- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2003

LONDON (Agence France-Presse) — Outgoing chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has described certain members of the Bush administration as “bastards” who set out to undermine him during his three years at the helm.

In an uncharacteristic outburst to a British newspaper published today, Mr. Blix said:

“I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media. Not that I cared very much.”

In his interview with the London Guardian, Mr. Blix also accused Washington of regarding the United Nations as an “alien power,” which it hoped would sink without a trace.

Asked if he believed he had been the target of a deliberate smear campaign, Mr. Blix told the daily: “Yes, I probably was at a lower level.”

With regard to the way he was treated over weapons inspections in Iraq, Mr. Blix said:

“By and large my relations with the U.S. were good,” but he claimed that as the war against Iraq loomed, Washington “leaned on” his inspectors to produce more damning language in their reports.

He added that President Bush’s administration was particularly upset that the inspectors did not “make more” of their discovery in Iraq of cluster bombs and drones in the run-up to the U.S.-led war.

Mr. Blix, who retires in three weeks, told the Guardian he is convinced there are people in Mr. Bush’s administration “who say they don’t care if the U.N. sinks under the East River, and other crude things.”

Rather than seeing the United Nations as a collective body of decision-making states, Mr. Blix said Washington viewed it as an “alien power, even if it does hold considerable influence within it.”

Mr. Blix said he “remained agnostic” when asked if he believed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would ever be found in Iraq.

He said the prospect of them being uncovered was passing by “quite fast and instead of talking about [finding] WMD they’re talking about the programs. We know for sure that they did exist … and we cannot exclude [the coalition] may find something.”

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