Sunday :: Oct 26, 2003

Washington Post Further Discredits Bush's Iraq Nuclear Weapons Claims

by Steve

In what appears to be a coordinated and deliberate attack upon the credibility of the Bush Administration's case for war against Iraq, the latest salvo from the intelligence community was spotlighted today in a Page One Washington Post report from Barton Gellman. Timed perfectly for the Sunday morning chatfests, the 55-paragraph story was obviously not thrown together overnight, and appears to have been ready to go for awhile. Yet its message is clear: the aluminum tubes part of the Powell/Cheney/Rummy/Bush case for war was so inconsequential to the arms investigators this summer that they haven't even bothered to look into it to any great degree since they've been there.

Moreover, some of the key sources for the piece challenging the credibility of the Administration's case for war work for the Iraq Survey Group under hand-picked David Kay, who reports to George Tenet.

According to records made available to The Washington Post and interviews with arms investigators from the United States, Britain and Australia, it did not require a comprehensive survey to find the central assertions of the Bush administration's prewar nuclear case to be insubstantial or untrue. Although Hussein did not relinquish his nuclear ambitions or technical records, investigators said, it is now clear he had no active program to build a weapon, produce its key materials or obtain the technology he needed for either.

Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group, overseen by David Kay as special representative of CIA Director George J. Tenet, are that Iraq's nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use.

Most notably, investigators have judged the aluminum tubes to be "innocuous," according to Australian Brig. Gen. Stephen D. Meekin, who commands the Joint Captured Enemy Materiel Exploitation Center, the largest of a half-dozen units that report to Kay. That finding is pivotal, because the Bush administration built its case on the proposition that Iraq aimed to use those tubes as centrifuge rotors to enrich uranium for the core of a nuclear warhead.

The story goes on to detail how the arms investigators paid little attention to the nuclear weapons program claims of the adminstration, did very little to follow up on likely sources of information on this program, and reveals that inspectors had very little to do in this area.

It's the kind of story that the intelligence community would roll out to further tarnish the Vice President and the rest of the administration, in other words, payback.

Steve :: 11:43 AM :: Comments (0) :: Digg It!