Congressional Record: January 26, 2004 (Senate)
Page S224-S226


  Mr. DASCHLE. Madam President, I wanted to say a couple of words today 
with regard to an article that appeared on the front page of the New 
York Times entitled ``Ex-Inspector Says C.I.A. Missed Iraqi Arms 
  I ask unanimous consent that the article be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                [From the New York Times, Jan. 25, 2004]

            Ex-Inspector Says C.I.A. Missed Iraqi Arms Chaos

                            (By James Risen)

       Washington, Jan. 25.--Americans intelligence agencies 
     failed to detect that Iraq's unconventional weapons programs 
     were in a state of disarray in recent years under the 
     increasingly erratic leadership of Saddam Hussein, the 
     C.I.A.'s former chief weapons inspector said in an interview 
     late Saturday.
       The inspector, David A. Kay, who led the government's 
     efforts to find evidence of Iraq's illicit weapons programs 
     until he resigned on Friday, said the C.I.A. and other 
     intelligence agencies did not realize that Iraqi scientists 
     had presented ambitious but fanciful weapons programs to Mr. 
     Hussein and had then used the money for other purposes.
       Dr. Kay also reported that Iraq attempted to revive its 
     efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2000 and 2001, but 
     never got as far toward making a bomb as Iran and Libya did.
       He said Baghdad was actively working to produce a 
     biological weapon using the poison ricin until the American 
     invasion last March. But in general, Dr. Kay said, the C.I.A. 
     and other agencies failed to recognize that Iraq had all but 
     abandoned its efforts to produce large quantities of chemical 
     or biological weapons after the first Persian Gulf war, in 
       From interviews with Iraqi scientists and other sources, he 
     said, his team learned that sometime around 1997 and 1998, 
     Iraq plunged into what he called a ``vortex of corruption,'' 
     when government activities began to spin out of control 
     because an increasingly isolated and fantasy-riven Saddam 
     Hussein had insisted on personally authorizing major projects 
     without input from others.
       After the onset of this ``dark ages,'' Dr. Kay said, Iraqi 
     scientists realized they could go directly to Mr. Hussein and 
     present fanciful plans for weapons programs, and receive 
     approval and large amounts of money. Whatever was left of an 
     effective weapons capability, he said, was largely subsumed 
     into corrupt money-raising schemes by scientists skilled in 
     the arts of lying and surviving in a fevered police state.
       ``The whole thing shifted from directed programs to a 
     corrupted process,'' Dr. Kay said. ``The regime was no longer 
     in control; it was like a death spiral. Saddam was self-
     directing projects that were not vetted by anyone else. The 
     scientists were able to fake programs.''
       In interviews after he was captured. Tariq Aziz, the former 
     deputy prime minister, told Dr. Kay that Mr. Hussein had 
     become increasingly divorced from reality during the last two 
     years of his rule. Mr. Hussein would send Mr. Aziz 
     manuscripts of novels he was writing, even as the American-
     led coalition was gearing up for war, Dr. Kay said.
       Dr. Kay said the fundamental errors in prewar intelligence 
     assessments were so grave that he would recommend that the 
     Central Intelligence Agency and other organizations overhaul 
     their intelligence collection and analytical efforts.
       Dr. Kay said analysts had come to him, ``almost in tears, 
     saying they felt so badly that we weren't finding what they 
     had thought we were going to find--I have had analysts 
     apologizing for reaching the conclusions that they did.''
       In response to Dr. Kay's comments, an intelligence official 
     said Sunday that while some prewar assessments may have been 
     wrong, ``it is premature to say that the intelligence 
     community's judgments were completely wrong or largely 
     wrong--there are still a lot of answers we need.'' The 
     official added, however, that the C.I.A. had already begun an 
     internal review to determine whether its analytical processes 
     were sound.
       Dr. Kay said that based on his team's interviews with Iraqi 
     scientists, reviews of Iraqi documents and examinations of 
     facilities and other materials, the administration was also 
     almost certainly wrong in its prewar belief that Iraq had any 
     significant stockpiles of illicit weapons.
       ``I'm personally convinced that there were not large 
     stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction,'' 
     Dr. Kay said. ``We don't find the people, the documents or 
     the physical plants that you would expect to find if the 
     production was going on.
       ``I think they gradually reduced stockpiles throughout the 
     1990's. Somewhere in the mid-1990's, the large chemical 
     overhang of existing stockpiles was eliminated.''
       While it is possible Iraq kept developing ``test amounts'' 
     of chemical weapons and was working on improved methods of 
     production, he said, the evidence is strong that ``they did 
     not produce large amounts of chemical weapons throughout the 
       Regarding biological weapons, he said there was evidence 
     that the Iraqis continued research and development ``right up 
     until the end'' to improve their ability to produce ricin. 
     ``They were mostly researching better methods for 
     weaponization,'' Dr. Kay said. ``They were maintaining an 
     infrastructure, but they didn't have large-scale production 
     under way.''
       He added that Iraq did make an effort to restart its 
     nuclear weapons program in 2000 and 2001, but that the 
     evidence suggested that the program was rudimentary at best 
     and would have taken years to rebuild, after being largely 
     abandoned in the 1990's. ``There was a restart of the nuclear 
     program,'' he said. ``But the surprising thing is that if you 
     compare it to what we now know about Iran and Libya, the 
     Iraqi program was never as advanced,'' Dr. Kay said.
       Dr. Kay said Iraq had also maintained an active ballistic 
     missile program that was receiving significant foreign 
     assistance until the start of the American invasion. He said 
     it appeared that money was put back into the nuclear weapons 
     program to restart the effort in part because the Iraqi 
     realized they needed some kind of payload for their new 
       While he urged that the hunt should continue in Iraq, he 
     said continue in Iraq, he said he believed ``85 percent of 
     the significant things'' have already been uncovered, and 
     cautioned that severe looting in Iraq after Mr. Hussein was 
     toppled in April had led to the loss of many crucial 
     documents and other materials. That means it will be 
     virtually impossible to ever get a complete picture of what 
     Iraq was up to before the war, he added.
       ``There is going to be an irreducible level of ambiguity 
     because of all the looting,'' Dr. Kay said.
       Dr. Kay said he believed that Iraq was a danger to the 
     world, but not the same threat that the Bush administration 
       ``We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq,'' he 
     said. ``And now we know that there was little control over 
     Iraq's weapons capabilities. I think it shows that Iraq was a 
     very dangerous place. The country had the technology, the 
     ability to produce, and there were terrorist groups passing 
     through the country--and no central control.''
       But Dr. Kay said the C.I.A. missed the significance of the 
     chaos in the leadership and had no idea how badly that chaos 
     had corrupted Iraq's weapons capabilities or the threat it 
     raised of loose scientific knowledge being handed over to 
     terrorists. ``The system became so corrupt, and we missed 
     that,'' he said.

                      C.I.A. Missed Signs of Chaos

       He said it now appeared that Iraq had abandoned the 
     production of illicit weapons and largely eliminated its 
     stockpiles in the 1990's in large part because of Baghdad's 
     concerns about the United Nations weapons inspection process. 
     He said Iraqi scientists and documents show that Baghdad was 
     far more concerned about United Nations inspections than 
     Washington had ever realized.
       ``The Iraqis say that they believed that Unscom was more 
     effective, and they didn't want to get caught,'' Dr. Kay 
     said, using an acronym for the inspection program, the United 
     Nations Special Commission.
       The Iraquis also feared the disclosures that would come 
     from the 1995 defection of Hussein Kamel, Mr. Hussein's son-
     in-law, who had helped run the weapons programs. Dr. Kay said 
     one Iraqi document that had been found showed the extent to 
     which the Iraqis believed that Mr. Kamel's defection would 
     hamper any efforts to continue weapons programs.
       In addition, Dr. Kay said, it is now clear that an American 
     bombing campaign against Iraq in 1998 destroyed much of the 
     remaining infrastructure in chemical weapons programs.
       Dr. Kay said his team had uncovered no evidence that Niger 
     had tried to sell uranium to Iraq for its nuclear weapons 
     program. In his State of the Union address in 2003, President 
     Bush reported that British intelligence had determined that 
     Iraq was trying to import uranium from an African nation, and 
     Niger's name was later put forward.
       ``We found nothing on Niger,'' Dr. Kay said. He added that 
     there was evidence that someone did approach the Iraqis 
     claiming to be able to sell uranium and diamonds from another 
     African country, but apparently nothing came of the approach. 
     The original reports on Niger have been found to be based on 
     forged documents, and the Bush administration has since 
     backed away from its initial assertions.
       Dr. Kay added that there was now a consensus within the 
     United States intelligence community that mobile trailers 
     found in Iraq and initially thought to be laboratories for 
     biological weapons were actually designed to produce hydrogen 
     for weather balloons, or perhaps to produce rocket fuel. 
     While using the trailers for such purposes seems bizarre, Dr. 
     Kay said, ``Iraq was doing a lot of nonsensical things'' 
     under Mr. Hussein.

[[Page S225]]

       The intelligence reports that Iraq was poised to use 
     chemical weapons against invading troops were false, 
     apparently based on faulty reports and Iraqi disinformation, 
     Dr. Kay said.
       When American troops found that Iraqi troops had stored 
     defensive chemical-weapons suits and antidotes, Washington 
     assumed the Iraq military was poised to use chemicals against 
     American forces. But interviews with Iraqi military officers 
     and others have shown that the Iraqis kept the gear because 
     they feared Israel would join an American-led invasion and 
     use chemical weapons against them.

                       Role of Republican Guards

       Dr. Kay said interviews with senior officers of the Special 
     Republican Guards, Mr. Hussein's most elite units, had 
     suggested that prewar intelligence reports were wrong in 
     warning that these units had chemical weapons and would use 
     them against American forces as they closed in on Baghdad.
       The former Iraqi officers reported that no Special 
     Republican Guard units had chemical or biological weapons, he 
     said. But all of the officers believed that some other 
     Special Republican Guard unit had chemical weapons.
       ``They all said they didn't have it, but they thought other 
     units had it,'' Dr. Kay said. He said it appeared they were 
     the victims of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by Mr. 
       Dr. Kay said there was also no conclusive evidence that 
     Iraq had moved any unconventional weapons to Syria, as some 
     Bush administration officials have suggested. He said there 
     had been persistent reports from Iraqis saying they or 
     someone they knew had see cargo being moved across the 
     border, but there is no proof that such movements involved 
     weapons materials.
       Dr. Kay said the basic problem with the way the C.I.A. 
     tried to gauge Iraq's weapons programs is now painfully 
     clear: for five years, the agency lacked its own spies in 
     Iraq who could provide credible information.
       During the 1990's, Dr. Kay said, the agency became spoiled 
     by on-the-ground intelligence that it obtained from United 
     Nations weapons inspectors. But the quality of the 
     information plunged after the teams were withdrawn in 1998.
       ``Unscom was like crack cocaine for the C.I.A.,'' Dr. Kay 
     said. ``They could see something from a satellite or other 
     technical intelligence, and then direct the inspectors to go 
     look at it.''
       The agency became far too dependent on spy satellites, 
     intercepted communications and intelligence developed by 
     foreign spies and by defectors and exiles, Dr. Kay said. 
     While he said the agency analysts who were monitoring Iraq's 
     weapons programs did the best they could with what they had, 
     he argued that the agency failed to make it clear to American 
     policy makers that their assessments were increasingly based 
     on very limited information.
       ``I think that the system should have a way for an analyst 
     to say, `I don't have enough information to make a judgment,' 
     '' Dr. Kay said. ``There is really not a way to do that under 
     the current system.''
       He added that while the analysts included caveats on their 
     reports, those passages ``tended to drop off as the reports 
     would go up the food chain'' inside the government.
       As a result, virtually everyone in the United States 
     intelligence community during both the Clinton and the 
     current Bush administrations thought Iraq still had the 
     illicit weapons, he said. And the government became a victim 
     of its own certainty.
       ``Alarm bells should have gone off when everyone believes 
     the same thing,'' Dr. Kay said. ``No one stood up and said, 
     `Let's examine the footings for these conclusions.' I think 
     you ought to have a place for contrarian views in the 

                      finds no pressure from bush

       Dr. Kay said he was convinced that the analysts were not 
     pressed by the Bush administration to make certain their 
     prewar intelligence reports conformed to a White House agenda 
     on Iraq.
       Last year, some C.I.A. analysts said they had felt pressed 
     to find links between Iraq and Al Qaeda to suit the 
     administration. While Dr. Kay said he has no knowledge about 
     that issue, he did believe that pressure was placed on 
     analysts regarding the weapons programs.
       ``All the analysts I have talked to said they never felt 
     pressured on W.M.D,'' he said. ``Everyone believed that they 
     had W.M.D.''
       Dr. Kay also said he never felt pressed by the Bush 
     administration to shape his own reports on the status of 
     Iraq's weapons. He said that in a White House meeting with 
     Mr. Bush last August, the president urged him to uncover what 
     really happened.
       ``The only comment I ever had from the president was to 
     find the truth,'' Dr. Kay said. ``I never got any pressure to 
     find a certain outcome.''
       Dr. Kay, a former United Nations inspector who was brought 
     in last summer to run the Iraq Survey Group by George J. 
     Tenet, the director of central intelligence, said he resigned 
     his post largely because he disagreed with the decision in 
     November by the administration and the Pentagon to shift 
     intelligence resources from the hunt for banned weapons to 
     counterinsurgency efforts inside Iraq. Dr. Kay is being 
     succeeded by Charles A. Duelfer, another former United 
     Nations inspector, who has also expressed skepticism about 
     whether the United States will find any chemical or 
     biological weapons.
       Dr. Kay said the decision to shift resources away from the 
     weapons hunt came at a time of ``near panic'' among American 
     officials in Baghdad because of rising casualties caused by 
     bombings and ambushes of American troops.
       He added that the decision ran counter to written 
     assurances he had been given when he took the job, and that 
     the shift in resources had severely hampered the weapons 
       He said that there is only a limited amount of time left to 
     conduct a thorough search before a new Iraqi government takes 
     over in the summer, and that there are already signs of 
     resistance to the work by Iraqi government officials.

  Mr. DASCHLE. The article begins with a paragraph that reads:

       American intelligence agencies failed to detect that Iraq's 
     unconventional weapons programs were in a state of disarray 
     in recent years under the increasingly erratic leadership of 
     Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A.'s former chief weapons inspector 
     said in an interview late Saturday.

  Mr. Kay, the head of our government's effort to determine precisely 
which weapons Saddam possessed prior to the start of the war, offered 
the view on whether Saddam actually had weapons of mass destruction. 
His quote:

       I don't think they exist. The fact that we found so far the 
     weapons do not exist--we've got to deal with that difference 
     and understand why.

  I also think it is important for us to understand why. On Saturday, 
Secretary of State Colin Powell held out the possibility that prewar 
Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction. That is quite an 
admission, given the Secretary's presentation to the United Nations, 
given his assertions publicly and privately to us and many others as 
the case for war in Iraq was made last spring.
  These views are consistent with a report issued earlier this month by 
the nonpartisan Carnegie Endowment. The report by the Carnegie 
Endowment concluded that the assertion that the fundamental 
justification for the war with Iraq, namely that Iraq possessed 
stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, was not real. Carnegie also 

       Administration officials systematically misrepresented the 
     threat from Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons 
     programs and ballistic missile programs.

  Given the conclusion by the Carnegie Endowment, we can only get to 
the bottom of this issue by thoroughly examining the performance of 
both the intelligence community and senior administration officials.
  This has been quite a remarkable turnaround from the debate we had 4 
or 5 months ago. During that debate, many of us proposed an independent 
commission to look at these issues. At that point, there was a debate 
about whether or not we had all the facts and whether or not the 
Intelligence Committee in the Senate was prepared to ascertain what the 
facts were.
  But consider now the revelations that have occurred just in the last 
few days, much less the last several months. You have the Secretary of 
State reversing his public position with regard to weapons of mass 
destruction. You have the chief weapons investigator working for this 
Government publicly declaring that weapons do not exist and questioning 
whether they did exist at any time in recent years. You have the 
Carnegie Endowment, one of the most respected nonpartisan organizations 
that also reviewed the matter, coming to to a similar conclusion.
  The question comes now: What do we do about it? We can ignore it. We 
can hope it will just go away. Or we can investigate it, research it, 
try to learn from it to ensure that mistakes of this consequence won't 
happen again in the future. Unfortunately, it appears neither the 
administration nor the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee 
share this view.
  According to Dr. Kay, he is stepping down in large part because the 
administration has reduced his team of analysts, translators, and 
interrogators working on the search for Saddam's weapons of mass 
  I cannot overstate the significance of these claims. They contributed 
directly to the decision to go to war last spring. As many of us have 
said on several occasions, this obviously wasn't the only motivation, 
but it was clearly a major part of this decision for many of us.
  Since we made that fateful decision, over 500 Americans have been 
killed, over 2,000 have been wounded, and over

[[Page S226]]

100,000 are still deployed in harm's way. In addition, published 
reports indicate the lack of evidence has badly damaged America's 
credibility around the world.
  So given all of this, I cannot understand why we would not want to 
get to the bottom of this issue as quickly as possible. We should be 
dedicating more resources to getting these answers not less.
  I am troubled too by the position of the chairman of the Senate 
Intelligence Committee. This committee has the obligation and the 
authority to examine both the intelligence community and the 
administration's role in the intelligence failures leading up to the 
war with Iraq.
  Yet throughout all of the last session of Congress, the chairman 
steadfastly refused to permit the committee to meet its 
responsibilities. We are at the start of a new session of Congress now, 
with the advantage of a lot more information than we had weeks or 
months ago.
  In the wake of the statements by Secretary Powell and Dr. Kay, and 
the conclusions of the nonpartisan Carnegie Endowment, I urge the 
chairman of the Intelligence Committee to reconsider his position and 
that of the majority.
  We will work within the Intelligence Committee to urge the chairman 
to live up to those obligations. If he continues to fail to do so, we 
will again bring legislation to the Senate floor to establish a 
nonpartisan, independent commission to look at how intelligence was 
used by the intelligence community and this administration.
  Our troops in Iraq and the American people deserve a full and 
comprehensive review of all aspects of their Government's actions prior 
to the start of the Iraqi war. I hope all members of the Intelligence 
Committee, and indeed the entire Senate, will work with us to give them 
just that.
  Madam President, we will continue to come to the floor to review 
these matters and to express in the most determined way that it is the 
responsibility of this Senate to live up to its obligations--the 
Intelligence Committee, the other committees of jurisdiction, and the 
broad membership--especially when we become aware of revelations and 
conclusions drawn by experts in the field. We simply cannot afford to 
ignore what happened, why it happened, and how we can prevent it from 
happening again.
  I yield the floor.