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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 TJ.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. Saxton. 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
uals like yourselves who have a lot of integrity and the great intellect and the desire to serve in what have been some pretty inconvenient circumstances.
We appreciate the testimony you have brought us. We still have several members that have questions, and want to thank you for your endurance. And we still have a few members who have some questions, and we hope you would oblige us and let us continue. Mr. Larson.
Mr. Larson. Thank you very much, and thank you, gentlemen, as the chairman pointed out, for your endurance, and also for your insightful and thorough comments today, as well. I think it was Judge Leonard Hand who said that it is democracy and liberty that leaves you thinking, perhaps you are not too sure. And I think that this hearing has demonstrated that, and yet there has been several koy points.
I would like to ask three questions as they relate to weapons of* mass destruction as it relates to, as we peel away the veneer and look at some of the economic underpinnings, the issue of oil, which was raised by Ms. Tauscher and others. And third, this notion of a regime change. Let me start first with the oil and say that I think, and I would like to associate myself with the remarks of Ms. Tauscher. I hope the President, when he goes to the U.N., does take to task the nations of Russia and France and China.
My question is, are there international and global corporations that are also dealing in breaking the sanctions in dealing with Saddam Hussein? Do you have any knowledge of that or do you know of oil companies that are dealing with Saddam?
Dr. Kay. I have no personal direct knowledge. It is not something I have devoted attention to.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Likewise. I don't know of any and I haven't heard of any.
Mr. Larson. The upsetting thing when I go back home and I speak to many of our citizens, they feel a lot of what is going on in terms of our overall policy and rationale for being in the Middle East starts and ends with oil. And that is not the purpose of your mission here today, but it is something that comes up repeatedly, and I think there is more than a thread of truth to that and more of a connection that needs to be drawn out in subsequent hearings. With regard to weapons of mass destruction, and I appreciate the distinction that you were making with Saddam Hussein, and yet you said a couple of times about your affinity for Iran.
And I believe you said something to the extent that "We understand why Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction, largely in response of and in fear of Saddam Hussein." And yet the President has said, in the axis of evil speech that we have Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Now both North Korea and Iran we already know have weapons of mass destruction. So in getting to drawing a line in the sand and differentiating in terms of policy, who is next? If we need a regime change in Iraq, do we also need regime changes in Iran and North Korea?
Dr. Kay. Let me try. I will be clear that I don't exactly have an affinity for Iran. What I meant to convey is the Iranians clearly have a concern which one must understand about Iraq.
Mr. Larson. I didn't mean, Dr. Kay, an affinity. It just seemed that way when you are dealing with their scientists and talking to their people.
Dr. Kay. They have an original security problem, and partly that is there. I think, in fact, the Iranian regime is as much as reprehensible in terms of terrorism and what they have done. So that is an issue. I do believe that a change in Iraq with an Iraqi regime that, in fact, chose to deal with its neighbors differently and dealt with weapons of mass destruction is likely to have a positive impact that we have not generally focused on, and that is what I was trying to refer to. I think it is going to be very difficult to bring effective pressure on the Iranians to end their weapons of mass destruction program as long as Iraq is pursuing one. As Americans, we tend to view everyone as to how they stand in relation to us. There is an historic issue of the Irish and English relationship, which we both know goes back, and there are other more complicating factors and Middle East is filled with these sorts of issues.
Mr. Larson. To that point, and I appreciate your comments, and I know how late it has been, but to move to my final point that I would like to make for today, the notion of a regime change. Sometimes words in and of themselves become antiseptic, and I said that in earlier meetings that to me, it seems like the choice is pretty clear here, that either we are going to go in and Saddam Hussein either gets the death sentence or he gets life imprisonment. The death sentence is we go in and take him out with force, tactical, overwhelming, or whatever the case may be. There is, however, and we have dwelled a lot about the specifics as it relates to the danger of doing nothing, but the danger of that preemptive strike and what that means with a person who is willing to use his own people as human shields, where his defensible positions will be set up in school yards, in hospitals, and the marketplace. And the loss of life that will occur there has to give one pause. I was in Incirlik and saw a triage unit that was set up specifically to treat our soldiers, our kids who become inflicted with biological or chemical warfare.
Notwithstanding the cost where we know we are spending about a billion dollars a week in Afghanistan to prosecute the war, I think the cost and expense of resources to go in and prosecute and having the—our two distinguished doctors here, as was asked by Mr. Spratt, draw up the procedure however skeptical you might be, that that seems to be the first course that this nation should go down before we decide that we are going to have a preemptive strike, lest all the things we were talking about before, a chain of events is unleashed within a whole community, that our preemptive strike unintentionally and unwittingly sets off.
Dr. Kay. I can't disagree with anything you have said. All I would say is, the question I keep asking myself, and this is a question that reflects on me, is "Do I think the cost to Iraqi citizens and to the men and women of the U.S. five years from now when he has five more years to further develop his weapons of mass destruction, would be less or greater than it would be if we took action now? And believe me, I am not foolish to believe it would be costless. I think it may not be as great as some people think it would be, but it clearly would not be costless. And I keep coming back to the conclusion as I look to the nuclear program and I talk to Dr. Spertzel about the biology program and other colleagues we have in the chemical and missile area, that five years from now, he is going to be more capable and more able to do it, and we would have to use more force which would increase the damage, danger, and deaths in Iraq itself to Iraqis.
So I mean, this is what I mean by the risk analysis. I think the question I am troubled with and have quite clearly come to the conclusion that if given the voting card, I would vote to authorize is, I really believe this is one of those cusp-like questions for democracy where early action, while never costless and never riskless, is almost overwhelmingly demonstrable, less costly, less risky than action that might have to be taken five years from now.
Mr. Larson. I take it from that comment you have no faith in the ability to go in there, and given all the ample resources to thwart, to stop, to constrict, to prevent Saddam Hussein or his successors and no faith that, in that—in as much as sanctions, if they were truly enforced and that our allies, as Mrs. Tauscher points out, were brought to task as well as the corporations throughout this globe who are also—and running this whole process, it seems to me that we ought to take a shot at that first. But I appreciate the depth of your conviction and the clarity which you have made your points today.
Dr. Spertzel. I would like to add a comment. To a degree, that is what we were doing from 1991 to 1998, and it didn't work. And with—you know, unless you are going to totally surround the border of Iraq with people that you can rely on, you are not going to stop material getting across that border. And I don't care who is behind it.
Mr. Larson. From 1991 to 1998, doctor, initially everyone has said earlier there was early success that was enjoined. And then, it broke down. And from 1991 to 1998, at least, to my knowledge, we haven't seen his ability to do harm, "he" meaning that he hasn't been able to carry that out.
Now from 1998 forward, and absent our being in there and being tough, that is an open-ended question, and certainly I would agree with you. But if we were there with the full force and commitment that people of your capability and intelligence could bring to bear, I think that is at least worth a shot.
Dr. Spertzel. I would agree with you if you can get the backing. But, frankly, sir, I don't see any way in the world that you are going to get that kind of backing out of the Security Council, and if the U.S. tries to go it alone, you are at war. But, to do this through the U.N., which would mean doing it through UNMOVIC and the conditions by which it has been set up with not only the council itself—I hate to use this word, but maybe "meddling" is an appropriate one and certainly the role that we have seen the secretary general of the U.N., who seriously undercut the inspectors in February of 1998, Iraq will twist everything.
Mr. Larson. Isn't that the gauntlet that the President is going to hurl down at the U.N. And that is consistent with everything that he has put out in the past as well, and I think that is the message. And upon the United Nations and the world hearing those demands, then everybody has a responsibility to take all the information and then act accordingly. And I think that will be helpful and instructive to Congress.
Dr. Kay. Mr. Larson, I certainly accept your challenge to design a world that would accomplish the goals that we all would prefer as opposed to the use of military force, preemptive or otherwise. The skepticism that you are hearing from us relates to the issue of a belief that is, as long as Saddam maintains his desire to do it, that world is going to look so much like occupation, that what we are afraid of is that the U.N. will recoil in horror, and "We can't do this to another member state," and you cut back and compromise to what is this ideal world to what will satisfy us, and I think the U.S. is a pretty large number of people, to a world that none of us can have confidence you are actually restricting his weapons of mass destruction role. It is the diplomatic process that occurs in any body as you try to reach a compromise that would include the most.
So it literally is a slippery slope when you start out with a shared objective, that I would share with you, of a regime that would be capable of doing this in a cooperative fashion without military force, but I end up with a regime that won't accomplish our objectives, and, in fact, leaves us with almost an impossible situation of ever then taking military action short of the weapon actually being used, because you will be able to say "Well, we have got a U.N. inspection force here," but it has been so neck down from the ideal, that in fact it's a shielding force.
And many of us feel that by 1998, certainly 1997 and 1998, UNSCOM had almost become a shielding force for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction development program because we were so emasculated and unable to carry out the operation.
Dr. Spertzel. Absolutely. I think one of the most worst things that I can recall happening was when they allowed the declaration of sensitive sites and for a sensitive site, only three inspectors were allowed to go inside at one time. Now you get a facility maybe the size of the Rayburn Building and you send three people in there and expect them to find anything, not going to happen. And that was the conditions that were imposed on us.
Mr. Larson. Your points have been salient. I appreciate it. And I appreciate the forbearance of the chairman as well, and thank you for your comments. And I hope that the point of views that we have expressed also can be brought to forbearance as well. Thank you.
Mr. Hunter. Thank the gentleman. And Mr. Mclntyre hadn't had a question for either session.
Mr. MclNTYRE. I was here for the classified session and came back for this, and I appreciate you being here tonight. Just a couple of questions; maybe you can help. Having just returned to a trip to Afghanistan and central Asia, I particularly noted your comments on page four, Dr. Kay, middle of the page where you say, even states such as Kuwait and Bahrain, which are much more dependent upon the U.S. for their security are resisting U.S. leadership when it threatens military confrontation. We had an opportunity in our delegation of 11 Members of Congress to meet with the foreign minister of Bahrain, who expressed concern about Arab