NYTimes.com Article: Chief of Arms Hunt in Iraq May Be Leaving His Post

geege at barrera.org geege at barrera.org
Thu Dec 18 18:52:21 PST 2003


This article from NYTimes.com 
has been sent to you by geege at barrera.org.


``It's probably time to call it quits,'' said Hans Blix, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, whose teams were given one-third of the time the United States has already spent looking for weapons.

``The U.S. and the U.K. are so wedded to the idea that the Iraqis were hiding things that they are not willing to explore the possibility that they're wrong,'' Blix said.

In October, Congress approved $600 million for the weapons hunt to continue. Kay predicted then that definitive conclusions would be reached within six to nine months -- by spring 2004.

``I just can't understand the figures, given how little they're finding,'' said David Albright, a former weapons inspector, noting the U.N. operation cost far less.

While money is clearly being used for testing equipment, data entry, facilities and transportation, it is also going to big-name U.S. contractors working at Camp Slayer.

Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton, has a large operation at Camp Slayer, running a fueling station, a new dining hall and portable lavatories."

remember how the (self)right(eous) used to throw around the word "accountability" irt the irresponsible actions of the left (ie clinton)?  



geege at barrera.org

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Chief of Arms Hunt in Iraq May Be Leaving His Post

December 18, 2003
 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 



 

Filed at 7:51 p.m. ET 

CAMP SLAYER, Iraq (AP) -- Weapons hunters are spending more
time on base, intelligence experts have been reassigned to
work on the counterinsurgency and the man leading a so-far
unsuccessful search for chemical, biological and nuclear
weapons is thinking of stepping down. 

A nine-month search for the weapons of mass destruction
President Bush said he went to war to destroy has been
conducted by a succession of U.S. teams that have all
failed to find any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.


The lack of evidence has led critics to suggest the Bush
administration either mishandled or exaggerated its
knowledge of Iraq's alleged arsenal. Since the war, White
House officials have at times claimed weapons were found,
or that evidence of programs, rather than actual weapons,
would be enough for them. 

Still, nothing substantive has materialized and after an
exhaustive search, the weapons hunt appears to have slowed.


``For a while this place was really active, but that's
changed in the last month,'' said Charles McKay, a member
of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency who has been
involved in the search since May. 

``Now we're lucky if there's a mission once a week around
here,'' he said at Camp Slayer, the nickname weapons
hunters have given to their base on the grounds of one of
Saddam Hussein's former Baghdad palaces. 

David Kay, a former U.N. weapons inspector, was named by
the CIA in June to lead the search for weapons of mass
destruction. His appointment, and the creation of his
operation, the Iraq Survey Group, was supposed to be the
key to finding the weapons Iraq long denied having. 

Kay returned to the United States last week and on
Thursday, a U.S. intelligence official in Washington said
he was considering quitting his post. Kay did not return an
e-mail message seeking comment and recently turned down a
request for an interview. 

During a visit Wednesday to Kay's headquarters at Camp
Slayer, a senior military officer with the weapons hunt
tried to offer assurances their work was continuing.
``We're still here,'' Roland Mulligan said. 

U.S. intelligence officials in Washington said the search
would continue. New leads could come from the interrogation
of Saddam, who was captured Saturday. 

The weapons hunt is staffed by more than 1,000 intelligence
analysts, interrogators and translators who pore over
documents, investigate suspect sites and conduct interviews
with Iraqis. 

The work hasn't been easy and there was recently a large
staff turnover, those involved with the search said on
condition of anonymity. 

Some people went home and others were reassigned to work on
the counterinsurgency the U.S. military is waging in Iraq,
U.S. officers said. 

Kay's teams have complained about everything from
logistical and transportation problems to an inability to
find and keep track of Iraqi scientists. One top Iraqi
missile maker who was believed to have gone to Iran in May
was actually working the entire time with British military
officers in Iraq. Only recently was he questioned by team
members, he said. 

So far, Kay's teams have talked to hundreds of Iraqis. Some
have been detained, but the overwhelming majority have been
cleared. In many cases, they were rehired for their old
jobs; others will be eligible for U.S. government-funded
projects. 

Currently, fewer than 10 former weapons scientists, with
expertise in biological weapons or missiles, are in custody
for suspected work or knowledge of proscribed programs.
None have led inspectors to any weapons. 

``It's probably time to call it quits,'' said Hans Blix,
the former chief U.N. weapons inspector, whose teams were
given one-third of the time the United States has already
spent looking for weapons. 

``The U.S. and the U.K. are so wedded to the idea that the
Iraqis were hiding things that they are not willing to
explore the possibility that they're wrong,'' Blix said. 

In October, Congress approved $600 million for the weapons
hunt to continue. Kay predicted then that definitive
conclusions would be reached within six to nine months --
by spring 2004. 

``I just can't understand the figures, given how little
they're finding,'' said David Albright, a former weapons
inspector, noting the U.N. operation cost far less. 

While money is clearly being used for testing equipment,
data entry, facilities and transportation, it is also going
to big-name U.S. contractors working at Camp Slayer. 

Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Vice President Dick
Cheney's former company Halliburton, has a large operation
at Camp Slayer, running a fueling station, a new dining
hall and portable lavatories. 

The base, which was bombed out and looted after the war,
was littered with broken glass, unexploded ordnance, and
the remnants of Saddam's regime. There was little
electricity or running water in June. 

Today, it has a volleyball court, a barber shop, a country
store, laundry and alterations services; it is stocked with
sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks the weapons
hunters use to get around. 

Fluor Daniel, a subsidiary of the California-based Fortune
500 company Fluor, is putting in new windows at Camp
Slayer, turning palace suites into office space and helping
repair damage around the grounds. Other subcontractors
include Egyptian and Jordanian engineers and construction
workers. 

------ 

Associated Press Writer John J. Lumpkin contributed to this
report from Washington. 

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Iraq-Weapons-Hunt.html?ex=1072802341&ei=1&en=f2fdffe541c50384


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