Not Invented Here

The report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction begins thusly;

“On the brink of war, and in front of the whole world, the United States government asserted that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, had biological weapons and mobile biological weapon production facilities, and had stockpiled and was producing chemical weapons.

“All of this was based on the assessments of the U.S. Intelligence Community. And not one bit of it could be confirmed when the war was over.

“This failure was in large part the result of analytical shortcomings; intelligence analysts were too wedded to their assumptions about Saddam’s intentions.

“But it was also a failure on the part of those who collect intelligence – CIA’s and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) spies, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) eavesdroppers, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) imagery experts.

“In the end, those agencies collected precious little intelligence for the analysts to analyze, and much of what they did collect was either worthless or misleading.”

Admittedly, the Commission’s report is about US intelligence capabilities.

But shouldn’t the Commission have at least mentioned – if not lamented – the inexplicable failure of our intelligence community to even take note of – much less accept – the reports provided them by the International Atomic Energy Agency, especially in the months leading up to the pre-emptive attack on Iraq to “disarm” Saddam Hussein?

But no! The IAEA does not appear to be mentioned anywhere in the Commission’s report.

The IAEA was originally set up in 1957 to promote the international, safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy. But, in 1968, the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons gave the IAEA this important additional mission:

“Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept Safeguards – as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agency’s Safeguards system – for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty, with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

In his final report before being forced to withdraw from Iraq at the end of 1998 by President Clinton, Director General ElBaradei reported that “the Agency’s verification activities in Iraq have resulted in the evolution of a technically coherent picture of Iraq’s clandestine nuclear program.”

“The verification activities have revealed no indications that Iraq had achieved its programme objective of producing nuclear weapons or that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapon-usable nuclear material or had clandestinely acquired such material.

“Furthermore, there are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.”

ElBaradei further reported that “there were no indications of significant discrepancies between the technically coherent picture that had evolved of Iraq’s clandestine nuclear weapons programme and the information contained in Iraq’s ‘Full, Final and Complete Declaration’.”

Nevertheless, in 2002 Bush claimed to have “slam-dunk” intelligence that ElBaradei had failed to find significant components of Iraq’s nuke program. Bush alleged Saddam still had a nuke program and would have nukes to give terrorists within a year or less.

So Director General ElBaradei and his IAEA inspectors went back in and conducted a total of 218 inspections at 141 sites, including 21 sites designated by Bush that the IAEA had never inspected before.

Result? On March 7, 2003, ElBaradei told the Security Council,

“After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq.”

Twelve days later Bush invaded Iraq.

There is no indication that President Bush or the US “intelligence community” paid any attention whatsoever at any time to the results obtained in Iraq by IAEA’s intrusive go-anywhere see-anything Safeguards regime and provided to the US and other members of the UN Security Council.

There is no mention of this inexplicable failure in the Commission’s report.

There is no indication that President Bush or the US ‘intelligence community’ is paying any attention whatsoever to similar results being obtained in Iran by IAEA’s intrusive go-anywhere see-anything Safeguards regime and provided to the US and other members of the IAEA Board of Governors.

There is no mention of this disgraceful failure in the Commission’s report.

So, when do you suppose Bush will invade Iran?

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.