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Dr. Spertzel, if I read your testimony correctly, you have concluded that among the offensive bacterial agents the Iraqis presently possess is smallpox; is that correct?
Dr. SPERTZEL. That is correct.
Mr. ANDREWS. If they were to choose to use smallpox to launch an attack on the United States, how would they do it?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Again, if that is—just in dry form, in powdered form, smallpox is relatively stable so getting it into the U.S. is not an issue.
Mr. ANDREWS. How much of a quantity would you need? How large would the box be?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Twenty grams of material, which I just cited, would accomplish an awful lot.
Mr. ANDREWS. And how large is that box?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Well, if you envision-a friend of mine, Mr. Bill Patrick, used to carry around prior to September of last year, used to as part of his show and tell, he used to carry a Ziploc bag, 1pint size, containing 200 grams.
Mr. ANDREWS. So an airplane passenger who puts a 1-pint Ziploc bac in his suitcase could carry that quantity into the United States.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Correct.
Mr. ANDREWS. And once it came here, how would it be used as a weapon?
Dr. SPERTZEL. If it is truly weapons-grade material, easily dispersible, it again, is a series of scenarios. It could be it could be released into a building, which would require nothing special except knowing how to do it.
Mr. ANDREWS. So if individuals—would they pour this into the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system of a building?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Yes.
Mr. ANDREWS. Could climb through the HVAC system and leave empty the powder into the HVAC system. Let us assume that this was a building like the building we are in now, the Rayburn Building, which at any given time I suppose, has, I don't know, 2- or 3,000 people working in it. How many of those 3,000 people would likely survive that attack?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Depending on the strain selected—but since you are using smallpox, generally considered to have a 30 percent lethality. But it wouldn't just be the 200 because it is a covert attack. All of you are going out in your community
Mr. ANDREWS. So if someone became infected with the smallpox and then went to the Pentagon City Mall tonight and walked around, they could conceivably infect people there.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Not that fast, but somewhere in the incubation period.
Mr. ANDREWS. How long is the incubation period?
Mr. ANDREWS. So within 2 or 3 weeks, if 400 people were infected, what is your best estimate as to how many would be infected 2 or 3 weeks from now?
Dr. SPERTZEL. I am going to now rely on a faulty memory, but I believe that it is something like ten to one; that is, ten people exposed to the one original.
Mr. ANDREWS. And of course, each of those 4,000 people would then become agents of the disease, and we have the classical definition of an epidemic.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Correct. And there are multiple discussions ongoing right now as to how fast that could be brought under control.
Mr. ANDREWS. Now it seems to me and I say this more to my colleagues than to the country—that we are left with only four explanations of Dr. Spertzel's testimony. The first is that he is wrong when he concludes that the Iraqis have access to weapons-grade smallpox or that they won't have it soon. And I would simply say the burden of proof, in my judgment, on someone who chooses to dispute your contention is to show why you are wrong. The second option is to say that Saddam won't use it if he has it.
Would either of you gentlemen like to comment on that proposition?
Dr. Kay. I wouldn't bet the house on that one.
Mr. ANDREWS. Nor would I bet my constitutional responsibility to defend the country on the assumption that he would not.
The third theory is that, well, we can solve this problem by inspection. Let us assume tomorrow that Saddam had a complete change of heart, agreed to a U.N. inspections regime in which people could in fact go anywhere in the country, anytime, and talk to anyone. If that were in place for a year, could you comfortably come back and assure us that the scenario I just laid out would not happen?
Dr. SPERTZEL. No.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Because the quantity required for terrorist purposes is so low, I don't think there is an inspection regime that you can put in that would—has much likelihood of finding it. You would have to know by human intelligence exactly where it was being produced, and I don't see that happening.
Mr. ANDREWS. The only other choice would be for us to argue that you are overstating the risk. And I would invite anyone who believes that to go outside of this hearing and independently read the opinions of scientists and epidemiologists and others to study this question. Which leaves us with either you accept these awful options you have laid out or you remove the government that is permitting this kind of literal incubation for terrorism to exist.
I think that is the debate. We can talk all we want about the degradation of the Iraqi military since 1991. If the question before us were whether or not a strike against Iraq is justified to prevent it from winning a conventional war against the United States or its allies, I am pretty sure I would oppose that because I don't think it does justify it. That is not the issue. And for us to sit here on the anniversary of that terrorist attack and have a discussion as if it never happened, that we are still living in the comfortable world of symmetric warfare between nation states and their armed forces is to me very difficult to understand.
So I thank you for illuminating these points and I hope that our colleagues hear what you had to say and the country hears what you had to say and our President articulates what you had to say.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman, and we have now gone through the committee so that everyone has had a chance to ask
at least one question from both our—from either the first hearing, our classified hearing, or this open hearing and we will go back for a second round. I already have had plenty of time here at the mike and I think-Ike, are you okay? We will go to Mr. Spratt and then on down the line to Mr. Weldon and try to get a second round in. Mr. Spratt.
Mr. SPRATT. Thank you both for your forbearance as well as your excellent testimony. We very much appreciate it and your forthrightness. But let me ask you a minute just to suspend judgment about the efficacy of inspections and think hypothetically. Let us assume that after the President makes his speech to the United Nations on Thursday the Security Council gathers its resolve and decides that one last ultimatum will be made to Iraq and Saddam Hussein; that is, there must be thorough, rigorous inspections. If you were given the task of writing the charter, the bill of equipment, the table of operation and equipment (TO&E) as it were, for this inspection team, what would be necessary to have the kind of inspection force that could begin to do the job?
Dr. Kay. If I can start with what my requirements would be, it is resources, personnel and intelligence; that is, it has got to have the resources to go at a lot of places at once.
Mr. SPRATT. Give us an estimate of what you are talking about in terms of manpower.
Dr. KAY. At our best, we were able to field around 100 inspectors in the field. I would want to have access to enough people to put teams and keep teams in the field, keep them at work on the order of at least ten times that. I would like to have teams of at least a thousand, not with two helicopters. Two helicopters for Iraq is a joke and it was always a joke, although I loved the helicopters when we had them with the resources to go anywhere anytime in the country and get there fast. I would like so that is the sort of resources you are talking about. That is a very large operation and the ability to get it.
The second thing is, and the third thing because that covers really resources and personnel, let me say on these personnel, these personnel are incredibly hard to get. Iraq has a very steep and demanding learning curve. All of us have had experience with inspectors the first time in the country who aren't worth very much. It takes three and four times. You are going up against a country that is world class in deception, denial and concealment and intimidation. So it is a rigorous selection process. I am personally disturbed that if we are going that way we have to start doing it right now. You are not going to get these people easily and quickly. You need to provide them with intelligence that will allow them to have a chance of penetrating that program. In the early days, we were beneficial and I will say teams I led were benefited from a general feeling on the Security Council that sharing intelligence was the appropriate and necessary thing to do. So it was just not the United States. It was other countries as well. That allowed those inspections to be serious and effective. That changed a great deal over time. I think the commitment is to provide them with the best intelligence of what you know your nationals have been supplying Iraq. Foreign purchases are a tremendous guide to it.
Mr. SPRATT. Did you have access to Israeli intelligence?
Dr. Kay. I am trying to survive as we get close to things that are really sensitive. All U.N. members were requested to provide intelligence and a large number of U.N. members provided intelligence there. And let me tell you, the variability of the quality of that intelligence was the same across every group. There is not one that stands out as always having been right. That has got to be there. For me it is resources, people, and intelligence. The final element is leadership that is determined to end that program, not play a U.N. game of keeping the Security Council happy, but it is a dedication to really ending that program because you are going up against a regime that is determined to keep the program. So those are the four things, but Dick probably has some others.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I think it is appropriate. The problem that you are going to have is the multiplicity of sites that he could be using, and I don't see how you are going to be able to get around to all of those in a timely fashion and not having things moved. I once said that the only way I could assure you that absolutely Iraq had no biological weapons or no program remaining was that if you essentially have inspectors lined up hand to hand from the eastern border-southern border from the eastern side all the way out to Saudi Arabia and you began to march north and every time you got to a hole in the ground or a building you made a point of going in and looking. That is a gross exaggeration but that is what it amounts to, because his ability to move items is such that if you don't get there in a hurry you might miss them.
There is a committee with a noble sounding name of the Control of Biological and Chemical Materials. You know sort of sounds like our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or something along that line. That committee had members in every ministry. Those members were all part of the intelligence service, and that committee actually functioned as a way for Iraq to immediately mobilize personnel, materials and equipment. And they could do that within 24 to 48 hours. And that is what you are up against. So what it would take, lots of inspectors. I don't know how you would sustain-and I believe Dr. Kay was talking about a thousand total for all the disciplines—I don't see how you can sustain them.
Mr. SPRATT. Earlier in our previous witnesses, two other things were mentioned. One was the security backup that has been mentioned by the Carnegie Foundation. Of course they estimated the size of it as 50,000 troops, which is several divisions. That in itself is a huge logistical undertaking, but, in addition, the right to take key suspected scientists out of the country for questioning and interrogation. Would you put that in your charter?
Dr. Kay. I certainly would put the last in.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Here, again, it takes—I agree. I think that would be magnificent, but you are talking about something that I seriously doubt would be done under the U.N.
Mr. SPRATT. I am talking hypothetically.
Dr. SPERTZEL. You could get a hold of a few key individuals. And unfortunately in biology, I can't tell you who was head of that program. We knowingly did not ever talk to that person. It may have been somebody we talked to, but we didn't know it.
Mr. SPRATT. Here is one thing that concerns me, Dr. Kay. I also posed this question earlier. I have this fear that other members
have expressed that we send young men and women into Iraq and Saddam Hussein, knowing that the jig is up, unleashes with full fury his chemical and biological weapons on them early on, not when he is in a corner but early on to try and daunt their invasion. If we could one last time get in, is there some possibility that we might find caches of these weapons if we have this kind of charter, that could at least diminish, if not eradicate his ability to counterattack with these weapons when we send our young men and women in?
Dr. Kay. You can certainly get lucky. I had inspections that got lucky and found things that the Iraqis thought we wouldn't find and found them. Let me give you an example that describes the difficulty of conducting inspections and moving with security people. UNSCOM during its total history from 1991 to 1998, conducted 280 inspections. This doesn't count monitoring visits, but actual inspections.
Mr. SPRATT. That means facilities, sites? Dr. Kay. Facilities, sites, vary from large to small. Of those 280—and we recently have done a reanalysis of those, less than half a dozen were genuine surprises. The Iraqis penetrated where we were going, either through human intelligence (HUMINT), inadequate communication security on the part of the teams, various means, and actually greeted us at those sites-actually fewer. The first surprise inspection that was a genuine surprise I conducted, I had six people that knew where we were going, only six. The rest of the team, it was “trust me, you are with me.” That was a genuine surprise because no one talked and we went to really fantastic lengths to keep a secret. If I have got to move around with—I mean I can't imagine moving around with a thousand security personnel. The issue of keeping that a secret and them not knowing where you are going strikes me as just impossible. The number might be useful if you get there and they say “no.” But the issue is, if they know where you are going—and Dick Spertzel described it very well—if they know where you are going you can bet when you get there what you want is not going to be there. They have perfected over 12 years a deception, denial, concealment program based on mobility, prior knowledge, and quick movement. We made them better than they were in 1991.
So that is why you are getting this pessimism. Would it be worth it if you could accomplish reducing the threat somewhat, getting more evidence that was physical that would convince allies to join you? I understand all those reasons. And my skepticism is, if your objective is to eliminate the WMD program, I don't see it useful. It may well serve other purposes, although I would not underestimate the difficulty of doing that.
Mr. SPRATT. The likelihood of accidentally finding it, if you look at what allegedly Iraq had done with their biological weaponssome of them were stored in a hole in the ground at the end of a dirt runway covered with a tarpaulin and then unearthed. Others were buried in pits, along the Tigris Canal, again covered with tarpaulin and sand. Others were inside railroad tunnels no longer being used for trains. The likelihood of inspectors finding those without good intelligence information that says they are there is somewhere between nil and none. It is just not going to happen.