o The task is further complicated by the relatively small size of the objects of the search. Dr. Kay has noted that all of Saddam Hussein’s as yet unaccounted for WMD could be stored in a space the size of a two-car garage. According to former Clinton CIA Director R. James Woolsey, his entire suspected inventory of the biological agent anthrax would fill roughly half a standard semi’s tractor trailer.
Taken together with the assiduous efforts Saddam made to conceal and otherwise to obscure his weapons of mass destruction program (also documented by Dr. Kay and his team), these factors give rise to an ineluctable reality: If the ISG is having a hard time ferreting out the truth about Iraq’s WMD, UN inspectors would likely never have found dispositive evidence of Iraqi WMD given the additional constraints they labored under that no longer apply (notably, those imposed on freedom of travel and inquiry by Saddam’s totalitarian system and the attendant lack of cooperation from Iraqi scientists).
The really bad news in the Kay report are its revelations about the role being played in WMD-related activities by Saddam’s dreaded Iraqi Intelligence Service (known as the IIS, or Mukhabarat). According to Dr. Kay, the Mukhabarat had over two-dozen secret laboratories – and more are still being found – that “at a minimum kept alive Iraq’s capability to produce both biological and chemical weapons.”
In addition to discovering work aimed at weaponizing various deadly diseases, the Iraq Survey Group received from an Iraqi scientist “reference strains” for one of the most lethal substances known to man: Botulinum toxin. In short order, with the right equipment and growth material – items Saddam was able to acquire and retain since they were inherently “dual use” and could also be used for commercial purposes -- such strains could translate into large quantities of biological agents.
Lest we forget, it was this sort of capability that President Bush cited as grounds for war. He warned of the possibility that weapons of mass destruction could be made available to terrorists. It would not take large quantities to inflict immense damage. And it would likely be the Iraqi Intelligence Services, rather than the regular army or even the Republican Guard, who would be responsible for providing such support to the regime’s terrorist proxies. In a little-noted aspect of his recent “Meet the Press” interview, Vice President Richard Cheney for the first time offered official confirmation that Iraqi agents appeared to have played such a catalytic role in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
It is one thing to ignore the facts available, and their ominous implications. It is, however, another thing altogether to pretend that David Kay has shown that there is no danger from Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, when the facts are otherwise, and bothersome indeed.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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