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Now, this was dated two years before the date of that inspection. No nuclear weapons program that we know about has ever stopped with its first design. You get a design you know will work and then you start making it smaller, more effective and hopefully more resistant to accidents.
So my experience in Iraq leaves me somewhat dubious about their concern for safety. They refused to give up any additional design documents saying very plausibly and contrary to some evidence we had, "Well, we didn't do any more design work, you've got it.”
Third, we captured some of the personnel records. They refused to give us a full list and to give us access to the people who had been involved in their program other than those that we discovered and knew about.
So why am I worried? I am worried because we see indications that they have continued their foreign procurement. We know they have kept the teams together and working in the same physical facilities. We know how good they are. And believe me, we had no authority,I would love to have had a stack of green cards to offer to Iraqi scientists and say, "Come to the United States; you will have a good life,” and hand them out. That would probably have been far more effective at dismantling the program than two days spent crushing centrifuge tubes. I didn't even have the authority.
And, Dr. Spertzel can tell you about the even more severe restrictions he followed, because I was lucky. I was in the early days and I could do some things he couldn't. I was limited in the interrogation I could carry out with Iraqi scientists, limited by international rules. I would love to have sweated them--read them the Miranda rights, but then legally sweated them to find out what they really knew. I didn't know that. And believe me, if you ever worked on a weapons program, you know human capital is what is important. Destroy machines, I will just buy better ones; there are better ones coming on the market every day.
And if you take the U.S. enrichment program and compare that to that of our European allies; we have in two gas infused plantsI hope they are not in your districts—dinosaurs of plants. The Europeans came later and they developed centrifuge designs that are far better at producing uranium than ours.
And let me conclude what really worries me. We did the Iraqis a tremendous favor by destroying what we found, in the sense we taught them what we could find, and they learned how to conceal, deceive and deny to us a program that is going to be probably a lot smaller, but a lot harder for us to ever have detailed knowledge of; and that is what worries me today more than it did 4 years ago. I hope that is responsive.
Mr. SKELTON. My last question is one that is troubling and unpleasant. In the news, we have seen the last few days, a fellow inspector, Scott Ritter, that is saying that this is not a threat or a problem to the United States or our allies.
Do you care to comment, both of you?
Let me not let me just say that if you go back and read the testimony that Scott Ritter gave before Congress in 1998 after he resigned and compare it to what he is saying today, either he lied to you then or he is lying now. It is your choice. But his testimony on the Hill was a detailed indictment of the Iraqi program not at all dissimilar from what Dr. Spertzel and I are telling you today. He has gone completely the other way.
I cannot explain it on the basis of the known facts.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Pretty much the same thing. I have heard Scott make statements about the
Iraq's biological program saying it is 95 percent destroyed. Two questions come to mind; one is, how does he $now what is 100 percent, because I don't, and I don't thinkI don't think any of the other biological inspectors knew.
And second, how many biological sites did he visit? Certainly, prior to 1999, the answer is none. He hasn't the foggiest idea of Iraq's biological, chemical, and nuclear program. That wasn't his forte; it wasn't what he was doing.
Why he is doing what he is doing now, as Dr. Kay mentioned, compared to what he was saying four years ago and what he is saying now, he is either lying now or lied to an awful lot of us four and five years ago.
Mr. SKELTON. You both have been very helpful. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Let me ask folks on the second row who didn't get a chance in the last hearing to ask a question here.
Mr. Graham, did you ask a question last time? Why don't you go head, and we will go down to Mr. Allen.
Mr. GRAHAM. Thank you. Appreciate you both coming.
In trying to absorb all this, you have a gentleman who served with you speaking in Baghdad today, and Mr. Skelton asked about that. And, if you listen to him, it is very foolish for us to put the world at risk by engaging Iraq in a decisive manner.
If we listen to both of you, we are stupid to try and even inspect again. And in all honesty, if we re-entered Iraq tomorrow, knowing what you know based on your experience, what degree of confidence do you have that anything would change in terms of us knowing the threat that Saddam Hussein presents to this country?
Dr. KAY. If I could start, if you entered tomorrow as an inspector, as long as the present regime is in power, he is determined to maintain its weapons program and engage in the deception and denial program, I have sittle confidence that we could find that program in its entirety.
Mr. GRAHAM. Unless Saddam Hussein changes who he is and the way he believes, it is a fruitless effort?
Dr. Kay. And that gets to my second point, in dealing with what seems to be a considerable difference between the testimony we have given and what Scott has said.
The best evidence I would suggest you look at is Saddam Hussein. If he had no weapons of mass destruction, why would he not let the inspectors in with full rein? And yet, we can describe, in chapter and verse, the concealment, deception/denial techniques that were used that range from physical intimidation and force all the way up to much more subtle and technologically sophisticated methods to conceal.
If you are not engaged in a prohibited activity, why would you forego $120 billion of oil revenue? I think the best evidence that there is something there is the evidence of the perpetrator of the crime and his behavior.
Mr. GRAHAM. Sharing technology and weapons of mass destruction with terrorists, during your time in Iraq, did you find any evidence that there was a connection between Iraq and terrorist organizations anywhere in the world in terms of sharing chemical biological or nuclear materials?
Dr. Kay. I was not looking for it. I was looking for the origins of the Iraqi program, where they got their technology. I know of no evidence during the period of the inspections on the nuclear side that would indicate that. But, I must say, don't take absence ofI don't take absence of evidence to be absence of their being something there.
What Dr. Spertzel referred to earlier-remember, when some of you were of the age when you have gone through with your children the answer, as they prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and it is hard to convince them that they ought to pay attention to “D, none of the above."
I don't know what 100 percent of their activities were because they engaged in activities designed to keep me from knowing what 100 percent of their activities were. So, we didn't observe it. That is all I am telling you.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I would like to respond a little bit on the biology side.
We had suggestions, we were told categorically that that was not the mandate of 687 and that whatever information we got, we had to tread lightly and not make a point of having that be a primary purpose. However, in the case of wheat cover smut that program started, it was intended for what I would call "agriterrorism" against at least one of its neighbors with whom they were at war at the time.
Mr. GRAHAM. Last question: President Bush says that in terms of Iraq, time is not on our side. Do you agree with that statement? Do you believe that if we do nothing, five years from now he is a bigger threat or lesser threat?
Dr. Kay. I certainly agree that time is not on our side. When we talk about someone who is actively engaged in development of a nuclear program, time is not on our side. The acquisition of a nuclear weapon in the hands of Saddam Hussein not only would pose a greater threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region, it would change in ways that are really largely unknowable.
The political competition, for example, imagine—we tend to view the Iranians as a threat against ourselves. If you ever dealt with the Iranians after the Iran Iraq war, more than 500,000 Iranian young men died defending their country against Saddam Hussein's attack. The Iranian weapons of mass destruction program is designed as much against the Iraqis as it is anything to do with us. If we allow it to continue, you are talking about a major arms race in the Middle East that I find it difficult to understand the consequence of
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, thank you. And, gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. I appreciate your testimony, and I want to say at the outset, I do definitely share your concern about the Iraqi program-the various programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. It is clearly something we need to deal with. We have in Saddam Hussein, someone who can't be trusted, who doesn't play by the rules and causes problems in the region and for us all.
But, I wanted to ask you in particular about what I regard as the evidence for your conclusion-particularly, I will pick on you, Dr. Kay, because it is in your testimony, and that has to do with the attribution to Saddam Hussein of an intention to use weapons of mass destruction in the next few years against the United States. And let me just point out why this is important.
The question of how quickly we need to move is related not just to capability, but also to whether or not we can see it is in Saddam Hussein's interest to move against his allies or against the United States; and obviously that is a matter of judgment. We have to make a calculation, and there are risks involved in any judgment.
But the amount of time is an important issue in deciding what the appropriate strategy is. And in your testimony, Dr. Kay, you said near the end, what is clear is that unless we take immediate steps to address the issue of removing Saddam's regime from power in Iraq, we will soon face a nuclear-armed and -emboldened Saddam. With time and we can never be sure of how long that will be—Saddam will be able to intimidate his neighbors with nuclear weapons and find the means to use them against the United States. And you refer to the first use of these weapons against the United States and its friends in saying, you know, that is likely to come.
As I put together the kinds of testimony we have heard here and what we have read in the newspapers, the Iraqi military is described as much weakened after the Gulf War. The morale of its regular troops, at least, is diminished. There isn't the same kind of capability there was before. U.S. and British planes fly over the northern part of the country, over the southern part of the country periodically attacking defense installations.
How do we get from a Saddam Hussein, as he is contained and hemmed in by U.S. and British air forces right now, to a Saddam Hussein who is likely within a short period of time not just to intimidate, but to use, particularly, nuclear weapons against either allies or the United States?
It is that leap that I have some trouble with, and I wonder if you could sort of give us any information, any evidence you have, to support the conclusion.
Dr. Kay. Well, let me address that directly and let me say we are talking about willingness to run risks and judgments.
First of all, I would suggest one should be careful about assuming that Saddam acts in a rational calculus that you and I would share. Quite frankly, I don't think you or I would have invaded Kuwait. It wasn't worth it; it was an extraordinary risk.
Having faced him and dealt with him on the ground, let me tell you, if you want to talk about evil, the way he has ruled his people with unconstraint-I mean, one of the ironies of Scott appearing
before the Iraqi parliament is that if there is ever an oxymoron that does not deserve to be in the same sentence, it is “parliament" with Iraq. He is not constrained by the normal political forces that you and I are.
What worries me, and it is my—that reflects my belief that we should not run that sort of risk, that, in fact, once he obtains a weapon—and I think the evidence is overwhelming of his attempts to obtain all of these weapons-if he is successful-and I have, perhaps less than you, not a great deal of confidence in the security system around the former Soviet Union. I am amazed that someone hasn't penetrated it yet
Mr. ALLEN. Can I stop you for just a minute?
I agree with what you are saying about him and the way he operates and certainly the way he operates in his own country. My question is, what evidence is there that Saddam Hussein is likely to make an offensive move against either his allies or the United States? Is there any evidence to support that kind of purpose?
Dr. Kay. I read his statements about the destruction of the state of Israel, and his support in supporting suicide bombers as an individual who, if he had the weapon, would use it.
I think if you ask the Iranians, "Do you believe if Saddam had nuclear weapons at the time of the Iran Iraq war, would he have used them?” He used everything else he had.
I just—and maybe I am reflecting 9/11; I mean, that is all burned into our consciousness. I would not run the risk of an individual with his track record having the ability to inflict tremendous harm.
You might be right. We might be able to deter him. I don't think like “mights” when you are talking about nuclear weapons in the hands of people like Saddam Hussein.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I would like to add one thing on the bio side. You have to have an understanding from the BW side that a country like Iraq could conduct a terrorist-a bioterrorist action in the U.S. and have complete, plausible deniability. Trying to pin it down, an agent, as coming from a laboratory or even a country is a virtually impossible task. We may have already been hit by something that was made in Baghdad, and I am referring to the anthrax letters last fall. We still don't know who made the product. And I can tell you one country that had the full capability of making such a product is Iraq.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you both very much.
Dr. Kay, Dr. Spertzel, thank you both for being here and enlightening us and giving us another side of the story and, quite frankly, scaring us to death. Maybe that is what we need.
We have been consumed with this, it seems like, in this country for several weeks; you can't turn on the TV, pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading it. It is all we are hearing on TV. And clearly, we are dealing with a man who is a mad man and a regime that is mad, as well, and something is going to have to be done.