Another one bites ye dust

Dr. Robert J. Harley harley at
Mon Aug 25 14:04:26 PDT 2003

Iraqi Drones Not For WMD
Aug. 24, 2003

Huddled over a fleet of abandoned Iraqi drones, U.S. weapons experts
in Baghdad came to one conclusion: Despite the Bush administration's
public assertions, these unmanned aerial vehicles weren't designed to
dispense biological or chemical weapons.

The evidence gathered this summer matched the dissenting views of Air
Force intelligence analysts who argued in a national intelligence
assessment of Iraq before the war that the remotely piloted planes
were unarmed reconnaissance drones.

In building its case for war, senior Bush administration officials had
said Iraq's drones were intended to deliver unconventional weapons.
Secretary of State Colin Powell even raised the alarming prospect that
the pilotless aircraft could sneak into the United States to carry out
poisonous attacks on American cities.

The administration based its view on a Central Intelligence Agency
finding that Iraq had renewed development of sophisticated unmanned
aerial vehicles - UAVs - capable of such attacks.  The Pentagon's
Defense Intelligence Agency also supported this conclusion.

While the hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction - and the
means to deliver them - continues, intelligence and defense officials
said the CIA and DIA stand by their prewar assertions about Iraqi
drone capabilities, some of which Powell highlighted in his Feb. 5
presentation to the U.N. Security Council.

But the Air Force, which controls most of the American military's UAV
fleet, didn't agree with that assessment from the beginning.  And
analysts at the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said the Air Force
view was widely accepted within their ranks as well.

Instead, these analysts believed the drones posed no threat to Iraq's
neighbors or the United States, officials in Washington and scientists
involved in the weapons hunt in Iraq told The Associated Press.


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