'[W]e are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war', Testimony by David Kay, Iraq Survey Group, October 2
'Statement by David Kay on the Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence', October 2, 2003.
...I cannot emphasize too strongly that the Interim Progress Report, which has been made available to you, is a snapshot, in the context of an on-going investigation, of where we are after our first three months of work. The report does not represent a final reckoning of Iraq's WMD programs, nor are we at the point where we are prepared to close the file on any of these programs. While solid progress - I would say even remarkable progress considering the conditions that the ISG has had to work under - has been made in this initial period of operations, much remains to be done. We are still very much in the collection and analysis mode, still seeking the information and evidence that will allow us to confidently draw comprehensive conclusions to the actual objectives, scope, and dimensions of Iraq's WMD activities at the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Iraq's WMD programs spanned more than two decades, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars, and were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The very scale of this program when coupled with the conditions in Iraq that have prevailed since the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom dictate the speed at which we can move to a comprehensive understanding of Iraq's WMD activities.
We need to recall that in the 1991-2003 period the intelligence community and the UN/IAEA inspectors had to draw conclusions as to the status of Iraq's WMD program in the face of incomplete, and often false, data supplied by Iraq or data collected either by UN/IAEA inspectors operating within the severe constraints that Iraqi security and deception actions imposed or by national intelligence collection systems with their own inherent limitations. The result was that our understanding of the status of Iraq's WMD program was always bounded by large uncertainties and had to be heavily caveated. With the regime of Saddam Husayn at an end, ISG has the opportunity for the first time of drawing together all the evidence that can still be found in Iraq - much evidence is irretrievably lost - to reach definitive conclusions concerning the true state of Iraq's WMD program. It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions and, in some areas, we may never reach that goal. The unique nature of this opportunity, however, requires that we take great care to ensure that the conclusions we draw reflect the truth to the maximum extent possible given the conditions in post-conflict Iraq.
We have not yet found stocks of weapons, but we are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone. We are actively engaged in searching for such weapons based on information being supplied to us by Iraqis.
Why are we having such difficulty in finding weapons or in reaching a confident conclusion that they do not exist or that they once existed but have been removed? Our search efforts are being hindered by six principal factors:
What have we found and what have we not found in the first 3 months of our work?
We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:
In addition to the discovery of extensive concealment efforts, we have been faced with a systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence - hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use - are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts. For example,
I would now like to review our efforts in each of the major lines of enquiry that ISG has pursued during this initial phase of its work.
With regard to biological warfare activities, which has been one of our two initial areas of focus, ISG teams are uncovering significant information - including research and development of BW-applicable organisms, the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) in possible BW activities, and deliberate concealment activities. All of this suggests Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of BW agents.
Debriefings of IIS officials and site visits have begun to unravel a clandestine network of laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus. This network was never declared to the UN and was previously unknown. We are still working on determining the extent to which this network was tied to large-scale military efforts or BW terror weapons, but this clandestine capability was suitable for preserving BW expertise, BW capable facilities and continuing R&D - all key elements for maintaining a capability for resuming BW production. The IIS also played a prominent role in sponsoring students for overseas graduate studies in the biological sciences, according to Iraqi scientists and IIS sources, providing an important avenue for furthering BW-applicable research. This was the only area of graduate work that the IIS appeared to sponsor.
Discussions with Iraqi scientists uncovered agent R&D work that paired overt work with nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited investigation with pathogenic agents. Examples include: B. Thurengiensis (Bt) with B. anthracis (anthrax), and medicinal plants with ricin. In a similar vein, two key former BW scientists, confirmed that Iraq under the guise of legitimate activity developed refinements of processes and products relevant to BW agents. The scientists discussed the development of improved, simplified fermentation and spray drying capabilities for the simulant Bt that would have been directly applicable to anthrax, and one scientist confirmed that the production line for Bt could be switched to produce anthrax in one week if the seed stock were available.
A very large body of information has been developed through debriefings, site visits, and exploitation of captured Iraqi documents that confirms that Iraq concealed equipment and materials from UN inspectors when they returned in 2002. One noteworthy example is a collection of reference strains that ought to have been declared to the UN. Among them was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced. This discovery - hidden in the home of a BW scientist - illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons. The scientist who concealed the vials containing this agent has identified a large cache of agents that he was asked, but refused, to conceal. ISG is actively searching for this second cache.
Additional information is beginning to corroborate reporting since 1996 about human testing activities using chemical and biological substances, but progress in this area is slow given the concern of knowledgeable Iraqi personnel about their being prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile BW production effort. Investigation into the origin of and intended use for the two trailers found in northern Iraq in April has yielded a number of explanations, including hydrogen, missile propellant, and BW production, but technical limitations would prevent any of these processes from being ideally suited to these trailers. That said, nothing we have discovered rules out their potential use in BW production.
We have made significant progress in identifying and locating individuals who were reportedly involved in a mobile program, and we are confident that we will be able to get an answer to the questions as to whether there was a mobile program and whether the trailers that have been discovered so far were part of such a program.
Let me turn now to chemical weapons (CW). In searching for retained stocks of chemical munitions, ISG has had to contend with the almost unbelievable scale of Iraq's conventional weapons armory, which dwarfs by orders of magnitude the physical size of any conceivable stock of chemical weapons. For example, there are approximately 130 known Iraqi Ammunition Storage Points (ASP), many of which exceed 50 square miles in size and hold an estimated 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs and other ordinance. Of these 130 ASPs, approximately 120 still remain unexamined. As Iraqi practice was not to mark much of their chemical ordinance and to store it at the same ASPs that held conventional rounds, the size of the required search effort is enormous.
While searching for retained weapons, ISG teams have developed multiple sources that indicate that Iraq explored the possibility of CW production in recent years, possibly as late as 2003. When Saddam had asked a senior military official in either 2001 or 2002 how long it would take to produce new chemical agent and weapons, he told ISG that after he consulted with CW experts in OMI he responded it would take six months for mustard. Another senior Iraqi chemical weapons expert in responding to a request in mid-2002 from Uday Husayn for CW for the Fedayeen Saddam estimated that it would take two months to produce mustard and two years for Sarin.
We are starting to survey parts of Iraq's chemical industry to determine if suitable equipment and bulk chemicals were available for chemical weapons production. We have been struck that two senior Iraqi officials volunteered that if they had been ordered to resume CW production Iraq would have been willing to use stainless steel systems that would be disposed of after a few production runs, in place of corrosive-resistant equipment which they did not have.
We continue to follow leads on Iraq's acquisition of equipment and bulk precursors suitable for a CW program. Several possibilities have emerged and are now being exploited. One example involves a foreign company with offices in Baghdad, that imported in the past into Iraq dual-use equipment and maintained active contracts through 2002. Its Baghdad office was found looted in August 2003, but we are pursuing other locations and associates of the company.
Information obtained since OIF has identified several key areas in which Iraq may have engaged in proscribed or undeclared activity since 1991, including research on a possible VX stabilizer, research and development for CW-capable munitions, and procurement/concealment of dual-use materials and equipment.
Multiple sources with varied access and reliability have told ISG that Iraq did not have a large, ongoing, centrally controlled CW program after 1991. Information found to date suggests that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new CW munitions was reduced - if not entirely destroyed - during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions and UN inspections. We are carefully examining dual-use, commercial chemical facilities to determine whether these were used or planned as alternative production sites.
We have also acquired information related to Iraq's CW doctrine and Iraq's war plans for OIF, but we have not yet found evidence to confirm pre-war reporting that Iraqi military units were prepared to use CW against Coalition forces. Our efforts to collect and exploit intelligence on Iraq's chemical weapons program have thus far yielded little reliable information on post-1991 CW stocks and CW agent production, although we continue to receive and follow leads related to such stocks. We have multiple reports that Iraq retained CW munitions made prior to 1991, possibly including mustard - a long-lasting chemical agent - but we have to date been unable to locate any such munitions.
With regard to Iraq's nuclear program, the testimony we have obtained from Iraqi scientists and senior government officials should clear up any doubts about whether Saddam still wanted to obtain nuclear weapons. They have told ISG that Saddam Husayn remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons. These officials assert that Saddam would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point. Some indicated a resumption after Iraq was free of sanctions. At least one senior Iraqi official believed that by 2000 Saddam had run out of patience with waiting for sanctions to end and wanted to restart the nuclear program. The Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) beginning around 1999 expanded its laboratories and research activities and increased its overall funding levels. This expansion may have been in initial preparation for renewed nuclear weapons research, although documentary evidence of this has not been found, and this is the subject of continuing investigation by ISG.
Starting around 2000, the senior Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) and high-level Ba'ath Party official Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Sa'id began several small and relatively unsophisticated research initiatives that could be applied to nuclear weapons development. These initiatives did not in-and-of themselves constitute a resumption of the nuclear weapons program, but could have been useful in developing a weapons-relevant science base for the long-term. We do not yet have information indicating whether a higher government authority directed Sa'id to initiate this research and, regretfully, Dr. Said was killed on April 8th during the fall of Baghdad when the car he was riding in attempted to run a Coalition roadblock.
Despite evidence of Saddam's continued ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material. However, Iraq did take steps to preserve some technological capability from the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.
The ISG nuclear team has found indications that there was interest, beginning in 2002, in reconstituting a centrifuge enrichment program. Most of this activity centered on activities of Dr. Sa'id that caused some of his former colleagues in the pre-1991 nuclear program to suspect that Dr. Sa'id, at least, was considering a restart of the centrifuge program. We do not yet fully understand Iraqi intentions, and the evidence does not tie any activity directly to centrifuge research or development.
Exploitation of additional documents may shed light on the projects and program plans of Dr. Khalid Ibrahim Sa'id. There may be more projects to be discovered in research placed at universities and private companies. Iraqi interest in reconstitution of a uranium enrichment program needs to be better understood through the analysis of procurement records and additional interviews.
With regard to delivery systems, the ISG team has discovered sufficient evidence to date to conclude that the Iraqi regime was committed to delivery system improvements that would have, if OIF had not occurred, dramatically breached UN restrictions placed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War.
Detainees and co-operative sources indicate that beginning in 2000 Saddam ordered the development of ballistic missiles with ranges of at least 400km and up to 1000km and that measures to conceal these projects from UNMOVIC were initiated in late-2002, ahead of the arrival of inspectors. Work was also underway for a clustered engine liquid propellant missile, and it appears the work had progressed to a point to support initial prototype production of some parts and assemblies. According to a cooperating senior detainee, Saddam concluded that the proposals from both the liquid-propellant and solid-propellant missile design centers would take too long. For instance, the liquid-propellant missile project team forecast first delivery in six years. Saddam countered in 2000 that he wanted the missile designed and built inside of six months. On the other hand several sources contend that Saddam's range requirements for the missiles grew from 400-500km in 2000 to 600-1000km in 2002.
ISG has gathered testimony from missile designers at Al Kindi State Company that Iraq has reinitiated work on converting SA-2 Surface-to-Air Missiles into ballistic missiles with a range goal of about 250km. Engineering work was reportedly underway in early 2003, despite the presence of UNMOVIC. This program was not declared to the UN. ISG is presently seeking additional confirmation and details on this project. A second cooperative source has stated that the program actually began in 2001, but that it received added impetus in the run-up to OIF, and that missiles from this project were transferred to a facility north of Baghdad. This source also provided documentary evidence of instructions to convert SA-2s into surface-to-surface missiles.
ISG has obtained testimony from both detainees and cooperative sources that indicate that proscribed-range solid-propellant missile design studies were initiated, or already underway, at the time when work on the clustered liquid-propellant missile designs began. The motor diameter was to be 800 to 1000mm, i.e. much greater than the 500-mm Ababil-100. The range goals cited for this system vary from over 400km up to 1000km, depending on the source and the payload mass.
A cooperative source, involved in the 2001-2002 deliberations on the long-range solid propellant project, provided ISG with a set of concept designs for a launcher designed to accommodate a 1m diameter by 9m length missile. The limited detail in the drawings suggest there was some way to go before launcher fabrication. The source believes that these drawings would not have been requested until the missile progress was relatively advanced, normally beyond the design state. The drawing are in CAD format, with files dated 09/01/02.
While we have obtained enough information to make us confident that this design effort was underway, we are not yet confident which accounts of the timeline and project progress are accurate and are now seeking to better understand this program and its actual progress at the time of OIF.
One cooperative source has said that he suspected that the new large-diameter solid-propellant missile was intended to have a CW-filled warhead, but no detainee has admitted any actual knowledge of plans for unconventional warheads for any current or planned ballistic missile. The suspicion expressed by the one source about a CW warhead was based on his assessment of the unavailability of nuclear warheads and potential survivability problems of biological warfare agent in ballistic missile warheads. This is an area of great interest and we are seeking additional information on warhead designs.
While I have spoken so far of planned missile systems, one high-level detainee has recently claimed that Iraq retained a small quantity of Scud-variant missiles until at least 2001, although he subsequently recanted these claims, work continues to determine the truth. Two other sources contend that Iraq continued to produce until 2001 liquid fuel and oxidizer specific to Scud-type systems. The cooperating source claims that the al Tariq Factory was used to manufacture Scud oxidizer (IRFNA) from 1996 to 2001, and that nitrogen tetroxide, a chief ingredient of IRFNA was collected from a bleed port on the production equipment, was reserved, and then mixed with highly concentrated nitric acid plus an inhibitor to produce Scud oxidizer. Iraq never declared its pre-Gulf War capability to manufacture Scud IRFNA out of fear, multiple sources have stated, that the al Tariq Factory would be destroyed, leaving Baghdad without the ability to produce highly concentrated nitric acid, explosives and munitions. To date we have not discovered documentary or material evidence to corroborate these claims, but continued efforts are underway to clarify and confirm this information with additional Iraqi sources and to locate corroborating physical evidence. If we can confirm that the fuel was produced as late as 2001, and given that Scud fuel can only be used in Scud-variant missiles, we will have strong evidence that the missiles must have been retained until that date. This would, of course, be yet another example of a failure to declare prohibited activities to the UN.
Iraq was continuing to develop a variety of UAV platforms and maintained two UAV programs that were working in parallel, one at Ibn Fernas and one at al-Rashid Air Force Base. Ibn Fernas worked on the development of smaller, more traditional types of UAVs in addition to the conversion of manned aircraft into UAVs. This program was not declared to the UN until the 2002 CAFCD in which Iraq declared the RPV-20, RPV-30 and Pigeon RPV systems to the UN. All these systems had declared ranges of less than 150km. Several Iraqi officials stated that the RPV-20 flew over 500km on autopilot in 2002, contradicting Iraq's declaration on the system's range. The al-Rashid group was developing a competing line of UAVs. This program was never fully declared to the UN and is the subject of on-going work by ISG. Additional work is also focusing on the payloads and intended use for these UAVs. Surveillance and use as decoys are uses mentioned by some of those interviewed. Given Iraq's interest before the Gulf War in attempting to convert a MIG-21 into an unmanned aerial vehicle to carry spray tanks capable of dispensing chemical or biological agents, attention is being paid to whether any of the newer generation of UAVs were intended to have a similar purpose. This remains an open question.
ISG has discovered evidence of two primary cruise missile programs. The first appears to have been successfully implemented, whereas the second had not yet reached maturity at the time of OIF.
The first involved upgrades to the HY-2 coastal-defense cruise missile. ISG has developed multiple sources of testimony, which is corroborated in part by a captured document, that Iraq undertook a program aimed at increasing the HY-2's range and permitting its use as a land-attack missile. These efforts extended the HY-2's range from its original 100km to 150-180km. Ten modified missiles were delivered to the military prior to OIF and two of these were fired from Umm Qasr during OIF - one was shot down and one hit Kuwait.
The second program, called the Jenin, was a much more ambitious effort to convert the HY-2 into a 1000km range land-attack cruise missile. The Jenin concept was presented to Saddam on 23 November 2001 and received what cooperative sources called an "unusually quick response" in little more than a week. The essence of the concept was to take an HY-2, strip it of its liquid rocket engine, and put in its place a turbine engine from a Russian helicopter - the TV-2-117 or TV3-117 from a Mi-8 or Mi-17helicopter. To prevent discovery by the UN, Iraq halted engine development and testing and disassembled the test stand in late 2002 before the design criteria had been met.
In addition to the activities detailed here on Iraq's attempts to develop delivery systems beyond the permitted UN 150km, ISG has also developed information on Iraqi attempts to purchase proscribed missiles and missile technology. Documents found by ISG describe a high level dialogue between Iraq and North Korea that began in December 1999 and included an October 2000 meeting in Baghdad. These documents indicate Iraqi interest in the transfer of technology for surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 1300km (probably No Dong) and land-to-sea missiles with a range of 300km. The document quotes the North Koreans as understanding the limitations imposed by the UN, but being prepared "to cooperate with Iraq on the items it specified". At the time of OIF, these discussions had not led to any missiles being transferred to Iraq. A high level cooperating source has reported that in late 2002 at Saddam's behest a delegation of Iraqi officials was sent to meet with foreign export companies, including one that dealt with missiles. Iraq was interested in buying an advanced ballistic missile with 270km and 500km ranges.
The ISG has also identified a large volume of material and testimony by cooperating Iraq officials on Iraq's effort to illicitly procure parts and foreign assistance for its missile program. These include:
Uncertainty remains about the full extent of foreign assistance to Iraq's planned expansion of its missile systems and work is continuing to gain a full resolution of this issue. However, there is little doubt from the evidence already gathered that there was substantial illegal procurement for all aspects of the missile programs.
I have covered a lot of ground today, much of it highly technical. Although we are resisting drawing conclusions in this first interim report, a number of things have become clearer already as a result of our investigation, among them:
Let me conclude by returning to something I began with today. We face a unique but challenging opportunity in our efforts to unravel the exact status of Iraq's WMD program. The good news is that we do not have to rely for the first time in over a decade on
The bad news is that we have to do this under conditions that ensure that our work will take time and impose serious physical dangers on those who are asked to carry it out.
Why should we take the time and run the risk to ensure that our conclusions reflect the truth to the maximum extent that is possible given the conditions in post-conflict Iraq? For those of us that are carrying out this search, there are two reasons that drive us to want to complete this effort.
First, whatever we find will probably differ from pre-war intelligence. Empirical reality on the ground is, and has always been, different from intelligence judgments that must be made under serious constraints of time, distance and information. It is, however, only by understanding precisely what those difference are that the quality of future intelligence and investment decisions concerning future intelligence systems can be improved. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is such a continuing threat to global society that learning those lessons has a high imperative.
Second, we have found people, technical information and illicit procurement networks that if allowed to flow to other countries and regions could accelerate global proliferation. Even in the area of actual weapons there is no doubt that Iraq had at one time chemical and biological weapons. Even if there were only a remote possibility that these pre-1991 weapons still exist, we have an obligation to American troops who are now there and the Iraqi population to ensure that none of these remain to be used against them in the ongoing insurgency activity.
Mr. Chairman and Members I appreciate this opportunity to share with you the initial results of the first 3 months of the activities of the Iraqi Survey Group. I am certain that I speak for Major General Keith Dayton, who commands the Iraqi Survey Group, when I say how proud we are of the men and women from across the Government and from our Coalition partners, Australia and the United Kingdom, who have gone to Iraq and are carrying out this important mission...
Source: Central Intelligence Agency website at:
© 2003 The Acronym Institute.