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Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, both gentlemen, for being here today.
I am going to ask a couple of questions, and the first one has to do with the cat-and-mouse games that you saw played with Iraq. And I would assume also maybe your insight into the mentality of Saddam Hussein and the regime there—I guess he is the regime in Iraq, because I think it plays importantly in the judgment we have to make.
And second, to your expertise in particular on the nuclear side of things: I have no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, that he kills his own people, that he has chemical and biological weapons, that he used them against his own and used them against Iran in the war. But my question goes back to something that, really what Mr. Allen was talking about, this whole issue of “Why now? Why so immediate? What has changed?”
And one of the comments that you made, Doctor, was that we are not talking about a rational person. And my answer to that would be, yes, I would agree with you, except that when it came to selfpreservation, i.e., when he was at the end of the war, he sat down and he agreed to terms that would preserve his ability to be there in Iraq, to be alive and to be doing what he is doing today.
So as irrational as he is as a human being, there is this sense of self-preservation. So I look at him and I say, he is sitting there in Iraq, we have him contained. I have no doubt that he has weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological. I am not sure about the nuclear. If I were he, and I was sitting there, I would say, well, if I launch a first attack with this, everybody is going to come at me and they are going to annihilate me.
Because I believe our armed forces and our capabilities are enough that we can take him out and anything else in that region that we want to. I think he is more contained right now rather than if he thinks we are coming in to get him, or we actually come across the line to come in to get him.
So why would you tell us to move, knowing what you know mentally about the person we are dealing with?
Dr. Kay. Those are very good questions. Let me tell you why I don't think he is contained now, or if he is "contained,” we have changed the meaning of that word.
We have gone from a period in 1991, when we had a fairly tight, sanctioned regime of keeping things out and controlling the amount of revenue he has, to an Iraq that sells illegally. I am not talking about the oil-for-food program, but illegally has greater oil income per day than it had prior to the Gulf War.
Dr. Kay. And is progressively getting access—aluminum tubes are an example, but some examples are better than that-getting access to the technology that will make his programs even more capable and competent than they are today.
So as I see over time his weapon expertise and let me say, I share and I hope I conveyed that, I share with all of you—I don't know where his nuclear program is today with a great deal of precision because he invests a lot of resources to keep us from knowing where his program is exactly. But, I am confident that having
solved those technical problems, and with money, it will only get worse and not get better. So, over time, I see it a harder problem to deal with. And quite frankly, I would suspect if his nuclear weapons program-once you have two, three or four, it becomes a shadow that allows you to do other things, use chemical and biological against his neighbors and know that we won't go.
But you put your finger on the heart of the issue, and that is what sort of person he is and what does he care about his survival. We have a hard time-let me be sure I am not held by the chairman in contempt—we have a hard time believing that politicians mean what they say. If you read Saddam Hussein's statements about Israel, about the United States, about Saudi Arabia and all, this is an individual who, given-I am extraordinarily reluctant to believe we should give the awesome power and count on him being rational, to always believe his survival, and so he should threaten them and not use them.
And also, he is surrounding neighbors that are of two types, that I find we are not paying enough attention to the risk we are running. Most of his neighbors do not have enough military force to interfere in their own affairs. They are weak states. They depend on us for whatever security they have.
There is one exception as an immediate neighbor, and that is Iran, which is engaged in a weapons of mass destruction program for which we have a hard time bringing any pressure to bear, because I think in our hearts those of us who dealt with them in the region recognize that that program in part is designed against Saddam. I suspect if Saddam stays in power and his weapons program goes ahead, the Iranian program will go ahead, and that just becomes a very, very dangerous region.
The reverse of that, however, is true and we haven't spelled that out. A replacement regime for Saddam Hussein that is committed to dealing peacefully with its neighbors is a tremendously attractive proposition in the Middle East.
Rich Špertzel and I can tell you in great detail about our appreciation of the middle class in Iraq, of the dedication of the scientific and technical learning they have. Imagine what would change if we had an Iraq that was committed to some form of democracy, such as it might as in the Middle East, and living peacefully with its neighbors. What a challenge that would pose for the Saudis, a challenge to the Iranians. The reverse side is one that I would prefer to deal with: the optimistic, hopeful side of what it might be without Iraq.
And let me say in my testimony-and Mr. Allen cited a point right below it-said Iraq is not Libya and that is why it is harder to eliminate the program. It is much more like post-Versailles, Germany.
But, Iraq is also not Afghanistan in terms of a functioning society that can be recreated. The ratio of population to oil to two river valleys, that for centuries have been irrigated, is a tremendous possibility for peace in a region that sadly needs it.
So I guess it is a personal decision. I would prefer not to run the risk of greater weapons in the hands of an individual like Saddam that attracts his neighbors either to cut deals with him or to develop their own weapons of mass destruction and try to deal with
the future without him. I basically believe that is a lot better for our country and for his neighbors.
Dr. SPERTZEL. And I would like to add, if I might, that I guess one of my frustrations is that it seems to me that the decision is we either do something to change that regime's mind—and if that means changing the regime, so be it or we decide we don't really care what he does and we are willing to live with it, because don't expect containment. It hasn't worked. Embargo hasn't worked. Those borders are as leaky as a sieve trying to hold water. We knew that. We saw ample evidence of prohibited items that we were finding in our routine inspection sites. And inspectors aren't going to do it for you without a change in attitude and without the unconditional support of the permanent five members, which you are not going to get. So the decision is either we do something about it, or we don't do anything. But then let's stop talking about it.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Chairman, will you indulge me? The second question, it is a very quick answer from both of them.
Mr. HUNTER. All right. Very quick.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Nuclear knowledge, because you have it and I don't. An ability for Iraq to both have nuclear arms and a delivery system that comes here to the United States—I believe, not talking about walking in through terrorism. Terrorism I put in a different corner. It is something we are at war with right now. How far away, in your best estimate would that be for him?
Dr. Kay. With regard to a weapon, a device that would work, go to a fissile yield if he had the material, my best guess is somewhere around six months. Months not years, I have said, to do it. If he has to develop the fissile material himself, I can do no better than the German estimate, which is three to six years, but doesn't tell you when the clock started running on that three to six years.
The delivery method—I am not talking about terrorism. A shipping container that has a global positioning system (GPS) device or à command device strikes me, if I send it here I mean, we are locked into believing that the only way you can deliver weapons of mass destruction is ballistic missiles or high-performance aircraft. There are other ways to do it if you have a different model to do it. I think if he wanted to destroy Tel Aviv, if he had a missile he would certainly prefer to use it. But, I think he will think of other ways to do it, delivering other than a missile.
I think in terms of his missile delivery program, the crucial ingredient—that we don't know enough about, but we have just got a little evidence—is foreign assistance. He has clearly gotten foreign assistance on his solid missile fuel production facility. We don't know exactly where that came from. If the sanctions come off the money runs. Could he get enough–I think that's end of the decade, next-somewhere in the next decade for missile delivery. But I would hate to see any policy based on that as the only way you can deliver a weapon of mass destruction. For biology, for example, as experts will tell you, a missile is a lousy way to deliver a biological weapon.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I am not talking about biology. I am talking about nuclear. I am sure he has got the other and got a way to deliver it. But, to us here, not in a typical walk-across or the nuclear suit
case or what I would call a terrorism-type of situation, you are saying a decade away.
Dr. Kay. I am saying by missiles. But let me be clear. That was not the only way the Soviets intended to deliver it. And it is probably not the only way that he would think of having to deliver it if he wanted to. I don't call that terrorism. I just call it an asymmetrical way of facing the United States. We happen to believe in missiles. There is no reason everyone else should believe in missiles.
Ms. SANCHEZ. And quickly, Doctor, because my chairman
Dr. SPERTZEL. Well, again, it might be a covert delivery system as opposed to overt. Whether you call that terrorism or not is something else. But I could-again I would prefer not to in open session, but I could tell you ways that I suspect, even with our enhanced sensitivity to security, that a determined enemy could deliver an effective biological weapon or agent, particularly to our coastal cities.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Doctor. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Thank you very much. And I think when you reflect on the fact that we have got in excess of 6,000 cargo containers coming into our ports daily and we inspect around three percent of them, there is a fairly large pool of candidate vehicles for that.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentlemen, for being here to testify before us. You know, right now, our country is in a war on terrorism. The American people are behind our President, I believe, on this war and they seem to be open to what we do. Our allies seem to be in agreement with us on the war on terrorism.
With that in mind, Dr. Spertzel, in your opening statement, not your written, but in your opening statement, you made a comment that the greatest threat to the U.S. is in, “biological agents to be used by terrorists." However, when the question was asked about terrorism, Dr. Kay, I believe you said we had no evidence that there was any real linkage between Iraq and the terrorists.
Dr. Kay. On the nuclear; I was speaking only of nuclear.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Okay. Do we have any evidence then, Dr. Spertzel, that there is any linkage between Iraq and the terrorists?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Yes. Terrorist-terrorism was clearly an integral part of the Iraqi BW program from its very inception in the early 1970s. The nature of the agents, some of the studies that they were conducting clearly indicated that. The evidence is still not concrete yet, but I believe that doctor Christine Gosden is collecting pretty doggone good evidence that Iraq has used aflatoxin against the Kurds in the north and may be still using it. And I already mentioned the case of wheat cover smut, or wheat bunt as we know it in the U.S., by clandestine delivery means. And they acknowledge that it was that they envisioned it; they called it "secretive delivery." I think that was a euphemism for terrorists. So you have that.
And then, as I say, I happen-and I don't believe I am a lone individual anymore because I think I have made a few converts who
happen to believe that that high-quality anthrax spore material last fall very likely has “made in Baghdad” written on it.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. It is all just hypothetical, though. No evidence.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Oh, yeah, if you are looking for a smoking gunMrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. I am.
Dr. SPERTZEL (continuing). I can absolutely guarantee you, you will not find it. Not now, not in the future. The technology for finding that smoking gun, at least in the biology field, is not there. Absolutely will not find it.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. So we would be asked in Congress to vote on going into
Iraq based on total speculation? Dr. SPERTZEL. That is one way of looking at it. I mean, you know, you do an assessment based on the best information. I mean that is the way we finally forced Iraq to acknowledge their BW program. It was an assessment of the information, admittedly sketchy, but it seemed to make a cohesive story. And that is what you have to act on. It is a value judgment. There is no way around it.
Dr. KAY. Mrs. Davis, if I could add, I have certainly been inarticulate if I have indicated that this is based on simply speculation. We have 11 years of the physical reality of Iraq trying to conceal its weapons program. We have the physical reality of what was discovered in spite of that concealment program. It was not what either Dr. Spertzel or I would have liked to have discovered. We would have liked to have discovered more. But in terms of their weapons capability and weapons programs, those are solid-reality physical evidence, of which we have produced tons of documents.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Dr. Kay, for the record I am with you on going into Iraq. The problem I have is to go back to my constituents and tell them why.
Dr. Kay. No. If I indicated speculation, that is not the basis I would ever urge anyone to do. I think there is a lot of real physical evidence there.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. On the nuclear weapons I agree, but I was going back to the comment that Dr. Spertzel made about the greatest threat to the U.S. is the biological agents to be used as terrorists, and I just wanted that clarified.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Again, as I have indicated, you know, the fact that we know that that was an integral part of their program to start with. I am very concerned about that consortium, if you like, between the three individuals that I named earlier, as related to some obviously clandestine genetic engineering. Otherwise they had no reason to lie to us. I mean, if it was a program there would be no objection to, they could have told us where these people were working and that would have been the end of it.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. I just hoped you had a little bit more information to give me, that was all.
Dr. Kay. So do we.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. But I agree, he is a bad guy and we need to go forward and do something to protect our Americans here.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen.