June 26, 2003
CIA Statement on Recently Acquired Iraqi Centrifuge Equipment
- The head of Iraq’s pre-1991 centrifuge uranium enrichment program, Dr. Mahdi Shukur Ubaydi, approached U.S. officials in Baghdad and turned over a volume of centrifuge documents and components he had hidden in his garden from inspectors since 1991. Dr. Ubaydi said he was interviewed by IAEA inspectors - most recently in 2002 - but did not reveal any of this.
- Dr. Ubaydi told us that these items, blue prints and key centrifuge pieces, represented a complete template for what would be needed to rebuild a centrifuge uranium enrichment program. He also claimed this concealment was part of a secret, high-level plan to reconstitute the nuclear weapons program once sanctions ended.
- This case illustrates the extreme challenge we face in Iraq as we search for evidence of WMD programs that were designed to elude detection by international inspectors.
- We are working with Dr. Ubaydi to evaluate the equipment and documents he provided us.
- We are hopeful that Dr. Ubaydi’s example will encourage other Iraqis with knowledge of Saddam’s WMD programs to come forward.