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Mr. RODRIGUEZ. Thank you for testifying before us and thank you for your testimony and thank you for the work for our country. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. And it is clear, that despite the fact that we are all running for reelection, Doctor Kay and Doctor Spertzel aren't. We appreciate your candid remarks today.
Mr. KIRK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think I am the only Member of Congress here who flew against the Iraqis in 2000. What we saw was a dramatically upgraded Iraqi defense. And in 1998, when my squadron flew against them, we saw a very limited ability to reach our altitudes. And by the time I was up against them in April of 2000, we had lead all over our altitude, new surface-to-air missiles. Around the intel shed, we said Iraq was back. We could feel it. We could see it at our altitudes.
I have been in the intelligence community for quite a while. I didn't know that we had missed the target so badly. You describe 40,000 employees we didn't know about, a $10 billion program and 24 sites unhit by Operation Desert Storm. It sort of describes to me a nuclear Pearl Harbor in which the intelligence community simply didn't get it. So, let's assume that if we can miss 40,000 employees, $10 billion, and 24 sites, we could miss 40 kilograms of fissile material.
Tell me again, if the Iraqis had 40 kilograms of fissile material, what is your estimate of the time to a workable weapon?
Dr. Kay. If it were a fissile material that is in a final stage, assuming it is highly enriched uranium, ready to work, six months to using their initial device design, to have a single device that would work. Actually with 40, they could probably have two devices that would work. It would be roughly of the power-depends on how they do it-roughly of the power of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there again, there are some physics things that affect that. But believe me, if you are underneath it, the difference between 10 kilotons and 17 kilotons is largely theoretical.
Mr. KIRK. Thank you. My understanding is in September of 2000, Saddam Hussein gave a speech in which he called on his nuclear mujahedeen to defeat the West. He also modified the Czech L-29 aircraft to be an unmanned aerial vehicle. I hate to be direct here, but you have been. Can you tell me how many people say a 1,000-foot air burst of that crude weapon would be in an L-29, if it made it over Tel Aviv, how many people would be killed?
Dr. Kay. Well, if you managed to get a weapon of that size over Tel Aviv at about 1,000 feet, you said, for the air burst, you probably would be looking at prompt casualties—this is, from the immediate radiation over pressure fire-I used to do these things on a circular slide rule with a little bit more precision as I have gotten older—I would guess you are probably talking about somewhere on the order of between—and you understand, it depends on is it a clear day or a cloudy day, all of these things affect it-probably 50,000 reasonably prompt deaths. Could be much larger, depending on a couple of things.
Mr. KIRK. But 50,000 Israelis, basically.
Mr. KIRK. You talked about these states being small states and not being able to hang together with casualties of that nature. It would seem that Israel could be one of those states that wouldn't hang together, suffering.
Dr. KAY. Actually, I would have more confidence that Israel would hang together, at least for longer than I would other states in the region which, trying to be a diplomat, maybe I won't name.
Mr. KIRK. Has Scott Ritter gone crazy?
Dr. Kay. Fortunately, I avoided psychology as a profession. You know, I have given you the only explanation that you have got to think about. Either he lied to you or he is lying now. I don't know which. I don't know why.
Mr. KIRK. He told CNN that the Iraqis were not involved in a weapons of mass destruction program and had no intention. And yet the Iraqis in July of 1995 said that they had produced 19,000 liters of botulism, 84,000 liters of anthrax, 2,000 liters of aflatoxin, clostridium and ricin, had built 166 biological bombs, 25 missile warheads, and had 86 declared biological sites. But according to Mr. Ritter, that is not being involved in a weapons of mass destruction program.
Dr. Kay. That is true, and he has become an expert on nuclear, too. He is, you know, he is—I am as puzzled and upset as you are, Mr. Kirk.
Mr. KIRK. Now we have managed to you managed to help dismantle one biological site at Al Hakam, right? But the inspections, I am told, officially ended in 1997 really.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Effectively. Inspectors were still there to December of 1998, but effectively, we were marching to Iraq's tune from October of 1997 onward.
Mr. KIRK. We have had four years without inspections. I understand we have information that a defector from the Mutana state enterprise says there are several mobile factories
Mr. HUNTER. Will the gentleman suspend?
Mr. HUNTER. We may have some classified areas that the gentleman is moving into.
Mr. KIRK. This is in the New York Times material that the committee gave me.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Let me comment on it. Mr. HUNTER. Gentlemen, we just had a classified briefing in which some of that information has been discussed. If the gentleman wants to quote a
Mr. KIRK. I am quoting directly from the New York Times article that the committee staff gave us. According to the New York Times and what I am exclusively using is the New York Timesthat we have mobile nerve gas factories, microtoxin, bacterial toxin, and an anticrop toxin. In your estimation, would that be available?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Yeah. I am not sure why they would have selected some of those agents. But the first-we actually had, in perhaps a weak moment by General Omar Asadi, when we were pressing him as to when Iraq-when Al Hakam was conceived, and he said that there was a delay because he first asked the bio group to consider mobile laboratories. We also know that Iraq actually imported a couple fully functional mobile labs. I don't know what was inside them in the mid-eighties. I think it was 1988, 1987, or 1988. Iraq was using mobile-filling laboratories, if you would like, or mobile, mounted on vans, for filling chemical agents.
Mr. KIRK. And a mobile lab would be harder to find.
Mr. KIRK. Well, I have worked with Doctor Christine Gosden, leading scientist in Britain, which is probably why Prime Minister Blair is so adamant on this. She documents 250 uses of chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein. Is that about your understanding?
Dr. SPERTZEL. That is—we would be comfortable, yes.
Mr. KIRK. And my colleague talked about how he does not have a weapon capable of reaching the Continental United States. But in your estimation, does he have a weapon able to reach the thousands of Americans stationed at Prince Sultan Air Base, Incirlik Air Base, or any Israeli city?
Dr. SPERTZEL. No. I don't think there is any question about that. The-inside-on the bases that are to the south, southeast of Iraq, because of the prevailing wind conditions, an airplane flying inside the Iraqi border, low altitude, releasing the biological agent, could have a devastating effect as far south as Yemen or Oman.
Mr. KIRK. Which would include the American personnel at Prince Sultan Air Base.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Absolutely. And that is with equipment that they have now. They produced them. They successfully tested it in 1988. They turned over to us the earlier version, the developmental model, but not the final one that was tested.
Mr. KIRK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Appreciate the gentleman's comments. Ms. Tauscher.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Kay, Dr. Spertzel, thank you for your hard work. After the U.N. passed Resolution 687, you had a lot of success for a number of years.
Dr. KAY. And a lot of frustration. Yes, both.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. And a lot of frustration. But somewhere toward the middle of the nineties, Iraq's appeasers on the Security Council—China, Russia, and France-began to dissemble the resolution and effectively nullified all of the hard work that you did by putting up every barrier and obstacle that you could find. And nothing has really changed, has it, except that the President is going to the United Nations on Thursday. And obviously, in the context of the post-September 11 environment, what I find fascinating, and what I hope the President will talk about is that the President was very clear on the evening of September 11 and certainly on the day of September 12 about the definition of being an ally of the United States and on being on the side of good and evil. And I think, that he has got to put specifically the Security Council members—Russia, China and France—their feet to the fire and ask them how they can honestly expect us, one year after this terrible tragedy, as they continue to appease and continue to allow Saddam Hussein to do clearly what everyone recognizes that he does-nobody is going to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize, nobody is going to invite him to join their country club, no one says he is a good guy, everybody knows he is a bad guy. We all know that. We wish the actuarial tables would take over and rid him of being head of the regime. But clearly he is a lucky guy when it comes to that.
But isn't this really about the fact that we are standing alonewith perhaps Great Britain at our side and some of our lesser allies—because he is standing on an oil field; and that we are the sole superpower, and that we have got allies who have, you know, warmed up to us in the post-September 11 environment and said some nice things and maybe done some nice things, but when push comes to shove and when it comes to the second-most-wanted man in the world, Saddam Hussein, because clearly we have a war on terrorism and the most-wanted man is still, I think, Osama Bin Laden. But when it comes to standing with us on what is clearly in the best interest of all of our allies, and frankly the world community, of getting rid of a guy that we know, once he has the power and capability will use these weapons in a very negative way against the world community, they have chosen oil and appeasement over us. Isn't that true?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Let me comment to this extent. There is no question that Iraq is sitting on what may be, or what some estimates have given, as the
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Richest.
Mr. SPERTZEL. -richest oil field in the world, currently unexplored. It has also been stated as early as 1996 that France, or French companies, had signed leases, at least six, to exploit those oil fields. And I have seen recently where Russia companies have also signed a number of leases also to exploit the same oil field. It is also worth recalling that up until March of this past year, that France was the leading trading partner of Iraq. And I said "was until March.” they were supplanted at that point in time by Russia. And that indeed is a big economic incentive. And whether that is what is driving their position, I can't say. But, the suggestive information is there.
Saddam is known for exploiting economic interests in the region and around the world. His awarding the contracts under the oil-forfood is based not on the quality of the product, not on necessarily the needs, but who his friends are. He lets that be known. And that is how he has been gaining friends around the world. So to that extent, yes, he is exploiting it and he is very, very good at it.
I do want to add one other comment on here. The issue is not Saddam, because if he died tomorrow you wouldn't see a change.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Right.
Dr. SPERTZEL. There is an inner-core there that not very kindly, I liken to an inner-city street gang, run by a chief or a head who is absolutely and totally amoral and ruthless, but if something happens to that chief, there is somebody else to step in. And that, I think, describes appropriately the situation today in Iraq.
Dr. Kay. I think I have just discovered a difference with Dick Spertzel, my friend. As a physicist, I would prefer to run the experiment. I would actually like to see him dead tomorrow and let's see what the results were. But basically, you know, I agree.
Let me—you know, that is a very tough question and it is at the heart of what we have tried to get at. One thing that made the early inspections so extraordinarily successful as opposed to later problems that developed in the mid nineties was this united Security Council. And it is easy to focus on the economic incentives of the French and others that had—and I certainly have done that in some writing. But I also think we forget the very special time that 1991 was. Ā, Saddam had attacked an Arab state. I mean, it is sometimes good to have a stupid opponent. I probably shouldn't have to tell you this. Some of you may have benefited from it. And a stupid opponent is sometimes as good as being good in helping. Second, it was at the end of the Cold War in which there was an era of feeling things had changed.
I remember I had a private meeting with the Security Council with only interpreters and assistants available—when I came back from the parking lot. The first two states to compliment me on the behavior of the time were Yemen and Cuba, neither known for being personally good friends of myself or—and I have no relatives in either or of the United States. It was that period of feeling.
It was also a period in which Russia, certainly in 1992 and 1993, Russia could be coerced or bribed into good behavior. It was a period in which Iran was marginalized. A lot of things changed in the mid-nineties. And the memory of what Saddam had done faded for a lot, compared to other things.
So I think some of our allies—I think economics is a huge interpretive factor. But we also have to say we probably didn't do a very good job of explaining the threat, and we took too long. Saddam knew—and this goes to the argument of time on his side Saddam knew, and we knew, if he strung out the inspections long enough, eventually people would get tired.
The second time I came back from Iraq, I was in an elevator in New York in the Secretariat Building. Someone I didn't know cornered me in the elevator and said, you are responsible for children and women dying in Iraq. Her job was, in fact-and a very important job—taking care of feeding children and women around the world. And I tried to explain, “no, that was Saddam;" and she said, "no, because of you, the sanctions are continuing." We did a very poor job of explaining and allowing Saddam to manipulate that. And that had impact among some of our European allies.
It is a complicated issue but the important thing is what you started with. As long as the council is divided, inspections will never be effective.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Well I hope that when the President goes to the U.N. on Thursday that he is prepared to take them to George Bush's woodshed, because it was very, very easy for most people to be supportive of the American people after the catastrophic attacks of a year ago. It was a no-brainer there almost. It was very clear that we were unwarrantedly attacked without provocation, that many thousands of people died, innocent civilians just going to work in the morning.
But I think the President should move toward making sure that people understand that we need them with us when it is not so easy and when it maybe takes a few minutes to think through the problem. And if you are not with us on this one, if you are not with us, understanding that we cannot as a peaceful world allow a man with this kind of record, a three-time loser, to have these kinds of weapons and expect that he is going to—what, not use them—then