Targeting Nonexistent Nukes?

On March 19, 2003, Bush informed Congress that Saddam posed “a continuing threat to the national security of the United States” by “continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations.”

However, only days before, UN inspectors had reported that after four months of the go-anywhere see-anything inspections mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1441, they had found no evidence that Saddam had nukes or chem-bio weapons, nor had he made any effort to reconstitute programs to produce them.

Bush totally ignored their reports, advising UN inspectors to get out of Iraq before he launched his preemptive invasion. The UN inspectors have not, as yet, been allowed to return.

Instead, the job of finding the weapons the UN couldn’t find was entrusted to the 75th Exploitation Task Force. When they couldn’t find them, either, the “occupying powers” established in June 2003 the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), whose principal mission was to find out why no one could find them.

David Kay – who had been a bureaucrat at the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1983 to 1991, but had spent several months in 1991 in Iraq at the head of an IAEA inspection team – was picked by Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet to head the ISG.

Three months after taking on the job, David Kay reported to Congress that he hadn’t found any of Saddam’s WMD, but he was not yet prepared to say that they didn’t exist.

Three months after making that first report to Congress, David Kay resigned.


Because – he told Congress – he now realized that “we were almost all wrong” about Saddam’s WMD. They didn’t exist.

Who were “we”?

Well, the intelligence weenies who put together the highly classified 2002 “National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction” – and Blair’s dossier – and the on-to-Baghdad weenies who accepted them as God’s Truth.

David Kay has frequently claimed that he was one of the “we” who accepted them.

And, alarmed by what he sees as a reprise of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq – this time with Iran targeted – Kay recently had this to say:

“A National Intelligence Estimate as to Iran’s nuclear activities should not be a rushed and cooked document used to justify the threat of military action. Now is the time for serious analysis that genuinely tries to pull together all the evidence and analytical skills of the vast U.S. intelligence community to reach the best possible judgment on the status of that program and the gaps in our knowledge.

“That assessment should not be led by a team that is trying to prove a case for its boss. Now is the time to reach outside the secret brotherhood and pull in respected outsiders to lead the assessment.”

Respected outsiders? Whom do you suppose Kay has in mind?

Well, last August, David Kay was interviewed by Lois Ember, a reporter for Chemical and Engineering News.

Ember noted that Kay left the IAEA at the end of 1991 and presumably had no further connection to the UN inspectors in Iraq.

But Kay replied,

“I believe I had up-to-date information. One of the nice things [Rolf] Ekeus did was meet with me continuously while he was executive chairman of UNSCOM. I think there was very little that took place that I wasn’t briefed on or was privy to, even though I was a private citizen and not associated with IAEA.”

So that means David Kay knew all about the defection in 1995 of General Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and the man in charge of Iraq’s WMD programs.

Kamel was extensively interrogated by the CIA, the Brits, and Rolf Ekeus. Basically, Kamel claimed – and the UN inspectors were subsequently able to verify the accuracy of his claims – that all Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and the makings thereof had been destroyed on Saddam’s orders in the early 1990s and that no attempts – or plans – had been made to reconstitute them.

Quoth Kamel, “Nothing remained.”

But U.S. and Brit intelligence weenies never accepted the on-the-ground reports of the UN inspectors in Iraq, reports that the ISG has now confirmed to be valid.

Now the IAEA has the same kind of go-anywhere see-anything authority in Iran that they formerly had in Iraq. According to the IAEA, there is no indication that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

Will the intelligence weenies accept those IAEA reports?

Will their “boss” let them?

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.