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Dr. Kay. I share that view. I think it is in the areas of nuclear and ballistic missiles a somewhat similar problem. When you combine money with how far the Iraqis are and the way technology progresses it has become a much worse problem. Let me give you the case of the aluminum centrifuge rotors. The Iraqi centrifuge pieces that a team I was on discovered were made of marging steel. Marging steel is harder to get access to. It is a more specialized technology and not everyone can produce it. They were going to carbon fiber rotors, because carbon fiber winding machines, although controlled because they are relevant to missile technology, as you know, Mr. Weldon, in addition to centrifuges were still at that point where they were becoming generally available because of Callaway golf clubs, high performance fly rods, and a whole series of other issues. So they were on the slope and they understood it. By going to carbon fiber, they were better off. Going to aluminum is even easier because a number of countries that have the capabilities to extrude high performance aluminum tubes is almost in any country that has a machine tool industry.
So the problem has become porous. We have not found an effective way of dealing with it, but let me tell you, I am pessimistic that there is an easy way to deal with it other than replacing the regime. We are very much into talking about export controls and all, and I am certainly in favor of them relevant to Iraq. It is very much like putting your finger in the dike when in fact you ought to be examining the nature of the flood control system as a whole there and it is why you have the problem. It is much worse than it was in the 1990s.
Mr. WELDON. One final question and this gets to the point you both made which I was going to ask and you have already answered it, and that is you are convinced that the only solution is a regime change, and I am coming to that conclusion very quickly myself. But knowing the kinds of considerations that our colleagues have to make on an up and coming vote, I think it is going to behoove us, whatever step we can, to convince overwhelmingly our members that that is the course of action we have to take. So therefore, I happen to believe that we have to put more pressure on Russia.
Russia just signed a $40 billion energy deal with Iraq. They are hugely involved in Iraq and have had both political and economic ties to Iraq. We spend about a billion dollars a year in Russia, most of which I support, in the area of economic investment, cooperative threat reduction, agricultural and environmental assistance. So therefore, what I am trying to organize, and I talked to some of some my Russian colleagues in the Duma over the weekend as a follow-up to a trip you took with me, Mr. Saxton, to go to Vienna to negotiate a framework to end the Kosovo conflict, which they involved themselves in, to take to Russia a delegation that basically says to the Russians, “It is time for you to join the foray directly. You are getting our assistance and you have told us you don't want conflict. You are against us going into Iraq. Here is the set of criteria that we want with you with us to get Saddam to agree upon, which I think is going to be impossible on the face because, one, they won't want to do it and, two, Saddam won't accept it. Can you help me and members of this body, and this will be both Democrats
and Republicans. In fact, there were two Democrats that asked me to do this—can you put together, not today but in the next couple of days a very short one-page of what would that scenario be, what would those conditions be? Obviously, uncontrolled access to any site, so that we can go and take this to the Russians, who we support and help, and say, okay, here is what we expect you to do? You got leverage with Saddam. We need to end this. And so we can use that leverage to convince, if not the Russians that they can could do this, but to show our colleagues in the House before the vote that we will have taken every possible attempt that we could take to try to provide a mechanism to allow the process to move forward as was originally required by the U.N. resolutions?
Could you help us define what those parameters would be?
Mr. WELDON. Do you also believe that Russia in fact, can and should be playing a much more aggressive role in getting Saddam to do what we want him to do, given our assistance to Russia?
Dr. SPERTZEL. I don't think there is any question that they should be, but I seriously question whether they will because the conditions that would be required are such that anybody wantsthe French learned. The French started taking a tough line with Iraq about a year and a half ago. As a result, Iraq promptly signed several contracts with Moscow to exploit the oil field east of Kut, and now Russia is Iraq's leading trading partner and not the French.
Dr. Kay. I am more optimistic and let me tell you, I think this is true of our European allies. I think the difficulty of convincing them to take the tough argument and overcome some economic costs is that they haven't believed we are serious. Once they can believe that we are serious about regime replacement and the Iraqis can do it the easy way or they can do it the hard way, that changes the entire equation because they know they are not going to be dealing with the old Saddam. They may be dealing with either a new regime—and this exists in what a physicist calls imaginary space—a new Saddam, a kinder, gentler, honest Saddam. In either case they know they have to cut a different deal. The problem is for literally—this goes back to 1991—they have not believed that we are serious about that issue. So in their own self-interest, they have cut the most logical, rational deal with the guy who has got the money. So I can be more optimistic if I believe we are indeed serious and can convince our allies and our friends like the Russians that we are serious.
Mr. HUNTER. Dr. Snyder.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If it seems like you have been here for hours it is because you have been here for hours. So we appreciate you being here.
The cooperative threat reduction that you mentioned earlier in your testimony, Dr. Kay, and I took from your comments that you have been supportive of the program. Senator Lugar has made the suggestion that we, Congress, ought to authorize and the administration be able to expand that to other countries. Now that we have some newer members of the nuclear club, do you agree with that concern that we ought to be looking perhaps at a country like Pakistan or India, if we thought they needed some help, that we could
come up with appropriate contracts and support to protect their nuclear materials? Do you agree with that?
Dr. Kay. I absolutely do and when I said that the six months, if they obtain fissile material, I used the easy answer of the insecurity of the former Soviet supply. We should be concerned about nuclear material wherever it exists and it has the greatest possible security surrounding it.
Mr. SNYDER. The issue of why we are here, and your comments have been very helpful, but earlier I think you made the comment that we have to make a decision about what kind of risk we are willing to run. I believe the lady phrased it, “Are we willing to run the risk of keeping Saddam Hussein in power?” To me it seems like it is not a question of are we willing to put up with the risk of Saddam Hussein being in power. To me it becomes a trade-off. There is not going to be a risk-free world, and I guess, as General Scowcroft has been making the point, his theory that we need to consider the possibility that a military action bringing about a regime change in Iraq may impede the ongoing activities we have against al Qaeda because it is so dependent on international cooperation. I don't know what the number is now. We think al Qaeda cells are active in 50 to 60 countries. I mean, this is going to be a different kind of war because it is going to be like an international crime fighting operation. It really does depend on a lot on international cooperation. I was struck by your comments that you all had finding in Iraq, finding on the ground, finding the materials. And yet what we are trying to do in these 50 or 60 countries is find, what, 3 to 5,000 people who may have been hiding out there for several years working, having families and doing everything completely legal, and yet we are clearly going to be dependent on the host country.
So to me, it is a complicated issue and it is a weighing versus, you know, the risk of Saddam Hussein being in power to age 65 versus how it impacts on other aspects of our national security. And then you have a whole issue of—which concerns some members and certainly a lot of people and the American public about the effect of a war itself.
Senator Lugar I think, brought up when they had a hearing about six weeks ago the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq under a new regime, and you know brings up this issue, is it the geopolitical forces that are driving Iraq or is it Saddam Hussein? You make the comment in your statement, “As long as the government remains in Baghdad committed to acquiring weapons of mass destruction, that capability can be expected to become without much warning a reality.” Senator Lugar's question was, we spend five, six, eight years there, tremendous expense, have our first elections, we leave. The first state of the union address of the new regime in Baghdad, and they say because of the threats of Israel and Iran we need to develop a weapons of mass destruction program. I mean that is not an unreasonable possibility in that neck of the woods.
So I appreciate your comments today. I think these really are difficult and complicated issues. I was a bit disappointed to hear your description of the resources you had. Retrospectively that looks like a lot of, I don't know, lack of foresight on the part of all of us of
the international community that as you described the golden period of Yemen and Cuba congratulating you would have been wonderful if you had 10 times or 50 times the resources for you right then. Now my recollection of the research is eight sports utility vehicles (SUVs) stopped somewhere for hours at a time and in the early days that wasn't the case. Thank you. Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Dr. Snyder. Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I agree with Dr. Snyder that this is an extremely complex and complicated subject, and I suspect from the comments that I have heard, not today necessarily, but over the past several months and during August in particular, lead me to believe that there is a lot of confusion in the country about this subject.
And let me just ask this question. Let me say this first, I guess. The Secretary of Defense was here in June or July and he spoke of the need to have a discussion about whether and when it is appropriate to decide to have preemptive strikes, and I was taken with that question because I hadn't thought about it in that context before. And I have been struggling with that question, when is it appropriate to have preemptive strikes?
And then during August, President Bush said—I guess it was while he was working at the ranch in Texas—that he was very concerned about the situation in Iraq. And I don't remember exactly what he said, but his message was, it is time for a regime change and the regime change is necessary because of the development of weapons of mass destruction, particularly with nuclear weapons. And Dr. Kay, in your early remarks you said something like this. And I think I have the words about right, you said prior to 1991, which was over a dozen years ago, Iraq fully understood the process of building a nuclear device. Experts in Iraq have unraveled all of the science necessary. Can you tell us in helping us to decide these questions what led you to that conclusion?
Dr. KAY. Well, we were extraordinarily fortunate on the third mission I took in of—because of a mistake the Iraqis made and that is where accidents play a role, seizing the records, the actual records of the Iraqi atomic energy program. So we have a bureaucratic record of progress reports that they filed. We also in the first mission uncovered their major electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) enrichment process and then discovered their centrifuge process. So we actually had physical evidence plus documents. I mean, the ideal unraveling. And inspection is often like a white collar crime investigation. All too often you are dealing with people, you can't really sweat the people as much as you would want to and you get some written records and then you search for physical evidence and put it together.
In the nuclear area, much more so than in the biological area, we were lucky in that early on, we were able to combine physical records with actual physical evidence, buildings and devices with the actual written records of much of their programming, including design documents of the device. So that is a result of that sort of analysis. And I will say again, I was extraordinarily lucky and fortunate in being able to go in immediately after the Gulf War. Iraq
was still a disorganized country in many ways. They hadn't learned—I had an Iraqi official tell me, “You don't behave like the U.N. inspectors that we had prior to the Gulf War.” I took that as a compliment. No, we didn't. We had a different set of resolutions that we were marching to. They hadn't quite caught on to how to deal with us.
So we were able to construct what I think most of us—there is very little disagreement about what we—about what we decided they knew then, the area of uncertainty and the area many of you have focused on is where are they today and where will they be going tomorrow. And that is when you get to connecting dots and extrapolation. But that statement is based on hard physical evidence, interviews, people, and written documents. We seized—I think the final total was somewhere around 100,000 pages of documents. I view myself as the grandfather of the full employment of Arabic translators because we are still going through those documents today.
Mr. SAXTON. And not to be redundant, but didn't you also say earlier that you found in your investigation of certain sites—didn't you find a diagram of a nuclear device?
Dr. KAY. That is what I call the design documents. It is a diagram plus the scientific calculation.
Mr. SAXTON. And from your expertise as a nuclear physicist, do you believe that that diagram, if converted into an actual device, had the capability of working as an atomic
Dr. Kay. It is not my judgment. This was submitted to the U.S. and other national labs that have designed actual nuclear weapons. It is the combined judgment of at least three countries that have actually designed nuclear weapons.
Mr. ŠAXTON. And through other testimony you gave here today, you indicated there is only one element remaining.
Dr. Kay. Fissile material, yes.
Mr. SAXTON. And we don't know for sure if they have been able to acquire fissile material or not.
Dr. Kay. That's correct.
Mr. SAXTON. And if they do, how long would it take them to construct the device?
Dr. Kay. The best estimate is somewhere it is months rather than years and somewhere in the range of six months.
Mr. SAXTON. And I suspect that the President had been briefed on this information before he made his statement in August?
Dr. Kay. Yes, sir. We have not been quiet about it.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman. It has been a very sobering hearing today. A lot of the questions that evidence and a lot of the questions that I am sure other Americans have had have been addressed today, and I am sure this discussion will continue to move forward, so we thank you even though this is information that some of us may not have wanted to hear, we greatly appreciate the several hours
that you have spent here bringing us up to date on these issues. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. I want to thank the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey for asking again the key questions, and also, thank you Dr. Kay and Dr. Spertzel for the great contribution you have made to our country. And part of the strength of this country is individ