Iraq weapons report shelved
The Times (UK)
September 14, 2003
BRITAIN and America have decided to delay indefinitely the publication of a
full report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction after inspectors found no
evidence that any such weapons exist.
Efforts by the Iraq Survey Group, an Anglo-American team of 1,400
scientists, military and intelligence experts, to scour Iraq for the past
four months to uncover evidence of chemical or biological weapons have so
far ended in failure.
It had been expected that a progress report would be published tomorrow but
MPs on Westminster's security and intelligence committee have been told
that even this has been delayed and no new date set.
British defence intelligence sources confirmed last week that the final
report, which is to be submitted by David Kay, the survey group's leader,
to George Tenet, head of the CIA, had been delayed and may not necessarily
even be published.
In July Kay suggested on US television that he had seen enough evidence to
convince himself that Saddam Hussein had had a programme to produce weapons
of mass destruction. He expected to find "strong" evidence of missile
delivery systems and "probably" evidence of biological weapons.
But last week British officials said they believed Kay had been
"kite-flying" and that no hard evidence had been uncovered.
The hunt for weapons is seen in London and Washington as a vital step in
convincing an increasingly sceptical public that the war was justified.
There have already been false alarms. One early suggestion, by Downing
Street and the White House, was that an unmanned plane found by UN
inspectors could have been used to spray chemical weapons. But a US air
force report leaked yesterday said such drones were primarily used for
Hans Blix says Iraq destroyed its weapons 10 years ago
September 17, 2003, 07:04 AM
Hans Blix, the former UN chief weapons inspector, now believes that Iraq destroyed its weapons of mass destruction 10 years ago and that intelligence agencies were wrong in their weapons assessment that led to war. In an interview with Australian radio from Sweden, Blix said that the search for evidence of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons would probably only uncover documents at best.
"The more time that has passed, the more I think it is unlikely that anything will be found," Blix said in the interview, which was broadcast today. "I am certainly more and more to the conclusion that Iraq has, as they maintained, destroyed almost all of what they had in the summer of 1991," Blix said.