no closer to determining the commission’s fate.

A UNMOVIC official told Arms Control Today June 20 that some council members have still not resolved their differences over what, if any, role UNMOVIC should play in the future. (See ACT, April 2006.)

The inspectors left Iraq just before the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion and have not since been able to conduct in-country inspections.

Although the council adopted a resolution shortly after the invasion stating its intention to “revisit” UNMOVIC’s mandate, it has not yet done so.

Lingering Uncertainties

The May 30 UNMOVIC report also contains a detailed description of Iraq’s previous chemical weapons program and observes that “a number of issues…remain unresolved.” The report states that although “there is a high degree of confidence” that Iraq’s chemical weapons were destroyed, it is possible that some weapons remain in the country.

The inspectors successfully dismantled the program, but they were not able to account fully for the chemical weapons agents and munitions that Iraq claimed to have produced. This uncertainty resulted from several factors, including the insufficient records provided by the Iraqi regime, the regime’s decision to destroy some of its weapons without the presence of UN inspectors, and the Iraqi military’s inadvertent mixing of chemical munitions with conventional munitions during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. (See ACT, April 2004.)

Charles Duelfer, the special adviser to the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), reported in 2005 that Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition forces will likely continue to discover chemical weapons left over from Iraq’s pre-1991 stocks. Such weapons, however, “do not pose a militarily significant threat” because the chemical agents and munitions have degraded, he added. The ISG was the task force charged with coordinating the U.S.-led search for prohibited Iraqi weapons. (See ACT, June 2005.)

A National Ground Intelligence Center report made public June 21 states that coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 munitions containing degraded chemical weapons agents. The report cautions that chemical weapons agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.

A recently released CIA report notes that terrorists and insurgents had been attempting to acquire or develop chemical weapons agents for use against coalition troops in Iraq. None of these attempts were successful, says the report, which analyzed 2004 data.

Duelfer’s report said that since 2003, coalition forces in Iraq have been attacked twice with chemical weapons. But the report generally downplayed the risk of such attacks.


More than three years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Baghdad is apparently making progress in its efforts to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). But the fate of the UN organization charged with dismantling Iraq’s chemical weapons program has yet to be determined. (Continue)

Pentagon Details Hussein's Pre-Invasion Efforts

Matt Dupuis

A Pentagon report released March 24 offers new insights into Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s pre-war actions related to his country’s then-suspected nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and the response of the United States and its allies.

The Iraqi Perspective Project, based on captured Iraqi government documents and interviews with former Iraqi officials, reiterates some findings of previous U.S. government reports (see ACT, November 2004), but provides a more detailed analysis of Hussein’s leadership style, strategic calculations, and pre-war diplomatic maneuverings prior to the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

It shows that Hussein made late efforts to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors when they returned to Iraq in late 2002 after a four-year absence but that these attempts were wrongly dismissed by Western intelligence agencies because of Iraq’s past record of obfuscation. The report, like other post-war U.S. reports, concludes that Hussein was intent on restarting suspected weapons programs once sanctions were eventually lifted.

The report states that, in the decade after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Hussein had often pursued a strategy of “purposeful ambiguity” regarding his real and purported arsenals, a deceptive tactic aimed at deterring external threats from Israel and Iran as well as internal threats such as coups.

But after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Hussein began to shift course, fearing that the United States would turn against his regime. He sought to avoid provocative actions. As pressure mounted on Baghdad in late 2002, he ordered Iraqi officers to cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors, “thus denying President George W. Bush and the Americans any excuse for starting a new conflict.” The strategy was also aimed at “solidifying the promise of more substantial French and Russian efforts on Iraq’s behalf,” to forestall UN support for military action, according to the report.

At times, however, the strategy of cooperation appeared not only to fail but to backfire because of preconceptions created by Hussein’s record. The report, for example, cites an episode related to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003, speech to the UN General Assembly. (See ACT, March 2003.) Arguing that Iraq was concealing illicit weapons, Powell cited an intercepted conversation between two Iraqi Republican Guard Corps commanders, in which one commanded the other to “remove” the listing of “nerve agents…wherever it comes up,” as proof of Iraqi obstruction of the inspections process. But the report says that Powell and U.S. intelligence agencies had reached an erroneous conclusion in assuming that “military actions to remove lingering traces of weapons fielded in the past” were “attempts to conceal current [weapons of mass destruction (WMD)] assets or operations.”

More broadly, the report concluded that “when it came to WMD, Hussein was simultaneously attempting to deceive one audience that they were gone and another that they still had them,” putting himself into a “diplomatic and propaganda Catch 22.”

Captured documents reveal that Hussein kept many of his closest advisers in the dark about the state of Iraq’s weaponry for fear of possible coup attempts and an attack from Israel. If it was revealed that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, “it would not only show Israel that Iraq did not have [weapons of mass destruction] but might actually encourage” Israel to attack, Hussein and other Iraqi officials believed. Hussein used chemical weapons in his successful efforts to crush rebellions by the Kurds in the 1980s and Shiites in the 1990s, as well as in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. (See ACT, January/February 2006.)

The report notes that, based on Iraq’s previous stockpiles, the plausibility of secret and compartmentalized prohibited weapons programs, and Western governments’ public assessments, “a number of senior Iraqi officials continued to believe it possible…that Iraq still possessed a WMD capability hidden away somewhere.” But the report notes that the same officials denied having any “direct knowledge” of these weapons.


Three Years Later, Iraq Investigations Continue

Paul Kerr

More than three years after the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, several issues concerning Iraq’s illicit weapons programs remain unresolved. The congressional intelligence committees continue to review different aspects of U.S. pre-war intelligence concerning Iraq’s suspected nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs as well as how the information was used by officials. Meanwhile, the fate of the UN inspections commission tasked with overseeing Iraq’s disarmament remains uncertain.


Senate Investigates…

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence appears to be making some progress in completing the second phase of its investigation of pre-war U.S. intelligence on Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs. (See ACT , January/February 2006.)

The committee issued a report in July 2004 after completing the investigation’s first phase, which analyzed the intelligence community’s performance in assessing Iraq’s suspected illicit weapon programs. (See ACT, September 2004.) Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R- Kan.) publicly pledged in early 2005 to complete the investigation’s second phase, which concerns Bush administration officials’ role in obtaining and using intelligence on Iraq.

Accusing Roberts of stalling the investigation, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) forced debate on the matter in November 2005 by invoking a rarely used rule to halt Senate operations and bring the body into closed session. The two sides then formed a task force to develop a plan for completing the investigation.

Despite these efforts, committee members do not appear to have agreed on a plan to complete the investigation. Charging that the investigation is still proceeding too slowly, Reid stated March 3 that the committee has yet to interview “key” administration officials or review some essential documents.

Nevertheless, a committee spokesperson told Arms Control Today March 27 that the committee plans to adhere to a timetable that Roberts proposed March 14 for completing portions of the investigation by month’s end. The committee is to complete drafts summarizing its examination of three issues: the intelligence community’s pre-war assessments about the likely conditions in post-war Iraq, how pre-war intelligence assessments regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs compare with the results of postwar investigations, and the intelligence community’s use of intelligence provided by Iraqi exiles.

This timetable also sets April 5 as the deadline for a “preliminary draft” of a report evaluating the extent to which administration officials’ pre-war statements regarding Iraq’s suspected weapons programs and connections to the al Qaeda terrorist network were supported by the available intelligence.

The spokesperson did not anticipate that the committee would issue any public reports before late April.

Roberts did not set a date for completing work on one of the most controversial issues that the panel has been investigating: the role of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) in Iraq-related intelligence activities. Roberts has indicated that the committee will not work on the issue because the Department of Defense inspector general is currently investigating the matter.

Responding to the proposal, committee Vice Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), said he welcomed Roberts’ “sense of urgency” in finally completing the investigation but added that considerable work remains, The Los Angeles Times reported March 15.

The precise nature of the dispute is unclear, but Democrats reportedly want to conduct a more thorough investigation by, for example, interviewing a larger number of administration officials. Additionally, Roberts indicated that Rockefeller wants reports on all aspects of the investigation sections to be released “simultaneously.”

…So Does the House

Shortly after the November Senate shutdown, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a plan for restarting that panel’s similar investigation. Committee chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) rejected the proposal, arguing that such an investigation would be “redundant” with the Senate’s inquiry, the Associated Press reported.

The House investigation ended without public acknowledgement shortly after the committee’s leaders sent a September 2003 letter to CIA director George Tenet criticizing the intelligence community’s performance with respect to Iraq WMD issues. Harman stated in November that committee Republicans “shut down” the investigation.

Despite a June 2003 statement from Harman and then- Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Porter Goss (R-Fla.), the committee has never issued an unclassified summary of its findings.

Although the committee is not conducting a formal investigation of the Iraq issue, at least some committee staff members have investigated claims suggesting that Iraq hid or moved its prohibited weapons or related material.

Committee spokesperson Jamal Ware told the New York Sun Feb. 3 that Hoekstra “very much believes” that there are unanswered questions about the fate of Iraq’s illicit weapons, including the possibility that they were transferred to another country. Ware did not name any specific countries, but Hoekstra identified Syria as a possible candidate during a Feb. 7 interview on FOX News.

Ware told Arms Control Today March 22 that individual staff members have investigated the “veracity” of some of the claims. A few have come from Georges Sada, a former Iraqi general, who claims in a recent book, Saddam’s Secrets, that Iraq transferred WMD or related material to Syria.

Ware said that the committee also has had translations made of recordings of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein discussing illicit weapons issues. There are no plans to release a report on the committee’s findings, he added.

Hoekstra has also championed the public release of Iraqi documents captured after the invasion, arguing that allowing the public to review them will accelerate the process of analyzing their contents. The United States has more than two million documents and “hours of recorded conversations,” Hoekstra stated Feb. 13. The office of Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte began releasing the documents March 16 but cautioned that the government “has made no determination regarding” their accuracy or authenticity.

None of this material appears to contradict the results of the Iraq Survey Group’s (ISG) investigation. The ISG, which was charged with coordinating the U.S.-led post-invasion weapons search, concluded that Iraq had no illicit weapons at the time of the invasion and found no evidence to substantiate reports suggesting that WMD-related materials had been transferred to Syria. (See ACT, June 2005.)

Whither UNMOVIC?

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council continues to debate the future of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Com mission (UNMOVIC).

Asked about a March 7 briefing from acting UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Demetrius Perricos to the council, an official told Arms Control Today that “there is a growing consensus” among council members “to wrap things up.” But certain countries, particularly the United States and Russia, continue to disagree about what, if any, role the commission should play in the future.

UN Security Council Resolution 687, which was adopted after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, tasked the UN Special Commission (UN SCOM) and later UNMOVIC with verifying and supervising the destruction of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles exceeding UN-permitted ranges. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had a comparable role for Iraq’s nuclear weapons programs. The United Nations withdrew all of its inspectors in December 1998, but they returned in November 2002 with Iraq’s consent.

UNMOVIC inspectors have not been able to carry out on-the-ground inspections since leaving Iraq just before the March 2003 invasion.

The council adopted a resolution after the invasion stating its intention to “revisit” UNMOVIC’s mandate but has not yet done so.

Even establishing criteria for whether Iraq has met its disarmament obligations under the appropriate Security Council resolutions could well be complicated. Several relevant resolutions remain in force, and the Security Council has taken no action on the matter. (See ACT, April 2005.)

Russia wants a final report from UNMOVIC before the commission is disbanded. In a Feb. 20 interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued that the council cannot reach any conclusions about the status of Iraq’s former WMD programs based on the ISG report. The commission should instead analyze work done by the ISG, integrate the data with UNMOVIC’s previous findings, and submit its conclusions to the Security Council, he said.

Arguing that the unstable security situation in Iraq has increased the risk that Iraqi weapons or related material could fall into the hands of other countries or terrorist organizations, Lavrov also recommended that UNMOVIC implement measures to mitigate this risk. Iraq currently lacks even “elementary” safeguards, he said, citing the discovery of Iraqi weapons-related materials outside the country.

The fate of unsecured Iraqi weapons materials has been an issue of ongoing concern. Both UNMOVIC and the IAEA have previously issued reports stating that Iraqi WMD sites had been destroyed and that weapons-related equipment had disappeared.

Lavrov also said Feb. 20 that the council should examine the role of long-term monitoring in Iraq. UNSCOM and UNMOVIC were tasked with developing a long-term monitoring plan to thwart Iraq’s ability to reconstitute its illicit weapons programs. Lavrov also left open the possibility that UNMOVIC could conduct future inspections in Iraq.

On a related note, former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia Paul Pillar reportedly told a Washington audience March 9 that pre-invasion intelligence assessments judged that, even if Hussein were overthrown, Iraq would likely try to develop weapons of mass destruction in order to deter potential threats from regional powers such as Iran and Israel.

Washington does not share Moscow’s enthusiasm for a final re port. Richard Grenell, spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the UN, told the New York Sun Feb. 7 that the Bush administration is “not sure that UNMOVIC needs to prepare a final report” or that the Security Council needs to “revisit the previous UNMOVIC mandate.” Additionally, John Bolton, U.S permanent representative to the UN, said that the United States is “eager” to abolish UNMOVIC, the Ku wait News Agency reported March 16.

Other members agree that UNMOVIC’s mission should end but want to devise a way to preserve the commission’s expertise, said an other UNMOVIC official.

Russia, in addition to pushing for the inspection body’s continued role in the country, wants Iraq to conclude an additional protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention to provide additional assurances that Iraq’s weapons-related materials are secure, Lavrov said.

An IAEA spokesperson told Arms Control Today March 22 that the agency has been discussing the conclusion of an additional protocol with Iraqi representatives. IAEA safeguards agreements allow the IAEA to monitor a nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty state-party’s nuclear activities and facilities to ensure they are not used for military purposes. Additional protocols are voluntary measures that augment the IAEA’s investigative authority.


Report Confirms Iraq Used Sarin in 1991

Michael Nguyen

U.S. investigators have confirmed that Iraq used chemical weapons to quash a Shiite uprising after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The information was uncovered by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), the task force established following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to determine the state of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, but was little noticed when the ISG issued its final three-volume report in September 2004.

The report marked the first outside confirmation that the regime had used chemical weapons to quell a growing 1991 insurgency. At the time, much of Iraq was in open revolt, the report notes, and the Iraqi regime was deeply shaken by the fall of Karbala to Shiite rebels. The report said the use of chemical weapons was an example of the “dire nature of the situation” and the regime’s “faith in ‘special weapons’” that it would consider using chemical weapons while coalition forces were still in Iraq.

Still, the scale of nerve weapon use by the Hussein regime against the Shiites in southern Iraq appears to be much smaller than a March 1988 chemical weapons attack against Kurds in northern Iraq or the regime’s use of chemical weapons during an eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s. Post-Gulf War restrictions imposed on Iraq after its defeat by a U.S.-led coalition may have limited the effectiveness of the attacks and prevented greater casualties, the report said.

The ISG uncovered the incident through interviews with several members of the Iraqi chemical weapons program. But public attention focused on the report’s broader conclusions that Iraq had destroyed its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, as well as eliminated its nuclear weapons program by the time of the invasion. (See ACT, November 2004.)

Hussein Kamel, a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein and then-head of the Military Industrial Commission, gave the order to ready chemical munitions for use. According to the report, Kamel’s first chemical agent choice was VX, a nerve agent. When informed that there was no VX available, the Iraqis selected sarin, another nerve agent, declining to use mustard gas because it was easily detectable.

Technicians from the Muthanna State Establishment (MSE), Iraq’s primary chemical weapons research, development, and production facility, mixed sarin components in R-400 aerial bombs at the Tamuz air base on March 7. MI-8 helicopters from nearby bases were armed with the R-400s and flew sorties against Shiite rebels near Karbala. One account from a senior official suggests that the helicopters dropped 10-20 sarin-filled bombs, although another account suggests that the total may have been as high as 32.

Although the report notes that Iraq had used the MI-8 helicopter in the 1980s to drop chemical munitions during the Iraq-Iran War, the R-400—an aerial bomb of Iraqi design—did not enter service until 1990. Originally designed for low-altitude, high-speed delivery of chemical and biological weapons by Iraq’s fighter aircraft, the R-400s “most likely did not activate properly when dropped from a slow moving helicopter,” according to the report. Cease-fire restrictions negotiated by the U.S.-led coalition at Safwan just days earlier prohibited Iraq from flying fixed-wing aircraft, although Iraq convinced the coalition to allow it to continue flying helicopters, supposedly to transport Iraqi officials.

Following an angry call to a senior chemical weapons official about the failure of the initial helicopter sorties, technicians at MSE filled several large aerial bombs with tear gas. According to the report, helicopters dropped up to 200 of these bombs on rebel targets near Karbala and Najaf. The report also notes that Iraq brought several trailers with mustard-filled aerial bombs to the base as well, although the bombs were never unloaded or used.

Each R-400 aerial bomb can hold approximately 90 liters of chemical agent, and its effective use would have probably caused substantial casualties, but it is not clear how many casualties can be attributed to the sarin use.

Ewen Buchanan, spokesperson for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) said that the selection and bungled use of the sarin-filled R-400s made some sense from the regime’s perspective. “As the Iraqis explained to me, ‘beggars can’t be choosers,’ and the R-400s were likely what was available at the time,” he said, noting that UNMOVIC had not uncovered this incident during its investigation. “It was probably more important to use some kind of chemical weapon for its psychological effects on the enemy.”

By contrast, in the March 1988 attack, Iraq was free to use its full chemical weapons arsenal. Iraq used mustard gas, tabun, VX, and sarin against Kurds in Halabja in northern Iraq. About 5,000 deaths are directly attributable to the chemical weapons used, and another 10,000 people were blinded, maimed, or disfigured. The Iraqi Special Tribunal, established by the provisional Iraqi government in 2003 to try war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Ba`ath Party’s reign, has been investigating the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds. The body will be responsible for the trials of Saddam Hussein and Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali,” the general who allegedly ordered the use of chemical weapons.


Senate Iraq Intel Probe Stalls Again

Paul Kerr

Despite a November pledge, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has not yet agreed on a plan to complete a second phase of its investigation into pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) publicly pledged in early 2005 to complete the investigation’s second phase, but Democrats have complained that the investigation is proceeding too slowly.

The investigation’s second phase concerns Bush administration officials’ role in gathering and using intelligence on Iraq. For example, the committee has begun to examine whether then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, working with other administration officials, obtained and analyzed intelligence outside normal channels. The panel has also been investigating whether administration officials’ pre-war statements regarding Iraq’s suspected weapons programs were supported by the available intelligence. (See ACT, December 2005.)

The committee issued a report in July 2004 after completing the investigation’s first phase, which analyzed the intelligence community’s performance in assessing Iraq’s suspected illicit weapon programs. (See ACT, September 2004.)

In an effort to accelerate the languishing investigation, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) forced debate on the matter in November by invoking a rarely used rule to halt Senate operations and bring the body into closed session. The two sides then formed a six-member, bipartisan task force to develop a plan for completing the investigation.

But according to a Dec. 13 letter from Reid and Assistant Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin ( Ill.) to the Senate Republican leadership, the task force “has not reached a bipartisan agreement on a timetable and schedule for completion.” Consequently, “critical questions remain about the committee’s progress on its investigation, its timeline for completing that investigation, and what remaining steps need to be taken to ensure a prompt, thorough, and complete review,” the letter added.

Later that day, Roberts stated that Reid’s characterization of the investigation is inaccurate, adding that Reid would be “pleasantly surprised” by the committee’s progress. Roberts, however, provided no specifics. The committee met Dec. 15 behind closed doors, but whether any progress was made is unclear.

Details of the dispute regarding the investigation are also unclear. But a Dec. 14 letter from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) indicated that it is “difficult to determine the endgame for the Phase II report” because the Department of Defense inspector general is currently investigating Feith’s intelligence activities.

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman told reporters Dec. 2 that Roberts requested the Pentagon investigation because of persisting allegations that Feith had acted inappropriately. Roberts, who requested the investigation in September 2005, said that the committee had found no evidence of impropriety, Edelman added.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said in November that Roberts had assured Democrats that committee members will be able to look at “other aspects” of the Feith matter after receiving the Pentagon’s report.


Iraq Intel Back in Senate Spotlight

Paul Kerr

Under pressure from Democrats, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is set to jump-start the languishing second phase of its investigation into pre-war U.S. intelligence on Iraq’s prohibited weapons programs. This phase is supposed to examine the role of Bush administration officials in gathering and using this intelligence, an issue that has not yet been formally investigated.

The committee issued a report in July 2004 after completing the first phase of its investigation, which examined the intelligence community’s assessments of Baghdad’s suspected weapons programs. The second, more politically controversial phase was delayed until after the 2004 presidential election. (See ACT, September 2004.)

Committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) publicly pledged this spring to complete the investigation, and Republican and Democratic committee staff members told Arms Control Today in March that work on the investigation was ongoing, although there were several evident areas of disagreement. (See ACT, April 2005.) But Democrats argue the committee is proceeding far too slowly and has made minimal progress.

In order to focus attention on the stalled probe, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Nov. 1 invoked a rarely used rule that allows the minority party to halt Senate deliberations and bring the body into closed session. The two sides agreed that same day to appoint a six-member, bipartisan task force to sketch out a plan for completing the investigation.

The Washington Post reported Nov. 17 that the two sides have drafted a schedule for the second phase but have not yet set a date for completing it. The task force also has not agreed on several ground rules concerning such matters as requesting documents from the executive branch and interviewing administration officials, The Washington Post reported.

The panel’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.V.), said in a Nov. 7 statement that the committee should be able to subpoena both documents and officials from the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the Department of Defense. Rockefeller had accused the administration Nov. 1 of withholding requested documents from the committee.

The Democrats took action shortly after a grand jury Oct. 28 indicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. Libby is accused of having made false statements both to the grand jury and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the course of an investigation to determine whether administration officials disclosed the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer and wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Wilson had argued publicly that the Bush administration had misled the public in stating repeatedly that Iraq had attempted to obtain lightly processed uranium from Niger, a claim that was disputed before the war. (See ACT, September 2003.)

Past Investigations

Bush administration officials claimed before the invasion that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons and had an active nuclear weapons program. But UN weapons inspectors who had been working in Iraq since November 2002 reported prior to the invasion that they had not found any evidence that Iraq either had illicit weapons stockpiles or had reconstituted its related programs.

A post-invasion investigation by the Iraq Survey Group, the task force charged with coordinating the U.S.-led search for Iraqi prohibited weapons, confirmed that the administration’s pre-war claims had been false. (See ACT, March 2005.)

Administration officials continue to attribute their statements to inaccurate intelligence, usually citing an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which stated that Baghdad possessed chemical and biological weapons and was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. An NIE is supposed to be the intelligence community’s most authoritative assessment of a given subject.

Indeed, the July Senate Intelligence Committee report, as well as a March report from the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, harshly criticized the intelligence community’s failure to describe Iraq’s suspected weapons programs accurately. These reports blamed such factors as a shortage of spies in Iraq and poor tradecraft for the community’s botched assessments. (See ACT, May 2005.)

However, competing intelligence priorities also played a role, according to a recently declassified July 2004 report from a group headed by former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Richard Kerr. “Technical [intelligence] collection priorities emphasized coverage of the Iraqi air defense system in southern Iraq in support of U.S. [pre-invasion] military operations and prevented collection on other important targets in Iraq,” the report says, adding that Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs “received higher priority…until late 2002.” The CIA had tasked the Kerr group with reviewing the agency’s performance.

The Senate and commission reports have probed whether pressure from policymakers may have influenced intelligence reporting. For example, the commission said its members “found no evidence” that intelligence had been “politicized” but added that “intelligence analysts worked in an environment that did not encourage skepticism about the conventional wisdom.”

But Robert Hutchings, chairman of the National Intelligence Council from February 2003 until the end of January 2005, offered a different view during a May 6 interview with Senate Foreign Relations committee staff. Repeatedly pushing analysts to confirm a particular set of judgments, he said, has “the effect of politicizing intelligence, because the so-called ‘correct answer’ becomes all too clear.” Both the Senate and commission reports noted that some policymakers repeatedly tasked intelligence analysts with reviewing intelligence assessments about Iraq.

Such politicization “creates a climate of intimidation and a culture of conformity that is damaging,” Hutchings said.

A July 2002 British memorandum, which summarizes a meeting of British Prime Minister Tony Blair with top advisers and was made public last May, has also fueled public suspicions about the administration’s pre-invasion Iraq policies.

According to the memorandum, British Secret Intelligence Service chief John Scarlett, who had recently returned from Washington, said that President George W. Bush intended to overthrow the Iraqi regime “justified by” its suspected prohibited weapons programs and support for terrorists. “[T]he intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,” Scarlett said.

The Second Phase

Democrats want the intelligence committee to investigate whether information obtained and analyzed outside traditional intelligence channels influenced White House judgments about Iraq. For example, Rockefeller in his Nov. 7 statement said that the committee needs to interview such officials as Libby and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith to determine whether they directly received intelligence from Iraqi exiles.

Additionally, Democrats suspect Feith and his colleagues of using this information, along with raw U.S. intelligence reports, to produce inaccurate assessments of Iraq’s suspected weapons and terrorist connections. For example, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, indicated in a Sept. 22 letter to the Pentagon’s inspector general that a Defense Department briefing to the White House may have contained statements “that were not supported by the available intelligence,” such as the assessment that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist organization “had a shared interest and pursuit of” weapons of mass destruction.

The committee may not yet be able to investigate Feith’s office, however. Responding to a September request from Roberts, the Pentagon’s inspector general has agreed to investigate whether Feith was involved in inappropriate intelligence activities, the Associated Press reported Nov. 18. Levin told reporters the same day that Roberts has given his “assurance” that committee members will “be able to look at any other aspects that we want to” after receiving the report.

The panel’s previous report also said it would examine such issues as whether policymakers’ public statements concerning the Iraqi threat were supported by intelligence. Bush administration officials, including the president, made some public statements that appeared not to be fully supported by the NIE, which contained numerous qualifiers and caveats.

Rockefeller said that the committee has a list of statements from various U.S. officials but added that comparing these statements with intelligence community publications is insufficient for determining whether administration claims were “substantiated by the intelligence.” Such determinations will “require analysis and context,” which may necessitate obtaining documents and interviewing administration officials, he said.


Prewar Nuclear Myths and Realities: Chronology of Bush Administration Claims that Iraq Attempted to Obtain Uranium from Niger


For Immediate Release: November 21, 2005


Media contacts: Paul Kerr, Research Analyst (202) 463-8270 x102; Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director (202) 463-8270 x107

One of the chief arguments used by the Bush administration to justify the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. For instance, only three days before U.S.-led coalition forces invaded Iraq Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that Iraq had "reconstituted nuclear weapons." Central to the administration's argument were erroneous claims that Iraq had recently attempted to obtain lightly-processed uranium, or "yellowcake," from Africa and that it had attempted to acquire specialized aluminum tubes as part of a uranium enrichment program to produce fissile material, which is necessary for making nuclear weapons.

The claim regarding the uranium deal remains contentious to this day because President George W. Bush cited it in his January 28, 2003 State of the Union Address and because officials in the White House and the Office of Vice President Cheney waged a public campaign to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who publicly challenged the uranium claim in the summer of 2003.

Contrary to White House assertions that the "intelligence was all wrong," as early as a year before the invasion U.S. intelligence assessments and senior U.S. officials disagreed about the reliability of the information supporting the main nuclear weapons-related claims.

Furthermore, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors working on the ground in Iraq from November 2002 until March of 2003 found no evidence that Baghdad had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. The evidence from the field should have made it clear that UN inspections and sanctions had constrained Saddam's unconventional arsenal and led the administration to reevaluate its own intelligence assessment. But it did not.

The chronology of events involving the internal intelligence assessments and international inspections (see <http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/IraqUraniumClaim.asp>) clearly demonstrates that senior Bush administration officials disregarded intelligence assessments that did not support the claim that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program and that the administration did not provide an accurate picture of the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq to Congress or to the American people.

As Greg Thielmann, a former senior official in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, described the situation at a July 2003 ACA press briefing, "Some of the fault lies with the performance of the intelligence community, but most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided."

Now, the administration's handling of the uranium and other pre-war intelligence regarding Iraq is the subject of the delayed, "second phase" investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

"Among other issues, the SSCI investigation should examine who in the White House and other agencies chose to put forward dubious claims about Iraqi attempts to secure uranium from Africa despite clear warnings from the CIA Director and other members of the intelligence community that such claims were not reliable," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

"It is also essential that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigate why Bush administration officials also failed to take into consideration the weapons intelligence findings and assessments of the IAEA and UN inspectors working in Iraq, which strongly repudiated the nuclear program reconstitution claim, as well as the Bush administration's faulty claim that Iraq had mobile biological weapons labs," Kimball urged.

Prior to the March 2003 invasion, ACA publicly argued that "continued, tough inspections can provide the necessary confidence that Iraq cannot reconstitute militarily significant chemical, biological, or nuclear capabilities and help produce more definitive findings to help Security Council members bridge their differences" about military action.

"Intelligence is meant to inform government decision-making, not to be invoked or discarded selectively to justify predetermined political decisions," Kimball concluded.

# # #

The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.


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Chronology of Bush Administration Claim that Iraq Attempted to Obtain Uranium from Niger (2001-2003)

August 2017

Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107

One of the chief arguments used by the Bush administration to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. For example, only three days before U.S.-led coalition forces invaded Iraq Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that Iraq had "reconstituted nuclear weapons." Central to the administration's argument were erroneous claims that Iraq had recently attempted to obtain lightly-processed uranium, or "yellowcake," from Africa and that it had attempted to acquire specialized aluminum tubes as part of a uranium enrichment program to produce fissile material, which is necessary for making nuclear weapons.

The claim regarding the uranium deal has become particularly contentious because President George W. Bush cited it in his January 28, 2003 State of the Union Address and because officials in the White House and the Office of Vice President Cheney waged a public campaign to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who publicly challenged the uranium claim in the summer of 2003. The administration's claims regarding Iraq's pre-war capabilities are the subject of the delayed, "second phase" of the investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Contrary to White House assertions that the "intelligence was all wrong," as early as a year before the invasion U.S. intelligence assessments and senior U.S. officials disagreed about the reliability of the information supporting the main nuclear weapons-related assertions. Furthermore, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors working on the ground in Iraq found no evidence that Baghdad had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program.

The chronology of events involving the internal intelligence assessments and international inspections clearly demonstrates that senior Bush officials overlooked intelligence assessments that cast doubt on the claim that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program.

The chronology also highlights that senior Bush administration officials also failed to take into consideration the findings and assessments of the IAEA inspectors working in Iraq from November 2002 to March 2003 that repudiated the nuclear program reconstitution allegation. The administration also gave short shrift to proposals from other UN Security Council members based on the inspectors' finding that called for a the continuation of the inspections, as well as the UN-mandated sanctions regime to contain and dismantle any remaining prohibited weapons activities in Iraq.


Following Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the international community discovered that Baghdad had a much more advanced nuclear weapons program than the United States or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had suspected. The IAEA was charged with undertaking inspections to ensure that Iraq complied with disarmament requirements mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 687, but the United Nations withdrew the inspectors in December 1998 shortly before "Operation Desert Fox," the U.S.-U.K. military operation to strike known Iraqi weapons facilities.

The IAEA, however, reported in 1999 that, based on the inspectors' work until that time, there was "no indication that Iraq possesses nuclear weapons or any meaningful amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material, or that Iraq has retained any practical capability (facilities or hardware) for the production of such material."

The IAEA also cautioned that this statement was "not the same as a statement of [the weapons] non-existence." A 2001 Department of Defense report added that Iraq "still retains sufficient skilled and experienced scientists and engineers as well as weapons design information that could allow it to restart a weapons program."

The absence of inspectors, combined with the remaining uncertainty regarding Iraq's nuclear program, created concern that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Long before President George W. Bush sought to do so, many arms control and nonproliferation advocates urged UN Security Council members to pursue steps that would lead to the reintroduction of weapons inspectors.

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1441 in November 2002, requiring Iraq to comply fully with its disarmament requirements under relevant Security Council resolutions. Inspections resumed later that month. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reported to the Security Council March 7 that the inspectors had found "no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq."

Prior to a vote on a resolution to authorize the possible use of force to enforce UN Security Council Resolutions, congressional Democrats requested an intelligence assessment on Iraq's weapons capabilities. The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated that that most agencies agreed that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

However, the State Department's Bureau for Intelligence and Research (INR) did not agree. Its dissenting views were included in the full NIE report but not in the unclassified executive summary. The INR dissent stated that "available evidence indicates that Baghdad is pursuing at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapon-related capabilities" but that the evidence is "inadequate" to support the claim that "Iraq is currently pursuing an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons."



February 20, 2001: Secretary of State Colin Powell tells reporters that, although Iraq is pursuing weapons of mass destruction (WMD), "[c]ontainment has been a successful policy" in limiting Baghdad's ability to threaten other regional countries." "Containment" referred to such measures as UN-mandated sanctions placed on Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, as well as no-fly zones.

Late 2001-early 2002: The United States gathers what Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet later terms "fragmentary intelligence" about Iraq's attempts to acquire uranium from Africa.

According to a July 2004 report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the CIA Directorate of Operations (DO) reports October15, 2001 that Niger had agreed to "ship several tons of uranium to Iraq." The DO issues a second report February 5, 2002 providing "more details" about the previously-reported agreement, including "what was said to be 'verbatim text' of the accord." Both reports are based on information from a foreign government service, widely reported to be Italian intelligence.

Based on the second report, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) produces its own report February 12 which states that Niger agreed to provide Iraq with 500 tons of yellowcake [lightly-processed uranium ore] to Baghdad, concluding that "Iraq probably is searching abroad for natural uranium to assist in its nuclear weapons program."

Shortly after, Vice President Dick Cheney reads the report and requests the CIA's assessment. The Director of Central Intelligence's (DCI) Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) sends a report to Cheney which includes doubts as to whether the two countries had concluded a uranium deal. It also notes that the relevant intelligence "comes exclusively from a foreign government service report that lacks crucial details." The report adds that the CIA is "working to clarify the information and to determine whether it can be corroborated."

The CIA's DO later issues a third report March 25 which is also based on Italian government intelligence reports. This report does not appear to provide any significant new information.

These reports ultimately prove to be inaccurate. The U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group - the task force later charged with coordinating the U.S.-led search for Iraqi prohibited weapons - finds no evidence that Iraq tried to procure uranium from other countries, according to 2004 and 2005 reports from the group's top CIA adviser. And the CIA concludes in March 2003 that all of the original intelligence reporting was "unreliable" because it was based on forged documents, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction reports March 31, 2005.

Late February 2002: The CIA's DO Counterproliferation Division (CPD)
sends former Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate reports about Iraq's attempts to acquire uranium from that country. Wilson later writes in The New York Times July 6, 2003, that "it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had taken place" because Niger's uranium industry is closely regulated by its government and is controlled by a consortium of foreign companies monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Wilson briefs this conclusion to the CIA when he returns in March 2002.

According to a March 8 report from CIA's DO, Wilson also tells the agency that former Nigerien Prime Minster Ibrahim Mayaki described a 1999 meeting with an Iraqi delegation. Prior to the meeting, an intermediary told Mayaki that the Iraqis wanted to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between the two countries - an overture Mayaki described to Wilson as an attempt to discuss yellowcake sales, the CIA report says. But Mayaki told Wilson that the two sides did not discuss uranium. Wilson tells Arms Control Today August 18, 2003 that Mayaki mentioned as an afterthought the possibility that the Iraqis wanted to discuss a uranium deal.

March 1, 2002: The State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) distributes a report stating that claims regarding Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Niger are not credible. The analyst who drafted the assessment later tells Senate Intelligence Committee staff that "he had been told that the piece was in response to interest from" Cheney's office in the suspected deal.

March 5, 2002: Responding to a request from Cheney earlier in the month, WINPAC analysts send an "analytic update" regarding the Niger issue to Cheney's morning briefer. According to this report, Italian intelligence has been "unable to provide new information [to the United States], but continues to assess that its source is reliable."

The report also mentions that agency officials will be debriefing Wilson later that day, though apparently does not mention him by name.

March 8, 2002: The CIA's DO "widely distributes" a summary of Wilson's report to intelligence community entities. The CIA does not brief Cheney directly about Wilson's report, according the to the Senate Intelligence Committee, because agency analysts do not "believe that the report added any new information to clarify the issue."

Previous reports from U.S. Ambassador to Niger, Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick and Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command, General Carlton Fulford provided no information that Niger planned to sell uranium to Iraq.

May 2002-October 2002: The intelligence community appears to produce inconsistent reporting about the suspected uranium deal, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

August 26, 2002: Cheney declares that "we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons…. Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."

September 2002: The CIA expresses "reservations" to British intelligence about information regarding Iraqi efforts to acquire African uranium after the United Kingdom informs the agency about its plans to include the allegation in a forthcoming report about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, according to a July 11, 2003 statement from Tenet.

However, according to a July 2004 UK report regarding British intelligence on Iraq, the "CIA advised caution about any suggestion that Iraq had succeeded in acquiring uranium from Africa, but agreed that there was evidence that it had been sought."

September 24, 2002: The United Kingdom issues a report on Iraq's WMD program, stating that "there is intelligence that Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Iraq has no active civil nuclear power programme or nuclear power plants, and therefore has no legitimate reason to acquire uranium."

According to three UK reports issued in 2003 and 2004, some British foreign ministry and intelligence officials continue to say that London had independent, reliable intelligence indicating that Iraq was indeed attempting to obtain uranium from Niger. But the United Kingdom has not disclosed this intelligence and the available public evidence suggests that it would not prove the uranium claim true.

October 1, 2002: A classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a portion of which is later made public July 18, 2003, states, "A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons" of uranium to Iraq, adding that "Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake."

The NIE also says that "reports indicate Iraq also has sought uranium ore from Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources."

The NIE also contains a State Department INR dissent that characterizes "claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa" as "highly dubious." National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice does not read the INR dissent, a senior administration official says July 18, 2003.

October 1-2, 2002: U.S. intelligence officials tell the Senate Intelligence Committee about the U.S. intelligence community's differences with the British report containing the Iraq uranium claim

October 5-7, 2002: Tenet calls Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to request that a line referring to Iraqi attempts to obtain "substantial amounts of uranium oxide" be removed from a draft of a speech President George W. Bush is scheduled to give October 7.

The CIA's Associate Deputy Director for Intelligence sends a memorandum to Hadley and White House speechwriter Michael Gerson October 5, asking them to remove a similar line referring to Iraq's attempted acquisition of "500 metric tons of uranium oxide from…Africa."

The agency also sends a memorandum to the White House October 6 providing additional detail about the Iraq uranium claim and noting the U.S. intelligence community's differences with the United Kingdom over the intelligence. The memorandum is passed to both Hadley and Rice.
No reference to Iraqi uranium procurement attempts appears in Bush's October 7 speech.

Hadley and White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett reveal these details in a July 22, 2003, press briefing.

October 8, 2002: After several weeks of debate, the House of Representatives passes a resolution providing Bush with the authority to use military force against Iraq to enforce UN Security Council resolutions. The Senate follows suit October 11 and Bush signs the resolution October 16.

October 9, 2002: An Italian journalist provides the U.S. Embassy in Rome with "copies of documents pertaining" to the suspected uranium deal, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The embassy gives copies of the documents to both the State Department and CIA.

INR subsequently distributes copies of the documents to the relevant U.S. intelligence agencies, alerting them that it has "serious doubts about the authenticity of the documents," according to the 2005 WMD Commission report. Nevertheless, the agency continues to reference the suspected uranium transaction in several later assessments. WINPAC does not learn until mid-January 2003 that other intelligence agencies received the documents, the CIA later tells the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

October 16, 2002: Bush signs the congressional resolution authorizing him to use military force against Iraq.

The resolution authorizes Bush to use military force to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq" and "enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

It also requires Bush to submit to Congress his "determination" that reliance on "further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone" will either be insufficient to protect U.S. national security "against the continuing threat posed by Iraq" or "not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

November 22, 2002: A French foreign ministry official tells State Department officials that Paris has "information on an Iraqi attempt to buy uranium from Niger" which it regards as "true," according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The forged documents also formed the basis for this intelligence, France later informs the United States.

December 17, 2002: WINPAC produces an analysis of Iraq's December 7 declaration to UN weapons inspectors. UN Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted November 8, 2002, required Iraq to submit a declaration "of all aspects of its [weapons of mass destruction] programmes." The declaration is supposed to provide information about any prohibited weapons activity since UN inspectors left the country in 1998 and to resolve outstanding questions about Iraq's WMD programs that had not been answered by 1998.

The analysis omits INR's dissenting viewpoints and states that Baghdad's declaration "does not acknowledge efforts to procure uranium from Niger."

The next day, the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs Richard Boucher asks Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton for assistance in drafting a response to Iraq's declaration. Bolton assigns the task to the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau, who prepares a fact sheet based on a draft of a December 20, 2002 speech by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte.

December 19, 2002: The State Department fact sheet charges Iraq with omitting its "efforts to procure uranium from Niger" from its declaration. INR does not clear the fact sheet, according to knowledgeable sources. INR requests that the fact sheet be modified to say the uranium procurement effort is "repeated" and notes its assessment that the validity of the allegation is "dubious," but the final fact sheet does not contain INR's suggested language. WINPAC approves the Niger language when it reviews the fact sheet, but later asks that Negroponte's final speech use "Africa" instead.

The IAEA requests information from the United States regarding the uranium claim "immediately after" the fact sheet's release, according to a June 20, 2003, letter from the IAEA to U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA). This information is not supplied until February 4, 2003, according to a July 1, 2003, State Department letter to Waxman.


January 20, 2003: Bush submits a report to Congress stating that Iraq omitted "attempts to acquire uranium" from its December 7 declaration to the United Nations.

January 23, 2003: Rice writes in The New York Times that Iraq's declaration "fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad." A White House report issued the same day asserts that Iraq's weapons declaration "ignores efforts to procure uranium from abroad."

January 26, 2003: Powell asks, "Why is Iraq still trying to procure uranium and the special equipment needed to transform it into material for nuclear weapons?" during a speech in Switzerland.

January 27, 2003: IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei tells the Security Council that IAEA inspectors "have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programme since the elimination of the programme in the 1990s."

January 28, 2003: Bush asserts that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" during his State of the Union address.

January 29, 2003: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld states during a press briefing that Iraq "recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

February 4, 2003: State Department officials give the IAEA the information the agency requested about Iraq's attempts to obtain uranium from Niger, telling the agency that it "cannot confirm these reports and [has] questions regarding some specific claims."

February 5, 2003: Powell presents evidence, based on U.S. intelligence, about Iraq's prohibited weapons programs to the Security Council. He does not mention Iraqi attempts to obtain uranium from Africa.

February 14, 2003: ElBaradei reports to the Security Council that "we have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq," adding that "a number of issues are still under investigation and we are not yet in a position to reach a conclusion about them."

February 16, 2003: Hadley writes in The Chicago Tribune that "[a]ccording to British intelligence, the [Iraqi] regime has tried to acquire natural uranium from abroad."

February 24, 2003: Russia and France submit a memorandum to the Security Council stating that military force should not yet be used because there is "no evidence" that Iraq possesses illicit weapons. The resolution suggests several measures to strengthen the UN weapons inspections, noting that they have already "produced results." China also supports the resolution.

The resolution, however, cautions that Baghdad's cooperation, although improving, is not "yet fully satisfactory." Additionally, the memorandum does not rule out the use of military force as a "last resort" and states that "inspections…cannot continue indefinitely."

March 3, 2003: The IAEA notifies the U.S. Mission in Vienna that, based on its analysis of the relevant documents, as well as interviews with Iraqi officials, the agency has concluded that the documents are forgeries.

March 4, 2003: The United States learns that the French had based their intelligence assessments regarding the suspected uranium sale on the same forged documents.

March 7, 2003: ElBaradei tells the Security Council that the documents allegedly detailing uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are "not authentic," adding that "these specific allegations are unfounded."

March 9, 2003: Powell acknowledges that the documents concerning the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal might be fake.

March 11, 2003: WINPAC issues an assessment which does "not dispute" the IAEA's conclusions regarding the documents. Although the report states "we are concerned that these reports may indicate Baghdad has attempted to secure an unreported source of uranium yellowcake for a nuclear weapons program," it describes the intelligence as "fragmentary and unconfirmed."

March 16, 2003: Cheney states on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the IAEA's March 7 assessment that there is no evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear weapons program is "wrong."

March 19, 2003: U.S.-led coalition military forces invade Iraq.

April 5, 2003: The National Intelligence Council states that the intelligence community agrees that the documents in question are forgeries. The report adds that "other reports from 2002-one alleging warehousing of yellowcake for shipment to Iraq, a second alleging a 1999 visit by an Iraqi delegation to Niamey [Niger]-do not constitute credible evidence of a recent or impending sale."

June 8, 2003: Rice acknowledges on "Meet the Press" that the intelligence underlying the Niger claim "was mistaken," but also states that "no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery."

June 17, 2003: The CIA produces a memorandum for Tenet stating that "since learning that the Iraq-Niger uranium deal was based on false documents earlier this spring, we no longer believe that there is sufficient other reporting to conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad." The memorandum is not distributed outside the agency, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

July 6, 2003: The New York Times publishes Ambassador Wilson's op-ed.

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U.S. Failed to Secure Iraq Materials

Paul Kerr

The Department of Defense was not adequately prepared to locate, secure, collect, and remove radiological materials in Iraq until about six months after the U.S.-led March 2003 invasion, according to a September Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The report from the congressional watchdog agency implies that radiological sources were left vulnerable during the interim and may have gone missing as a result. It also provides recommendations to the Pentagon to improve the conduct of any future such operations.

The report adds to the growing body of evidence that the U.S.-led coalition forces were not adequately prepared to secure Iraqi radiological sources, other nuclear materials, or suspected prohibited weapons and related materials, particularly in a violent post-war environment.

Iraq did not have active nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons programs at the time of the 2003 invasion, but it did have a number of radiological sources. Such sources have a wide variety of civilian applications but also can be combined with conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material in a so-called dirty bomb.

According to the GAO, the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), along with the Department of Energy, ultimately collected about 1,400 radioactive sources. The agencies transferred about 1,000 of them to the United States in June 2004, before the U.S.-led coalition relinquished formal control of the country to the interim Iraqi government. An additional 700 sources deemed adequately secure were left in the country. The sources that have been brought to the United States remain in temporary storage pending an interagency determination as to whether Washington “owns the material or is merely serving as its custodian,” the report says.

It is, however, “likely that other sources remain unsecured in Iraq,” the report says, adding that the total number of such sources is unknown. The report attributes this uncertainty to several factors: the Defense Department’s ignorance of the total number of radiological sources in Iraq prior to the invasion, the Pentagon’s decision not to visit certain relevant sites, and the likelihood that some sources were taken from sites before relevant U.S. personnel arrived.

The report adds that some vehicles leaving Iraq have been caught with radiological sources but does not say whether any such sources have actually left the country. UN inspectors have previously reported that radioactive and weapons-related materials have ended up in other countries. (See ACT, June 2005.)

Planning Failures, Future Fixes

The Defense Department made plans during late 2002 and early 2003 to find and eliminate suspected Iraqi, biological, and chemical weapons and related materials, as well as radiological sources. The department established military units tasked with locating and analyzing suspected Iraqi weapons sites, and DTRA was tasked 12 days before the invasion with hiring a contractor to dispose of weapons-related materials.

However, the GAO report concludes that the Pentagon failed to prepare adequately for this mission.

According to the report, the delays resulted from several factors, including DTRA’s difficult negotiations with its contractor as well as interagency coordinating snags. DTRA did not begin working in Iraq until September 2003.

Furthermore, individual military commanders “initially had no policy guidance on which radiological sources to collect, and what to do with them once they were collected.” Lacking official guidance—and often proper equipment—commanders had to make ad hoc decisions regarding the collection of radiological sources, sometimes tasking troops with guarding the sources at the sites where they were found.

Concerns about the security of Iraqi weapons-related materials have persisted since shortly after the invasion. U.S. and UN officials have reported that sites associated with Baghdad’s past weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs have been dismantled and looted even while the country was formally under coalition control.

Most recently, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) reported Aug. 30 that, based on its analysis of satellite images, approximately 118 of 378 inspected weapons sites containing equipment and materials of relevance “have been cleaned to varying degrees.” UNMOVIC inspectors examined 411 sites between November 2002 and March 2003. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also has described similar findings with respect to Iraq’s nuclear-related facilities.

IAEA inspectors recently found Iraq’s known uranium inventory to be intact, the agency announced Sept. 23.


The report recommends that the Defense Department “comprehensively review” its experience in Iraq. It also recommends that the secretary of defense provide specific guidance for collecting, securing, and disposing of radiological sources, including designating a responsible organization within the department, formulating specific procedures for executing the source collection task in a combat environment, improving interagency coordination, and establishing criteria for prioritizing the collection of different types of radiological sources.

In its response to the report, the Pentagon stated that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in January had designated the commander of Strategic Command with “overall responsibility” for issues related to combating WMD, including securing radiological sources. But a Defense Department joint staff officer told the GAO in August that Strategic Command has not yet issued its plan for combating WMD.


UNMOVIC Details Lessons Learned

Two recent reports from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) have provided some “lessons learned” that may help to improve future inspections of suspected chemical and biological weapons and missile programs.

UN inspectors succeeded in disarming Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, although they were unable to resolve all ambiguities associated with Baghdad’s weapons programs.

UNMOVIC’s August report included an excerpt of a draft summary from a “lessons learned” compendium that the organization is compiling. The excerpt focused on Iraq’s biological weapons program, observing that greater use of environmental sampling earlier in the inspections process would likely have enabled the inspectors to uncover definitive evidence of Iraq’s biological weapons program more quickly. As it was, the inspectors took several years to uncover the program fully.

A May UNMOVIC report included similar discussions about Iraq’s chemical weapons and prohibited missile programs.

Whether the commission itself will ever get to apply its “lessons learned” is unclear because the UN Security Council has not yet made a decision regarding the commission’s future.


LOOKING BACK: The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission

Trevor Findlay

The UN Security Council is soon expected to debate the future of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). The question facing the Security Council is whether to close down and dismantle the organization or to put its human and technical capabilities, as well as its intellectual and archival property, at the continuing service of the international community.

UNMOVIC was established in 1999 to pursue the task of verifying Iraqi compliance with Security Council demands that Iraq divest itself of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and associated capabilities. Although UNMOVIC’s inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, the organization continues to fulfill what remains of its mandate. Denied access to Iraq itself, UNMOVIC uses remote means, such as satellite imagery and open source information, to monitor developments within the country related to chemical and biological weapons and missiles. In addition, it has tried to track weapons-related equipment and materials that have been removed from Iraq since the war. UNMOVIC also is working to systematize its archives and catalog lessons from the Iraq experience.

UNMOVIC has an annual budget of about $12 million. It currently has a staff of 60 at its New York headquarters, as well as a small local staff in Baghdad. Moreover, it has a rostered inspectorate of 383 experts, 33 of whom are on staff in New York. In addition to its own screening facility, UNMOVIC has standing arrangements with 11 laboratories located around the world for chemical, biological, and other sample analysis.

Having succeeded in establishing a sophisticated and demonstrably capable UN-based verification apparatus, a strong case can be made for preserving and nurturing its capacities by bequeathing them to a new, permanent UN weapons of mass destruction (WMD) verification body. Such a body would broaden the range of options available to the international community for tackling the threat from these weapons, including that from nonstate actors; continue the work of expanding the frontiers of inspection, monitoring and verification; and give a much-needed boost to the United Nations’ technical capacities and credibility in this area.

Origins and Mandate

UNMOVIC inherited most of the responsibilities and capacities of its predecessor, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). That body was discontinued in 1999 after Iraq refused to deal with it any longer. Increasingly annoyed by UNSCOM’s intrusiveness, Iraq had taken advantage of allegations of intelligence gathering by the inspectorate, using them as an excuse to expel U.S. inspectors and subsequently all UNSCOM personnel.[1]

UNMOVIC was mandated to continue the work of UNSCOM in verifying and assisting in the “destruction, removal or rendering harmless” of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities and means of delivering them and Iraq’s nuclear weapons, including missiles with a range exceeding 150 kilometers. Like its predecessor, UNMOVIC was required to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in verifying Iraqi disarmament in the nuclear field. UNMOVIC was endowed, however, with new powers and capabilities and with features designed to neutralize Iraqi excuses for noncooperation.

Given that Iraq had already been substantially disarmed on UNSCOM’s watch, UNMOVIC was instructed to focus on identifying “unresolved disarmament issues” and “key remaining disarmament tasks.” In the expectation that Iraq would need to be observed for several years even after it fully disarmed, UNMOVIC was also tasked with preparing a Reinforced Ongoing Monitoring and Verification (R-OMV) program.

UNMOVIC was encouraged to implement the recommendations of the Amorim panel, named after Brazilian diplomat Celso Amorim. The panel had been appointed by the Security Council to suggest ways forward after Iraq ended cooperation with UNSCOM. The reforms included employing inspectors and all UNMOVIC staff as UN civil servants rather than accepting inspectors on loan from member governments, as was UNSCOM’s practice. This was in part an attempt to avoid national intelligence agents being planted in inspection teams.

Organization and Capabilities

With Security Council approval, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Swedish diplomat Hans Blix, former IAEA director-general, as UNMOVIC’s executive chairman. Annan also appointed a 16-member College of Commissioners to provide Blix with policy guidance.

When Iraq refused to admit UN inspectors to its territory for another three years, UNMOVIC used the waiting period to great advantage. It determined priority sites for inspection, analyzed the huge amounts of information on Iraq collected by UNSCOM, studied the experiences of its predecessor, created a well-trained cadre of inspectors, and refined its monitoring and inspection methods. Notably, UNMOVIC created innovative, multidisciplinary analytical and inspection teams designed to avoid the “stove-piping” of information into separate tracks for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and delivery systems, which could result in missed leads and lost opportunities. UNMOVIC, rather than member states, became primarily responsible for training. As UNSCOM had been accused of cultural insensitivity, training now covered Iraqi culture, history, and politics. In an effort to secure greater cooperation from the Iraqis, Blix pledged that the flow of intelligence information would be strictly “one way,” from national intelligence services to UNMOVIC.[2]

UNMOVIC also developed its technical capabilities, assisted by significant improvements in technology after 1998. Detection devices were now smaller, lighter, faster, and more accurate. They included miniature radiation sensors, portable chemical and biological weapons detectors, and ground-penetrating radar. Information technology developments also helped. For instance, the IAEA and UNMOVIC databases were linked, permitting new ways of looking for patterns and linkages across disciplines.

UNMOVIC’s capabilities would also be enhanced by the establishment of regional offices; the ability to fly into Baghdad rather than an airport several hours’ drive away; a fleet of helicopters; access to color satellite images, including from commercial providers; and the use of Mirage and U-2 aircraft for reconnaissance.[3]

Bowing to political pressure from a newly unified Security Council and military pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom, Iraq finally agreed to let UNMOVIC deploy in December 2002. Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted unanimously on November 8, 2002, threatened Iraq with enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if it failed to comply with the council’s demands. The United States meanwhile had begun a steady buildup of its forces and intensified military preparations in Iraq’s neighborhood and, along with the United Kingdom, had increased the tempo of air operations in enforcing no-fly zones over Iraqi territory.

Inspecting Iraq

Given the green light, UNMOVIC quickly swung into action. Its first inspectors arrived in Baghdad in less than three weeks, paving the way for inspections to begin just two days later. The early inspections were low-key, designed in part to test Iraqi cooperation. When Iraqi resistance proved negligible, inspections began in earnest, averaging eight a day. Inspection teams had an average of eight inspectors, but ranged in size from two to 40.

The inspections conducted by UNMOVIC and the IAEA’s Iraq Nuclear Verification Office (INVO) had two distinct phases. From November 2002 until the beginning of 2003, they focused on re-establishing a baseline for declared sites by assessing changes in activity, personnel, or equipment since inspectors left in 1998. Newly declared sites were also visited, and all sites assessed against Iraq’s December 7, 2002, declaration. A second investigative phase began in mid-January, designed to pursue leads obtained from previous inspections, Iraqi documents, and information from other sources, including intelligence. Key sites were re-inspected.

In its 111 days in Iraq, UNMOVIC conducted 731 inspections at 411 sites, 88 of which had not been inspected previously, while the INVO conducted 237 inspections at 148 sites, including 27 new sites, covering more than 1,600 buildings. Most of the sites were located around Baghdad or Mosul, the latter facilitated by the opening of a regional field office there.[4]

In sharp contrast to UNSCOM’s experience, the Iraqis did not prevent entry to any site that UNMOVIC sought to visit and imposed minimal delays even when inspections were conducted with little or no notice. Iraq used delaying tactics, however, in granting permission for helicopter, U-2, and Mirage aircraft overflights. It also obstructed UNMOVIC’s access to Iraqi scientists and other experts for interviews without Iraqi minders being present. In reporting to the council, Blix distinguished between Iraq’s cooperation in “process,” which was good, and cooperation in “substance,” where Iraq continued to be evasive and misleading. Blix identified at least 100 questions that Iraq had failed to answer, many relating to the amount of anthrax and VX nerve agent that Iraq had declared but not adequately accounted for.

UNMOVIC had barely been in the country three months when it was obliged to withdraw because of the decision of the United Kingdom and the United States to invade Iraq, following protracted but ultimately inconclusive debates in the Security Council on how to bring about full Iraqi compliance. UNMOVIC had not yet completed its second phase of inspections, had only just begun receiving overhead imagery, and had not installed the equipment necessary for long-term monitoring of Iraq. Nor had it yet inaugurated an office in Basra, which would have opened up southern Iraq to more thorough inspection and increased the element of surprise. In the end, only seven sites were inspected in the southern third of the country, and UNMOVIC had interviewed few of the many scientists and officials that it wished to query.

UNMOVIC’s Findings

UNMOVIC did not find undeclared weapons of mass destruction, relevant production facilities, or significant amounts of materials and equipment intended for such weapons. On the contrary, it confirmed that Iraq had destroyed the bulk of its capabilities, either unilaterally before UNSCOM inspections commenced in 1991 or under UNSCOM’s supervision. UNMOVIC determined that Iraq’s chemical weapons program had ended, and its previous arsenal, with the exception of a few chemical shells, had been destroyed. In the biological weapons area, although some substantive questions persisted, no weapons or facilities were found. Claims by the United States that Iraq had developed mobile biological weapons laboratories and unmanned aerial vehicles for delivering biological weapons were credibly refuted. Uncertainties also had remained about missiles after UNSCOM’s departure. UNMOVIC detected Iraqi violations of the 150-kilometer-range limit and was in the process of destroying the offending missiles and test platforms when it was withdrawn, but it did not find alleged hidden batteries of SCUD missiles.

Meanwhile, the IAEA essentially closed the nuclear file, concluding that Iraq no longer possessed significant nuclear capabilities and, due to disorganization, corruption, and the effects of sanctions, had been unable to rejuvenate them during the UN inspectors’ absence.[5]

UNMOVIC’s Performance

UNMOVIC succeeded in verifying that Iraq had essentially disarmed itself of weapons of mass destruction and rid itself of associated capabilities. The organization did this expeditiously, professionally, objectively, and without fear or favor in the face of considerable pressure from Iraq and some members of the Security Council to do otherwise. UNMOVIC learned to deal proactively with Iraqi deception and denial tactics and its reluctance to cooperate. It also overcame a failure by the United States to provide timely and reliable intelligence information to permit inspections to move at the quicker pace that it was demanding. It turns out that there was no such information. UNMOVIC ignored insinuations from critics within or associated with the U.S. administration that were intended to discredit it. The UN inspectorate’s reputation has since been burnished by the failure of the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group, which had relatively free access to Iraq for more than six times as long, to overturn its conclusions. UNMOVIC has been further vindicated by the admissions of the British and U.S. governments that they were wrong about Iraq’s alleged retention and resurrection of its WMD capabilities.

If there was one failure by UNMOVIC to fulfill its mandate, it was Blix’s understandable reluctance—much criticized by U.S. officials—to remove Iraqi scientists, presumably accompanied by their families, from Iraq for interview. Although plans were being made prior to UNMOVIC’s withdrawal for this to happen, it probably would have been ineffectual. Even if removed far from Baghdad, the individuals concerned likely would have felt too intimidated by the Iraqi regime to have divulged any information of value.

The Future of UNMOVIC

There is disagreement in the Security Council over the future of UNMOVIC and its capabilities. The United States favors simply winding the commission down, but other permanent members, notably France and Russia, propose variously that it be permitted to make a final judgment on Iraq’s compliance and that the organization’s capacities and expertise be used in some form to permanently bolster the UN’s verification capability in the WMD area. Countries currently outside the council, such as Canada and Japan and the member states of the European Union, also favor enhancing the United Nations’ standing verification capacity. Some see particular merit in preserving UNMOVIC’s capacities with respect to biological weapons and missiles, for which there are currently no international verification organizations.

The most radical idea is for a permanent WMD verification body that would absorb UNMOVIC’s capabilities in their entirety. Such an agency could provide the United Nations with much needed technical capacity for dealing with WMD issues in their many dimensions. It would not be restricted to the relatively rare enforced verification operation typified by the Iraq case but could carry out a variety of fact-finding missions, investigations, and verification exercises at the behest of the UN secretary-general or the Security Council. States may themselves invite such inspections in order to demonstrate their compliance or assist the inspectors in detecting nonstate actor activity on their territory.

The new body could absorb the current, largely moribund mechanism available to the secretary-general for investigating alleged chemical or biological weapons use. Its day-to-day operations would include providing the Security Council with briefings and expert studies on WMD issues. These are likely to be particularly valuable to the nonpermanent members, which often lack their own expertise on such subjects. The new body would be designed to complement and cooperate closely with, not supplant, the existing multilateral verification organizations that deal with nuclear and chemical weapon: the IAEA, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

UNMOVIC’s experience in Iraq has been both salutary and path-breaking. It has added greatly to the store of verification lore and capacity that could be utilized in future verification endeavors. Lessons learned have already been fed into the standing multilateral verification bodies and were notable in the UNSCOM-UNMOVIC transition. It should be the goal of the international community to ensure that such hard-won capacities are preserved and strengthened for future use. Giving the United Nations a ready-made, standby capacity for launching effective monitoring, verification, and inspection operations when required would enhance the tools available for protecting international peace and security and give further pause to the small number of states that are tempted to violate international treaties and norms relating to weapons of mass destruction.

Trevor Findlay is director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance at Carleton University, Ottawa.


1. “The Lessons and Legacy of UNSCOM: An Interview With Ambassador Richard Butler,” Arms Control Today, June 1999, p. 3.

2. Hans Blix, Disarming Iraq: the Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction ( London: Bloomsbury, 2004).

3. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles was also planned but did not materialize before UNMOVIC’s withdrawal.

4. Of UNMOVIC inspections, 219 (30 percent) were conducted by missile teams, 205 (28 percent) by biological teams, 161 (22 percent) by chemical teams, and 146 (20 percent) by multidisciplinary teams. In addition to inspections, the INVO also conducted 125 surveys, including 42 at locations not previously visited by the IAEA. The surveys included land- and vehicle-based sampling, traveling more than 8,000 kilometers to visit state-run industrial and military locations as well as urban areas. They also conducted a radiometric survey of Iraq’s main watercourses December 9-19.

5. Central Intelligence Agency, “Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD,” Washington, DC, September 30, 2004.





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