Skip to comments.Iraq Maintained Chem-Bio Warfare Research Right Up Until U.S. Invasion
Posted on 12/03/2003 7:51:42 PM PST by JohnathanRGalt
Iraq Maintained Chem-Bio Warfare Research Right Up Until U.S. Invasion
Concerted Info Destruction Effort Stymies Ongoing Investigation, Kay Tells Congress
The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) recently discovered a clandestine Iraqi chemical and biological weapons research program that operated right up until the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2003. Briefing Congress about the discovery, ISG leader Dr. David Kay, a former UN weapons inspector, also discussed the calculated destruction of hundreds of computers and thousands of linear feet of paper documention related to Saddam's WMD programs that contiunued even after the Iraqi military had capitulated as well as Saddam's continued pursuit of ballistic and cruise missiles.
|Storage room in basement of Saddams Revolutionary Command Council Headquarters. Burned frames of PC workstations are visible on shelves. All rooms sharing walls with this storage room were untouched from fire or battle damage.||
Appearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Kay made clear that his report reflected merely three months of investigation and should not be understood as the complete findings of the ISG, formed in May 2003 to oversee the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. The ISG consolidates the efforts of several intelligence collection operations under one national-level headquarters.. "We have not yet found stocks of weapons, we are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the way and our only task is to find where they have gone." Kay told committee members.
The ISG has been hampered to some extent by the sheer size of Iraq as well as the state of affairs in the country, where the lack of electricity and destruction of military installations has made the investigations very slow going. In addition to these current conditions, Kay also emphasized the fact that "deliberate dispersal and destruction of material and documentation related to weapons programs began pre-conflict and ran trans-to-post conflict." Looting and destruction following Operation Iraqi Freedom also made the search for information more difficult as much of the computer equipment and hardware used by several Iraqi government ministries with WMD program oversight are missing or destroyed. The physical limitations are not the only stumbling blocks the ISG has incurred. Kay reported that, "The environment in Iraq remains far from permissive for our activities, with many Iraqis that we talk to reporting threats and overt acts of intimidation and our own personnel being the subject of threats and attacks." In September alone, ISG personnel as well as facilities were attacked three times. The ISG installation at Irbil, near the Turkish-Iranian border, was bombed injuring four ISG workers, an ISG vehicle was held at gun point, being freed only after the ISG team fired through their own windshield, and on September 24, ISG headquarters in Baghdad came under mortar attack.
|ISG Chief Dr. David Kay||
According to Kay, the ISG has discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from weapons inspectors prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Admissions from scientists and military officials led the ISG to a prison laboratory complex and commercial factory that were part of a surreptitious network of laboratories and safe houses suitable for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) research. Within these labs, ISG investigators were able to retrieve reference strains of biological organisms used to produce CBW weapons. Biological strains were also recovered from Iraqi scientists who had the hidden the strains as well as documents and equipment "useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation in their homes."
Debriefings from Iraqi scientists revealed Iraqi research and development programs focused on the study of nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited pathogenic agents. Pathogens under experiment included Bacillus Thurengiensis (Bt) with Bacillus Anthracis (anthrax) as well as different medicinal plants breeds known to produce ricin. Scientists told ISG personnel that production of Bt could be switched to produce anthrax in one week if the seed stock were available.
The ISG is also currently searching for stockpiles of chemical weapons such as those containing mustard, sarin, or VX gases. This search, Kay explained, is a daunting one. "In searching for retained stocks of chemical munitions, ISG has had to contend with the almost unbelievable scale of Iraq's conventional weapons armory, which dwarfs by orders of magnitude the physical size of any conceivable stock of chemical weapons." There are approximately 130 known ammunition storage points (ASP) in Iraq, many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold in excess of 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Kay reported that of the 130 ASPs, approximately 120 remain unexamined. ISG believes that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop and produce chemical munitions was severely diminished - if not eradicated - during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox as well as 13 years of UN sanctions and weapons inspections. The ISG is now examining commercial chemical facilities to see if alternative production capabilities would be possible.
One of the most significant components of the ISG findings pertains to the nuclear capabilities of Saddam Hussein's regime. "To date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material." This is not to say that Iraq's nuclear program was entirely deceased. Both Iraqi scientists and former military officials have testified that Saddam Hussein had all intentions to resurrecting his nuclear program regardless of international sanctions and pressures. As early as 1999, the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) began taking steps to expand its laboratories. This expansion included extending research programs and a major increase in overall funding. In 2000, senior IEAC and Ba'ath Party Official Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Sa'id initiated a number of programs capable of being used for nuclear weapons development. Dr. Sa'id also kept intact many of the key technical groups from pre-1991 nuclear programs. These groups were said to be "performing work on nuclear-relevant dual-use technologies with in the Military Industrial Commission. Many more scientists told ISG that they were instructed by top government officials to hold on to their pre-1991 documentation pertaining to Iraq's nuclear programs. As of yet, the ISG has no evidence that a higher governmental authority directed Dr. Sa'id's actions at the IAEC. "Regretfully," Kay told the Committee members; "Dr. Sa'id was killed on April 8, during the fall of Baghdad when the car he was riding in attempted to run a coalition roadblock."
At the same time that Saddam was reenergizing his nuclear program, he was also taking steps to strengthen his ballistic missile capabilities. Detainees and cooperative sources revealed that in 2000 Saddam ordered the development of ballistic missiles with a range of between 400 and1000 km. Measures were then taken as late as 2002 to conceal these projects, just prior to the arrival of UN weapons inspectors. Operational systems prototypes had also begun testing for use in a new clustered engine liquid propellant missile. It is believed that this liquid fuel project was going too slow for Saddam. The design team's estimate of two years was far beyond the dictator's 6-month expectation. Kay further testified that designers at Al Kindi State Company had "reinitiated work on converting SA-2 surface-to-air- missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250km. None of these projects were ever disclosed to UN inspectors regardless of the fact that work on the surface-to-air missiles was taking place while inspectors were inside Iraq.
There have been spotty reports and testimonies made to the ISG that Iraq kept a limited arsenal of Scud-variant missiles, fuel, and oxidizer needed to power the missiles, up until as late as 2001. Kay reported that, "Iraq never declared its pre-Gulf War capability to manufacture Scud IRFNA" the missile's main fuel component, out of fear that the al Tariq Factory would be destroyed, leaving Baghdad without the ability to produce highly concentrated nitric acid, explosives and munitions.
"ISG has discovered evidence of two primary cruise missile programs. The first appears to have been successfully implemented, whereas the second had not yet reached maturity at the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom." The first program focused on upgrading the HY-2 coastal-defense cruise missile, increasing both the missile's range and its use as a land-attack missile. The missile's original range of 100km was extended to 150-180km. Documents given to ISG show that prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, ten of the strengthened missiles were sent to military installations. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraqi forces launched two of the missiles from sites in Umm Qasr - one missile was shot down while the second struck inside Kuwait.
The second cruise missile program, the Jenin, like its prior counterpart also involved modifications to the HY-2 missile. The Jenin would be powered not by a liquid rocket engine like the previous HY-2-variants, but rather by a TV-2-117 or TV-3-117 turbine engine derived from a Mi-8 or Mi-17 Russian military helicopter. The program was apparently scrapped in late 2002 before weapons inspectors entered the country.
These were not the only instances where Iraq willfully tried to acquire delivery systems capable of traveling further than the prescribed 150km radius permitted by the United Nations. Documents found by ISG show high level dialogues between Iraqi and North Korean officials beginning in 1999 and include a 2000 meeting in Baghdad. Iraq, the documents assert, was interested in acquiring from North Korea a surface-to-surface missile, most likely the No Dong, capable of traveling up to 1300km. In addition to the No Dong, the papers also show Iraq's interest in purchasing anti-ship missiles with a range of 300km. Further documentation quoted "the North Koreans as understanding the limitations imposed by the UN, but being prepared 'to cooperate with Iraq on the items specified.'"
Kay has no doubt that if Operation Iraqi Freedom had not taken place and Saddam Hussein were still in power; it would result in the production of missile with ranges in excess of 1000km. As with the furthering of the missile programs, further work in the fields of chemical and biological warfare, there is no doubt that there would be chemical and biological warheads on top of those illegal missiles.
In his conclusion, Kay told committee members that while progress was being made, more time is essential to "ensure that our conclusions reflect the truth to the maximum extent that is possible given the conditions in post-conflict Iraq."
"Whatever we find will probably differ from pre-war intelligence. Empirical reality on the ground is, and always has been, different from intelligence judgments that must be made under serious constraints of time, distance and information. It is, however only by understanding precisely what those differences are that the quality of future intelligence and investment decisions concerning future intelligence systems can be improved. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is such a continuing threat to global society that learning those lessons has a high imperative even in the area of actual weapons there is no doubt that Iraq had at one time chemical and biological weapons. Even if there were only a remote possibility that these pre-1991 weapons still exist, we have and obligation to American troops who are now there and the Iraqi population to ensure that none of these remain to be used against them in the ongoing insurgency activity."
By JINSA Editorial Assistant Jason Peller
Ragtime Cowgirl; Pro-Coalition ping.
SJackson; Middle east/political ping
Perhaps some of them will help document where the WMDs are with photos and testimony. We depend too much on the major news media to tell us what to think.
Perhaps they can do it here at FR.
I heard Ollie North report this. He said it would take 5 years to blow it all up.
Where are Dr.'s Germ & Death? Haven't heard anything about them since their capture...
Conservatives did a fine job of debunking the press re. the Kay Report.
Still, too many people around the world heard, and believed, the mainstream press 'no WMDs' spin.
We do need to keep taking the facts to the people.
Pinging to armymarinemom's common sense (missing from the press-Dems) comment at #2, too.
8 Baghdad, with Victims - To those with eyes to see, Saddam Husseins butchery was reason enough for war ~ Commentary | 12/03/03 | Steven Vincent
I'll take that as some good news.
Oh, obviously nothing to see here.