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you are not with us. And then I think we have got to start to make sure the people understand that we are going to start to count again, as we did a year ago, who is on our side and who is not. And if you are not with us on this, then you are an appeaser of him; and if you are an appeaser of him, then you are not going to be somebody that I am going to be supportive of.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank the gentlelady. Mr. Forbes.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentlemen. And I am going to be very quick with my questions, because we are limited on time and I know you are tired.
One of the questions that has been puzzling me, and a little bit troublesome, is I saw on television and I have read some experts where a number of individuals who are colleagues of mine, Members of Congress, were very adamant just four years ago that some sort of strong action needed to be taken against Saddam Hussein and Iraq for a regime change. And they seem to have flip-flopped in the last four years, and I have been trying to look to see the evidence for that.
My question for you today, is there any evidence that you have at all to suggest that we should be more optimistic today regarding the success of weapons inspections or reducing Hussein's ability to develop and deploy weapons of mass destruction, short of a regime change, than existed in 1998, just four years ago?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Quick answer. No.
The second question I had is, we had some of the same debate that you heard today took place before the Persian Gulf War. And, Dr. Kay, I know you are probably the best expert we can bring in here on nuclear weapons. In your opinion, had we not gone into Iraq at that time, where would Saddam Hussein be today regarding the development of a nuclear weapon? Dr. Kay. He would have nuclear weapons. Mr. FORBES. He would have one in his possession. Dr. Kay. He would have more than one. By the end of the decade, that is, the end of the 1990s, turn of the millennium, he would probably have had around a dozen weapons.
Mr. FORBES. So, if the debate had ended differently before the Persian Gulf War, we would be staring at a Saddam Hussein today with probably at least a dozen nuclear weapons in his arsenal.
a The last two questions I have for you, one for Dr. Kay and one for Dr. Spertzel. Dr. Kay, if, in your best opinion, with everything you have seen, the likely nuclear weapon that Saddam Hussein could or would develop within that six-month period or six-year period that he was talking about, if he was successful in developing and deploying that weapon in the United States, what would your opinion be regarding the likely death toll that it would have? And I understand there are a number of variables, but your best opinion that you would have.
Dr. Kay. I can't imagine you would do it without the intent of causing maximum destruction. I have never been a fan of people who believe you set nuclear weapons off as demonstrations, because you are not sure what the reaction of the people you are demonstrating to is. So, assuming that he was seeking maximum number of casualties, there is every reason to think, even if everything doesn't go right, you are in the 25- to 50,000 prompt fatalities or a larger number, depending on how you do it. And you know, there are places you can set off a weapon that would cause even more. I am not terribly happy to describe it, but there are ways you can magnify the casualties tremendously.
Mr. FORBES. And, Dr. Spertzel, for you—and I don't want you to describe the weapon, but the one that you think would most likely be used—if that weapon were developed and deployed, a biological weapon in the United States, what is your best estimate of what the death toll would be from that weapon?
Dr. SPERTZEL. The most likely means of delivering it would be to have—when you are dealing with the weapons-grade materialis merely to have it released under the appropriate conditions. Several scenarios could be envisioned. This would be done in a covert means, not an overt, which would maximize casualties. I would envision maybe a multicity coordinated attack, not unlike the coordinated airplanes last fall. Then the number of casualties depends entirely on what the target is, but as few as maybe 20 grams of material would be enough, for example, properly released into a 14, 16-story building, that would give you virtually 100 percent casualties of everyone inside that building where it was done in a way that it wasn't known that it had been released. So you can fill in the numbers by picking which building you want. And the ability to do that requires nothing special other than knowing proper scouting of the building and having the right quality material.
That is what worries me with Iraq being involved with bioterrorism, because he can have delivery boys without a great deal of specific knowledge, but as long as the product is properly prepared ahead of time, i.e., made in Iraq, I could envision other scenarios. I could envision one scenario, quite honestly, that potentially could involve upwards to a million people with a relatively small quantity of material.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. Mr. McIntyre, do you have any questions?
Mr. MCINTYRE. Not at this time.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. We will do a second round and, Ike and I had already had an opportunity to-oh, I am sorry. Mr. Andrews, yeah. Did you get a chance in the last panel?
Mr. ANDREWS. Yes.
Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of our witnesses for their candor and their service to our country and for their very valuable testimony. In the last ten years, this Congress has voted to spend three trillion dollars to defend the United States. None of that did us much good at all a year ago tomorrow, when 19 people with box cutters and airline tickets decided to launch asymmetric warfare against us. I think that if we have done anything wrong in our national discussion about Iraq thus far, it is to discuss the threat of Saddam Hussein in terms of orthodox 20th century conventional warfare rather than in the context of the world we are actually living in.
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. Thank you.
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?