28 January 2004
Former U.S. Weapons Inspector Testifies on Iraq Weapons
Congressional Report, January 28: David Kay Testifies
By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- Former U.S. weapons inspector David Kay testified
before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 28 that he was
unable to find substantive evidence that the regime of former Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction or
had an active weapons development program.
Kay said during questioning, "we simply have no evidence" Iraq
had large or small stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons
as late as 2002. "We've got evidence that they certainly could
have produced small amounts, but we've not discovered evidence
of the stockpiles."
Kay, who served as a special weapons advisor to CIA Director George
Tenet, was brought in by Tenet to assist the Iraq Survey Group
(ISG) -- a CIA and Pentagon team -- in its search for traces of
WMD left from the now-defunct regime. Kay, who served in that capacity
from June 2003 to January of this year, resigned the post January
Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner, a Republican of Virginia,
ordered the hearing to determine the status of Iraqi WMD and related
weapons development programs.
"Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I
certainly include myself here," Kay said of intelligence estimates
indicating Iraq had an active weapons of mass destruction program. "I
believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has
been sufficiently intense that it is highly unlikely that there
were large stockpiles of deployed militarized chemical and biological
He said that it is theoretically possible in a country the size
of Iraq that some weapons of mass destruction may be hidden, but
given the ambiguity of the weapons search, that question may never
be answered fully. "It's possible that they could be there
and we could never find them," he said.
Kay added that the search should continue although based on his
estimate, approximately 85 percent of the major elements of the
Iraqi program are probably known.
Kay also said Iraq was clearly in violation of U.N. Security Council
resolutions calling for an end to and full disclosure of WMD programs. "They
maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the
intentions at a point to resume their program. So there was a lot
they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing that
was illegal," he said.
"In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to
this point ... Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.
Security Council] Resolution 1441," Kay said during opening
remarks. "Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of
its activities: one last chance to come clean about what it had."
Kay said hundreds of cases of information, both from physical
evidence and from testimony, showed that over the years Iraq had
conducted activities that were prohibited by several U.N. resolutions,
and failed to tell the U.N. about its activities. In addition,
many Iraqi officials were instructed to hide material and keep
the activities secret from the U.N.
Kay also said he did not think the former Clinton administration
or the current Bush administration pressured intelligence analysts
to reach conclusions that would fit a political agenda. "I
deeply think that is a wrong explanation," he said.
Kay said two special vans found by coalition forces in Iraq that
were first thought to have been used in biological weapons production
were actually used to produce hydrogen for weather balloons or
possibly rocket fuel. He said aluminum tubes found in Iraq that
were thought to have been used for enriching uranium for nuclear
weapons were actually used in a conventional missile program.
"I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and
the removal of Saddam Hussein," Kay said during questioning. "I
have said I actually think this may be one of those cases where
it was even more dangerous than we thought."
On January 27, President Bush said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
earlier in 2003 and the toppling of Hussein's government had made
the world safer.
"We know he was a dangerous man in a dangerous part of the
world. We know that he defied the United Nations year after year.
And given the offense of September 11, we know we could not trust
the good intentions of Saddam Hussein because he didn't have any," Bush
said. "There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was
a grave and gathering threat to America and the world."