- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Drafts of a report from the top U.S. inspector in Iraq conclude there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but say there are signs that fallen Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had dormant programs he hoped to revive at a later time, according to people familiar with the findings.

In a 1,500-page report, the head of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, will find Saddam was importing banned materials, working on unmanned aerial vehicles in violation of U.N. agreements and maintaining a dual-use industrial sector that could produce weapons.

Mr. Duelfer also says Iraq only had small research and development programs for chemical and biological weapons.

As Mr. Duelfer puts the finishing touches on his report, he concludes Saddam had intentions of restarting weapons programs at some point, after suspicion and inspections from the international community waned.

After a year and a half in Iraq, however, the United States has found no weapons of mass destruction — its chief argument for overthrowing the regime.

An intelligence official said Mr. Duelfer could wrap up the report as soon as this month, but noted it may take time to declassify it. Those who discussed the report inside and outside the government did so on the condition of anonymity.

If the report is released publicly before the Nov. 2 election, Democrats are likely to seize on the document as another opportunity to criticize the Bush administration’s leading argument for war in Iraq and the deteriorating security situation there.

The Duelfer report will come months after the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a scathing assessment of the prewar intelligence on Iraq.

After a yearlong inquiry, the Republican-led committee said in July the CIA kept key information from its own and other agencies’ analysts, engaged in “group think” by failing to challenge the assumption that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and allowed President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to make false statements.


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