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ing with. To what do you attribute the gap between what we thought Iraq had, three to five-year program, and what they really had, which was six months to a nuclear weapon.
Dr. HAMZA. It is security, the huge security, which controlled the flow of information out of Iraq. The security was so tight and so brutal, even people who defected did not talk about the program. I heard a man who was in charge of the communication between the tests for the bomb, testing explosives, and the equipment in an underground facility. And, he defected.
And, we were terrified that at the time because security was hovering around us, how did you let him go and everybody was banging us all the time that actually Kamel said that is it. Everybody will know now. And, nobody knew because he didn't talk. He was afraid for his family. So, the security was so tight and so brutal and retribution, that anybody, even those who left, did not talk.
So, in the end, the flow of information is what deceived everybody. For example, during the Gulf War, you bombed only three seriously out of seven sites doing nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapon facility itself, of which this guy ran out, the one I just told you about, the communication engineer. Okay, this is the man who left, he knew this facility. The U.S. did not know about it. They did not bomb it.
So, the main nuclear weapons site was unknown. Three other sites were unknown. Out of seven sites, the U.S. bombed only three seriously and one was hit incidentally. This is control of information. This is security. Human intelligence is just not there. And, when you don't have it, there is no way you can tell what is going on down there.
Mr. HUNTER. What happened to the fissile material that you had at the time of the Gulf War?
Dr. HAMZA. It was French fuel actually, which was bomber grade. And, it was delivered to the inspectors. Some of the roads were chopped for an experimental reason, but—to experiment with extracting the uranium out of it. But most of it was-remained intact and all of it with the chopped pieces was delivered to the inspectors.
Mr. HUNTER. So, what you had at that time was confiscated and that is what set the Iraqi program back again was the war and the interruption of the program and the war.
Dr. HAMZA. Yes. The war and the six months was to make that one weapon. That was the estimate. It is not that a production facility would be on-line, no. It was not six months away. What would be in the six months is one nuclear weapon using the French fuel.
Mr. HUNTER. And, then you would have—the production line to make more weapons would have followed on after that.
Dr. HAMZA. Yeah. That was down the road, something like two, three years.
Mr. HUNTER. Dr. Milhollin, it is a great opportunity to have you here at the same time as Dr. Hamza, because you are able to—we are able to get some insight literally from the inside and also have your analytical capability at hand. What are your-do you have any observations having listened to Dr. Hamza and understand what was going on on the other side of this—of these technology transfers and in any lessons for the United States that you think we should learn from this?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Well, first I would like to say that I believe the reason for the difference in the estimates is that the intelligence community, giving the estimates of three to five years, assumed that the French fuel and some Russian fuel also in Iraq would not be diverted from international safeguards because they were being inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Nr. HUNTER. But, how often were they being inspected?
Dr. HAMZA. Presumably every six months, but that is when it started. After the six months, we immediately got the order to
Mr. HUNTER. So, I mean, what do you have? You have Saddam Hussein's promise that he really, truly is not going to use it for a weapon.
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Well, one of the problems was the IAEA's rules. They had rules for what they called material balance areas. And, if you didn't have enough for a bomb in a particular area, then you didn't have to inspect it as often.
So, we had these inspections every six months because the agency took the position that you shouldn't add all the amounts up in the country. We learned after the war began that, in fact, Iraq had enough material for one bomb, but it was spread out at different locations. But, because of the IAEA rules, they weren't inspecting it every three weeks as they would have to do if it were all in one place.
So, we had a problem with the IAEA's own rules, that was only discovered after the war began. But again, I think the difference for the estimates, the difference in the estimates is the assumption that it would not be the—the material would not be diverted. I think if you asked the CIA how long it would take if the material was subverted, they would have had a different answer.
Dr. HAMZA. I have some comment on this. Actually, it is worse than this. The International Atomic Energy Agency, despite reports in Der Spiegel and other journals about the Germans providing us with the technology for uranium enrichment, declared Iraq to be clean in the area of nuclear weapons. So, the whole structure that was built around a destroyed reactor basically, the French reactor was destroyed and atomic energy kept growing. And, inspectors were there.
Nobody asked “What are these buildings doing here? There is no reactor. What are you working on?” So what was going on is a huge infrastructure built up to make nuclear weapons, and at the same time, the IAEA vouching for Iraq that Iraq is not working on nuclear weapons despite all kinds of reports being in the media about Iraq purchases and Iraq acquisition of nuclear technology, which is meant for nuclear weapons.
Mr. HUNTER. Is there a chance that there is right now an operating centrifuge facility in Iraq that we simply don't know about?
Dr. HAMZA. I believe, yes. I believe Iraq is now in the pilot plant stage for centrifuge production. I mean, it has some several units of centrifuge together. Of course, you need thousands to be in the production stage. But, I believe Iraq has several centrifuges right now in working order. The order for the aluminum tubes indicate that this is past.
Mr. HUNTER. That this is what now?
Dr. HAMZA. That this is done. This is past. What is coming on is a production system, and for the production system, you need a huge number of tubes. But, Iraq is already over the pilot plant stage.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, when you say they are already over the pilot plant stage, you think there is a chance that they may have enough material now to make a bomb?
Dr. HAMZA. No. In the pilot plant stage, you don't get enough material to make a bomb. You get probably few kilograms at most over several years. Pilot plant stage would be something like 50 units operating 20, 30, 40, 50 units. What you need for a bomb is 1,000 and over. Then you can have probably enough for a bomb in a couple of years. Several thousand you will have enough in one year for a bomb.
Mr. HUNTER. Is there any–now you have seen, Dr. Hamza, the discussion about these tubes, and speculation about them. Is there any doubt in your mind but that these tubes were to be used for the nuclear weapons program.
Dr. HAMZA. No. Not with the specifications that we have been hearing about. They are high technology quality, not usually used or intended for use in ordinary, mundane everyday things. These are technologically viable tubes for a nuclear weapon program.
Mr. HUNTER. Did you ever order these tubes yourself?
Dr. HAMZA. No, I am not part of the enrichment until later part. I stayed with the enrichment untill 1985, and then left it and became Advisor to Atomic Energy, and later on worked in the nuclear weapon. Enrichment is another group. But, I was aware of what was going on because I used the output as the head of the nuclear weapon program for a while.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Mr. Milhollin, tell us a little bit about, from your perspective, what is the state of security with respect to technology transfers going to countries like Iraq pre-'91 and post '91? Did we really improve things with respect to the flow of militarily useful technology out of the West?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Well, during the mid and late 1980s, we had a policy of building up Saddam Hussein as a counter to Iran. That policy resulted in sharing intelligence information. It also resulted in directions in effect from the White House to the Commerce Department to facilitate dual-use exports to Iraq. This policy resulted in-I guess, I have to be fair-it resulted in a bending of the rules. Things were being held up because our government knew that they were sensitive, they were going to places that we knew were making missiles, we knew were making nuclear weapons or at least we suspected were making nuclear weapons.
But, political pressure from the White House caused the government to lower the barriers, and this technology went out. That happened in the late 1980s. It is a sad story, but it is, nevertheless, undeniable.
Did we learn anything from this? We did. There was an effort after the Gulf War to increase export controls. We—there was an effort to adopt what is called a catch-all clause, meaning if you know something is going to a nuclear, chemical, biological or advanced_conventional weapon program, you have to apply for a license. But, that was about it. At the same time that the Gulf War taught us that we had had inadequate controls with respect to Iraq, the Cold War was ending.
And so, we had our industry demanding that since the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) was directed at the Soviet empire, and since the Soviet empire was dissolving or had dissolved, that we didn't need COCOM anymore. And, COCOM was the bedrock for Western export controls. So, our government, on the one hand, was deciding that we needed to do better on things like Iraq or countries like Iraq, but on the other hand, was being pressured to reduce export controls to everybody else. So, what we did was, overall we cut the control list so that now we are only controlling about ten percent of what we controlled in 1989.
Mr. HUNTER. In your estimation, is that dangerous?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. I think it is very dangerous. We are just now controlling, because of industry pressure, the very top slice of dual use technology. That is, only the most highly performing machine tools and so forth, whereas you can do a lot with things that operate under those levels.
Mr. HUNTER. That is what, you know, the one thing that struck me when we looked at the nuclear tests in Pakistan and India, and correct me if I am wrong, because you gentlemen are experts. But, I heard a comment from the scientific community, that what kind of surprised us was, they got a lot of the technology right out of the open from the United States, because our people didn't think that anybody would want to make a mid-grade nuclear weapon or a crude nuclear weapon. We all thought that the only thing that would be utilized would be high-end stuff. But, in the end, a lot of the stuff that they used was published information; is that accurate?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. Well, as Mr. Hamza has said, and he is quite right, almost every component of a nuclear weapon is made with dual-use equipment. Very few things in a nuclear weapon require specialized things, specialized equipment that is dedicated to nuclear weapon manufacture.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Now, on that point, let me go to something that is in the EAA or in the proposed EAA. This committee has always required close scrutiny by the Department of Defense. We have got a provision that says that if the Secretary of Defense says that an item doesn't go, it doesn't go.
That has always been opposed by industry, and they give a number of reasons. They say that the Defense Department is too slow, and “We will take care of everything in Commerce.” But, the point is sometimes you need to have some insight into the military application of what ostensibly looks like a commercial technology or a benign technology to know what the real value of that technology is to a weapons system, and sometimes that is an insight that only a Department of Defense expert might have.
So, if you show it to somebody who is from the Department of Commerce, who is used to checking out various grades of flour products, he may not understand, for example, as we didn't understand—I believe it was 1972 when we sold the Bryant grinders to Russia that makes tiny ball bearings. We found out later they used these tiny ball bearings to accurize their SS-18 warheads aimed at the United States. We didn't realize those Bryant grinders had the dual-use of being potentially very dangerous in a military sense.
So, the difference between the Armed Services' version of an export control regime and that that is preferred by other more commerce-minded committees, is we require Department of Defense (DOD) to have scrutiny. So, I guess my question to you is, do you think that that DOD scrutiny will help to discover dual uses for certain technologies where they may not be altogether apparent to other agencies?
Dr. MILHOLLIN. I think that the committee's changes in the bill as it came through were excellent. I think you also have to say to yourself, “Well, is this really a military question, is this a security question, or is it simply a trade question?" If you agree that it is at least as much of a security question as it is a trade question, then I think you have to conclude that you need a security point of view in the decision process; and that means the Secretary of Defense.
Mr. HUNTER. Dr. Hamza, do you have any comment on that?
Dr. HAMZA. It is always in the end the intelligence that will tell you what possible dual-use item will be used by a certain country. Because, for example, for a country like Iraq, many more dual-use items should be restricted than, say, a country like, right now, Egypt. Because, in the end the intelligence angle, that should take care of what is possible and what is the intent right now in that place and how would they use it.
So—but, for example, I give one case. Pakistan came to us with an offer to do the waste disposal system for our petrochemicals very cheaply; and we agreed. They took the contract, went to England and bought maraging steel tubes for use in the centrifuge program based on the Iraqi contract. Now, this is dual-use item, which was bought under false pretenses, which is Iraq. They never sent it to Iraq. They took the first batch to Pakistan. The second batch was good.
So, you have this system in the end, it is a Pakistani company. The British know that Pakistan is doing centrifuge program. Now, they either should have made sure that this goes to Iraq or should not have accepted the Pakistani pretext of using it.
In the end, intelligence is what decides what you are going to do with this.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Milhollin-incidentally, Dr. Snyder, if you have any questions, you just jump right in. We are going to go I have been monologuing here for quite a while and hogging the time. So, go ahead, Dr. Snyder. Take all the time you need.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your lengthy time you put in these hearings the last couple days.
Actually, it is better now that I am talking. Because, before the votes we had a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant sitting in the audience, and they are the closest thing to God I have personally encountered, and I am more relaxed now that he is not here.
I want to ask a question. I had a comment I would like to make about the hearing schedule. My comment, Dr. Hamza, is I was