A document leaked by U.S. inspectors presents hard evidence Saddam Hussein could have unleashed biological and chemical weapons on foreign nations “at short notice.”
The report by Charles Duelfer, the new director of the Iraq Survey group, said there is evidence the ousted Iraqi dictator was plotting to expand his facilities last year, before the invasion of British and American troops, the Scotsman reported.
Duelfer presents what he calls “new information” on Saddam’s military build-up, the newspaper said.
“Iraq did have facilities suitable for the production of biological and chemical agents needed for weapons,” Duelfer states. “It had plans to improve and expand and even build new facilities.”
The report refers to new evidence testing was done on long-range ballistic missiles and on a commercial biopesticide, which can be used as anthrax.
Duelfer’s report, which has been sent to Congress, is his first after taking over in February for David Kay.
Critics of the war already have questioned Duelfer’s findings, charging the new inspector has changed the criteria for finding weapons of mass destruction, shifting from hard evidence to signs of “intent.”
The numerous United Nations resolutions passed before the war put the burden of proof on Saddam Hussein to demonstrate he did not have the weapons or the programs.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has challenged the CIA, controller of the survey group, to declassify Duelfer’s entire five-page report, the Scotsman said.
“Mr. Duelfer’s statement,” said Levin, “is written to express the author’s ‘suspicions’ as to Iraq’s activities relating to possible weapons of mass destruction programs or activities while leaving out information in the classified report which points away from his suspicions.”
Duelfer says in his report the survey team’s task is made difficult by the reluctance of former government officials to talk about their role in the weapons programs.
“There is a fear former regime supporters would exact retribution,” the report says.
But the group, it continues, received “intriguing” reports about concealed stockpiles of weapons.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said Monday he believes Saddam had WMD and they’ve fallen into terrorists’ hands, making the threat of terrorism greater now than in the wake of 9-11, Canada’s Sun Media reported.
“The fact is that there is now, we know well, a proliferation of nuclear weapons, and that many weapons that Saddam Hussein had, we don’t know where they are,” Martin told a crowd of about 700 university researchers and business leaders in Montreal. “That means terrorists have access to all of that.”
Martin, with the backing of President Bush, is lobbying the international community to form an informational organization to address world issues such as terrorism.
“I believe that terrorism will be, for our generation, what the Cold War was to generations that preceded us,” he said. “I don’t think we’re out of it yet.”
Martin’s comments on the root of terrorism contrasted with the views of his predecessor, Jean Chretien, who blamed it on poverty.
“The cause of terrorism is not poverty,” Martin said, “it is hatred.”