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tories everywhere, under bunkers, under palaces, under their buildings.
Now, this is what he tells us. The other part of the story, there is an organization created in 1995 headed by Saddam's younger son, Qussey. It is called the counter-monitoring group. What it does once inspectors are known where they are going to go, out of 270 inspectors, only 6 were surprise inspections. So, Iraq always knew it was happening. Once Iraq find out where the inspectors are going to go for every site there is a backup site.
The monitoring group, the counter-monitoring organization, what it does, has its own technicians and its own engineers and its own transport system. They go to that site, remove all the relevant equipment, incriminating material, documents, and of course, the scientists and engineers, and take them to the backup site. And, under this system, and this is being divvied up, according to the information we are getting right now has been divvied up is there is a growing organization since 1995 until the inspectors left.
This is not a very viable organization with lots of resources, and its business is to defeat the inspectors. It runs ahead of them, sanitizes sites, removed scientists, removed documents, everywhere the government and this engineer confirmed this to us by telling us for every site, he built a second backup site with the exact same specs. So what we have here is a system that is functioning for a long time now since 1995, that is, is expert at removing equipment and people and materials from anywhere the inspectors want to go.
Now, how the inspectors will find their way around in Iraq when they go back, and how would they be able to find any smoking gun, I don't know, and I don't think they will.
Mr. HUNTER. Dr. Hamza, thank you very much for a very important statement.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Hamza can be found in the Appendix on page 230.]
Mr. HUNTER. And, what I would like to do is go now to questions, if we could. I had one just to start off with. You—I think the question that is on everyone's mind is, in your estimation, is there a nuclear weapon program going on in Iraq now that is getting close to maturity, and if not, how far away is it?
Dr. HAMZA. Iraq resolved all its nuclear technology bottlenecks in the 1990s. In 1993, it resolved the technology bottleneck for enrichment by diffusion. In 1999, the Germans gave Iraq the complete technology, actually gave Iraq 130 classified reports and installed one complete centrifuge unit and one barshield installation and gave Iraq also all this for $30,000. And, gave Iraq also around 20 carbon fiber cylinders, which are state-of-the-art centrifuge cylinders for around $1 million. This is, according to his lawyer, who came here and talked about it a few years back.
Now, this is something like one year of research given to Iraq up front. So, Iraq now has already the units which were later given to inspectors, but it has the videotapes of the units were installed, how the units were operating and videotapes of the lectures and demonstrations given to them, and they have 130 classified reports that cover all aspects of centrifuge.
Iraq never puts all its eggs in one basket. It has another technology for uranium enrichment which is called diffusion. The
switch from diffusion to centrifuge was held up by one critical part which is called the barrier which enriches uranium, the barrier allowed the light uranium to go through the fissile uranium, and the heavier isotope of uranium, less amount goes through so it enriches gradually every time it goes through the barrier.
Iraq could not develop the barrier until 1987. So, it switched to centrifuge in 1988. In 1993, Iraq developed a fully working barrier. And, as such, declared it also in 1996 in its final declaration. As such, Iraq has two technologies with no bottlenecks into enriching uranium. The aluminum tubes, by the way, could be used for either. What you need aluminum for is aluminum can withstand UF-6, which is highly corrosive.
Few materials can withstand that, including maraging steel and aluminum. They can withstand that. They could use them in either. So, if somebody can object that the specs are not high enough or this and that, they could be used in either system. Both systems are ready to go in Iraq. And, both systems require very little imports outside to get them going. My estimate is that Iraq, in two years of complete and putting together enough facilities for fullscale production and within three years, to have enough for two to three nuclear weapons.
Mr. HUNTER. And how many weapons in two or three years?
Mr. HUNTER. Two to three. Okay. Thank you very much, Dr. Hamza. And Mr. Milhollin, I think the one question that I think came out very clearly from your testimony was a question about this—the now famous tubes that we are talking about, these aluminum tubes that you say that your analysis of the EAA, the Export Administration Act that is being proposed, would become basically legal. And that the transfer of which would become legal. Is that under the so-called mass market provision that is in that EAA?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Yes, it is. The mass market provision is found in section 211 of the bill, I believe. And, if you would like, I can just go through the criteria very quickly for you. The first—the criteria are very broad and, I must say, they are unprecedented. They have never been introduced in any law in the United States yet. The first criterion is that the item must be available for sale in large volume to multiple purchasers, and my staff certainly determined that that was true.
Second, the item must be widely distributed through normal commercial channels. That is also true. There are at least a dozen, and probably scores of distributors in the United States. I would say scores of distributors in the United States and certainly many distributors in foreign countries that make this material and can sell it. The item must be conducive to shipment and delivery by generally accepted commercial meanings of transport, and these tubes can be delivered by truck.
And then, finally, the items may be used for their normal intended purpose without substantial and specialized service provided by the manufacturer. That is also true. So the problem we have is that these criteria are very broad and if you just do experiments with particular items, you will find that it would be very
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Dr. HAMZA. For example, initially there was no demand or serious demand by the inspectors to talk to the scientists. And, they accept it. The scientists Iraq offered as a front. They did not go try to get to the base, actual working base of the whole scientific and engineering enterprise.
Mr. SPRATT. But, did they destroy the physical facilities?
Dr. HAMZA. The physical facilities were destroyed. Iraq didn't care about that, because they can rebuild them. Iraq can rebuild now, a physical plant within months. What remains is the equipment. Equipment can be imported or rebuilt.
Mr. SPRATT. Thus far, that has kept them from building apparently a centrifuge plant, an enrichment plant, has it not?
Dr. HAMZA. How do we know? The order is in the tens of thousands. That tells you it is not a process in which you are trying to make one or two. What is given is two centrifuges. That is all that was given, and some tubes, something like a thousand tubes. That is all the inspectors got. What is imported now—and this is the order that was caught. I don't know if there were others that were not intercepted, is tens of thousands of tubes. That tells you also on the other side that Iraq is now in the plant-building stage, not in the process of research and development. You don't need that many tubes for research and development. You need that many tubes when you are putting together a huge plant for a huge facility.
Mr. SPRATT. What would you do if you were given the authority to write the charter for the new inspectors so that they would have maximum effectiveness?
Dr. HAMZA. That is what I did. That is, ask for the scientists out in a neutral territory and talk to them without minders. Iraq never allowed inspectors in the best of time to talk to the scientists without minders. And, as such, all the information extracted was defective.
Mr. SPRATT. What if they were authorized to take the scientists out of country, noncoercively but take them out of country for questioning and interrogation?
Dr. HAMZA. That happened once, but Iraq suggested which scientists go in 1993. They went to Vienna. Iraq sent three scientists. They were all party members. They were all loyal such and such. They were not the top scientists and the real active ones. They went to Vienna. The inspectors got nothing out of them and they went back. This is not the kind of debriefing I am talking about. It is actually—because now there is much better information on who did what inside Iraq. I mean the U.S. and the international atomic energy know in detail who did what in Iraq and they can precisely say who they want and who is important to talk to.
Mr. SPRATT. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'll try to be brief so that others can ask questions. But, Dr. Hamza, I am curious as to what the thinking process was when-around the lab or around the facilities. What were you told or what did you discuss among yourself was the reason for developing what you were doing, the nuclear program or any other weapons of mass destruction?
What was the reasoning given for doing this and focusing on this particular type of program?
Dr. HAMZA. I detail this in my book. The initial impetus for the whole nuclear enterprise in Iraq was a book by Paul Jarda, an American, called “The Israeli Bomb." And, the book states that Israel, within a decade or two, will have something like 200 nuclear weapons. When I went to Iraq in 1970, everybody was talking about that book. And, there were 50 copies of it in the atomic energy library. Saddam read it, and within a year we got his envoys asking us what to do.
So, the whole thing started as a strategic matter with Israel. Israel has three population centers, so the program was designed initially to produce something like three, four nuclear weapons. So, the reactor, which we bought from France, was more or less enough to do that within, say, a decade. So, it is very-it started as a very basic, a very simple weapon program with no large scale production in mind, just a few nuclear weapons, and that is that, just to counterbalance Israel.
If, some day, we sit around a table with Israel, we have a card in our hands. Then the Iraqi-Iran War started and, thus, Saddam panicked and then he wanted a large arsenal to counter the Iranian hordes, who were coming into Iraq in droves and there was no stopping them. Later on, he found out that he can stop them with chemical weapons. But, all the same, the program was redirected into a larger scale of production possibly. But, the orders we got initially in 1982 is to design a program that could produce up to six nuclear weapons a year. That is a huge program by Iraq, by any small country standard.
So, that is why the diffusion. We went into diffusion and later into centrifuge, which are a larger scale of production than the reactor. The reactor is difficult to duplicate. It limits you by its size. When you make a centrifuge, it is up to your capacity on how many centrifuges you want to make. You make a factory to manufacture centrifuges, and as many you make, as much as you get more product. So a product is not limited in an enrichment facility as it is in our Riyadh facility. That is why we switched later after the Israelis bombed the reactor, the Saudis offered to buy us another one. Saddam accepted the offer in principle, took the money and switched it to an enrichment facility.
So, enrichment is the Pakistani now what they chose and the new choice for this kind of program, and it would give Iraq-Iraq no longer wants two, three nuclear weapons. That is why I don't think Iraq is very aggressive even after I left. I left in 1994.
I don't think Irag is very aggressive in trying to purchase this. I think Iraq is aggressive in trying to get enough equipment to produce it locally because this is the long-range prospect of having enough arsenal and a credible deterrence for Iraq for the region to be living under the immunity of this umbrella to do what it wants.
To go more into terrorism, use its other options of chemical and biological weapons, menace the region. Do what it wants with total immunity. To do that it needs several nuclear weapons and a credible deterrence for its system.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.