Kay sheds light on weapons hunt

Posted 12:01pm December 7

by Nell McGarity
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

The former head of the Iraq Survey Group, David Kay, testified last week about his findings in Iraq, mainly that the arsenal that intelligence claimed was there is yet to be found. This public scrutiny of a portion of the Bush administration’s support for invading Iraq has spawned several announcements that transpired earlier this week.

Kay testified on January 28 before the Senate Arms Services Committee that he failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that not only was U.S. intelligence wrong, but so was other leading intelligence agencies.

He testified that while there have no been weapons found, there were still clear violations of U.N. Resolution 1441, which was still reason enough to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

“Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities — one last chance to come clean about what it had,” said Kay. “We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material.”

Kay went on to explain that he did not think that analyst were being pressured to find conclusions that fit political goals, but rather analysts found reasonable conclusions for what they knew at the time. He urged the committee that a panel should be formed to investigate the intelligence failures.

“I think we’ve got other cases other than Iraq. I do not think the problem of global proliferation of weapons technology of mass destruction is going to go away, and that’s why I think it is an urgent issue,” said Kay.

This week, the administration responded to the issue.

Monday, in an interview with The Washington Post, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that had he known that there were no stockpiles of weapons, he is unsure as to whether he would have as broadly supported the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq.

Monday also brought a meeting between Kay and President Bush in the Oval Office, and the announcement that the administration will form a bi-partisan panel to investigate the intelligence failures relating to Iraqi weapons claims as well as CIA information on weapons programs in Iran, Libya and North Korea.

“[The panel] is important and intelligence failures need to be investigated, but Kay’s statements should not be over simplified,” said Robert J. Lieber, a professor of government and foreign affairs at Georgetown University.

“On one hand David Kay’s statements and testimony express his judgment that significant stockpiles have not been discovered,” said Lieber. “But on the other hand it is important not to distort what he said. After all, Kay emphasized that the pre-war estimates were consistent through the world’s leading intelligence agencies.”

Lieber went on to reiterate that Kay did say that the case for Iraq could be made other ways, and that US intelligence was not the only agency that was incorrect, but that a panel was necessary to investigate the failures.

“The panel is necessary and it needs to go forward. I just hope it doesn’t turn out like the Hutton report and be too one sided,” said Donald Daniel, a professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University.

The Hutton Report is the first inquiry into WMD by Tony Blair, which investigated the British intelligence report about Iraqi weapons.

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