View Full Version : WashPost: Scientists Still Deny Iraqi Arms Programs

Jul 31, 2003, 12:17 PM
link (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5497-2003Jul30.html)

Despite vigorous efforts, the U.S. government has been unsuccessful so far in finding key senior Iraqi scientists to support its prewar claims that former president Saddam Hussein was pursuing an aggressive program to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, according to senior administration officials and members of Congress who have been briefed recently on the subject.

Some scientists have been arrested and held for months, others have made deals in return for information and at least one has agreed to be interviewed outside Iraq.

No matter the circumstances, all of the scientists interviewed have denied that Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program or developed and hidden chemical or biological weapons since United Nations inspectors left in 1998.

The White House, for instance, has cited the case of nuclear scientist Mahdi Obeidi, who recently dug up plans and components for a gas centrifuge that he said he buried in 1991 at the end of the Persian Gulf War. The White House has pointed to the discovery as a sign of Hussein's continuing nuclear ambitions, but Obeidi told his interrogators that Iraq's nuclear program was dormant in the years before war began in March.

The sources said Obeidi also disputed evidence cited by the administration -- namely Iraq's purchase of aluminum tubes that various officials said were for a new centrifuge program to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs. Obeidi said the tubes were for rockets, as Iraq had said before the war.

Amir Saadi, Iraq's 65-year-old chief liaison with United Nations weapons inspectors since last year, has been held incommunicado since his voluntary surrender in Baghdad to U.S. military police more than three months ago, according to his wife, Helma.
Helma Saadi believes he is being kept in solitary confinement, because he said in his letter he was glad to have someone with whom to talk. U.S. sources familiar with the process say Saadi may have knowledge of Hussein's chemical weapons program, and perhaps is being held to give testimony about that. His wife said she suspects her husband is being held out of sight because "he is telling the truth. . . . They have realized there are no weapons of mass destruction and the quagmire they have created. They want to hold someone as a scapegoat."

The United States is still interviewing lower-level Iraqi security and intelligence officials associated with the programs, but the searching of alleged weapons sites has all but halted, officials said.

from what i can tell, there are two people responsible for info of iraq's "recent WMD program":
- chalabi
- judith miller's mysterious man in the baseball cap