October 6, 2004 Wednesday
HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE SUBJECT: DUELFER REPORT ON IRAQI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION PROGRAMS
CHAIRED BY: SENATOR JOHN WARNER (R-VA)
WITNESSES: CHARLES DUELFER, SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE FOR STRATEGY REGARDING IRAQI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION; AND BRIGADIER GENERAL JOSEPH J. MCMENAMIN, USMC, COMMANDER, IRAQ SURVEY GROUP
LOCATION: 216 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Senator Lindsey Graham.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Thank you.
Mr. Duelfer, I have tried put this whole issue in context and see if we can reach some type of sensible conclusions about what we're to draw to from all this.
Let's go back. The starting point, to me, is the use of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein. What kind of weapons are we talking about that he used?
MR. DUELFER: In the Iran-Iraq War in the late '80s, he used chemical weapons, both aerial bombs and artillery rounds.
He used approximately 101,000 chemical munitions. They were mustard rounds, largely, in the case of 155mm artillery shells. There were 122mm rockets with sarin. There was-and aerial bombs.
In the case of the domestic use in Halabja and other cities as well in northern Iraq, it was really the same mix, but they tended to be dropped from helicopters.
The third use was in 1991, and this is where the ISG developed more new information, and that is when the Shi'a were rising up. Again they loaded helicopters with chemical munitions and used it against the Shi'a.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: Were these weapons produced in-house or did he buy this material from someone, or do we know?
MR. DUELFER: Well certainly the weapons were manufactured in Iraq. Obviously-not obviously, but, you know, some components of those weapons and the precursors of the agents were acquired abroad.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: But the actual making of the chemical bombs was done in Iraq; is that correct?
MR. DUELFER: That is correct.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: So at one time he did have a chemical capability within the country?
MR. DUELFER: Oh, absolutely. He had an enormous facility called the Muthanna State Establishment. And there's a long discussion of that particular facility in one of the annexes of the report. I mean, it is a huge facility. I think it's like 5 kilometers by 10 kilometers, with dozens of buildings. It's quite a huge place.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: In 1981 -- am I correct? -- was that the year that the Israelis bombed a nuclear power plant?
MR. DUELFER: That's correct. They-in June of that year they bombed the Osirak reactor.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: Do you believe that was a wise decision on their part?
MR. DUELFER: (Sighs.) Oh. (Pauses.) After that activity, the Iraqis really did-that's when they really went full-bore on a nuclear weapons program. I don't think I have a judgment on that, frankly.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: Well, the only reason I mention it is, was there ever at any time that Saddam Hussein was engaged in trying to acquire a nuclear weapon?
MR. DUELFER: Oh, he certainly was-I mean, he had a very elaborate program. You know, his top weapons designers, you know, freely admit that. They discuss that. The head of the program, Jaafar Jaafar, you know, will tell you, you know, that after being imprisoned and only let out of prison if he agreed to begin a program to run the nuclear weapons program, he did that.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: So what we know thus far from history is that he had chemical weapons within house, he used them on people to survive, and that he was actively procuring nuclear weapons.
Now, was there ever any evidence that he transferred any material to a third country?
MR. DUELFER: (Pause.) I-we have not come across evidence that he transferred WMD materials to a third-well, let me-let me rephrase --
SEN. L. GRAHAM: Group or a country. To anyone.
MR. DUELFER: We have-we have some reports that we're trying to run down, as I mentioned earlier, of material moving out of Iraq just prior to the war. But if your question means was he sharing the wisdom and knowledge that he acquired about WMD, we haven't seen that. But neither has that been a particular emphasis of our investigation.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: But you're still searching out the issue of whether or not he may have moved some weapons material before the war?
MR. DUELFER: That is correct, sir.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: How much-how large a container would you need to hold enough weapons anthrax to kill a hundred thousand people?
MR. DUELFER: Well, if you have dried anthrax and it's properly distributed, it does not take much in terms of dried agent. But you have to be able to deploy it in-you know, there are many scenarios that you can spin out. But if you put it in an aircraft like an agricultural-type of aircraft, you know the-the amount of agent itself is very small. It's something that could-you know, readily fits in a small room. The device that you would-whatever mechanism you choose to disperse this with is another issue itself.
But your point, I think, is that it is a very small amount of space in the biology area. And that is true. It is difficult to find these things.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: Is it also fair to say that on paper there were many weapons unaccounted for, biological and chemical agents unaccounted for, given what we know he had before '91 and the latest inspection efforts?
MR. DUELFER: Your-your term "unaccounted for" is well chosen, because there is much confusion on this point. The U.N.-UNSCOM in particular, but also UNMOVIC-reported that it was unable to verify the disposition of certain weapons. Now, that is different than saying that they exist. And so, we were unable to account for them.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: Well, let's try it one other way.
MR. DUELFER: Yeah.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: The Iraqi government was unable to account for it.
MR. DUELFER: Correct.
SEN. L. GRAHAM: So, in conclusion, we have a very long history of use of weapons, procuring of weapons, on paper unaccounted-for weapons. I think what we need to learn from this, that we were wrong. And as a country we need to find out why we were wrong about some of our assessments. But as a world, I think we need to come to grips with the idea that people like Saddam Hussein had too much opportunity to do too many bad things too long. And we should learn from that, too.