Iraq Survey Group

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) released its final report on Iraq's WMD programs on September 30, 2004, refuting all the Bush regime justifications for their illegal invasion.

Final Report

See the September 30, 2004, Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD posted on the CIA website.

Key Findings

  • Iraq Survey Group (ISG) discovered further evidence of the maturity and significance of the pre-1991 Iraqi Nuclear Program but found that Iraq’s ability to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program progressively decayed after that date.
  • Nevertheless, after 1991, Saddam did express his intent to retain the intellectual capital developed during the Iraqi Nuclear Program.
  • Initially, Saddam chose to conceal his nuclear program in its entirety, as he did with Iraq’s BW program. Aggressive UN inspections after Desert Storm forced Saddam to admit the existence of the program and destroy or surrender components of the program.
  • In the wake of Desert Storm, Iraq took steps to conceal key elements of its program and to preserve what it could of the professional capabilities of its nuclear scientific community.
  • As with other WMD areas, Saddam’s ambitions in the nuclear area were secondary to his prime objective of ending UN sanctions.
  • ISG found a limited number of post-1995 activities that would have aided the reconstitution of the nuclear weapons program once sanctions were lifted.

Status Reports

The new chief U.S. weapons inspector for Iraq Charles A. Duelfer, who replaced David A. Kay in January, "told Congress yesterday that no breakthrough has been made in the search for chemical or biological weapons but said new information supports a theory that Saddam Hussein may have been developing an ability to produce them on short notice," according to the March 31, 2004, Washington Times. [1]

Duelfer "told two Senate committees meeting in closed session that he has refocused the work of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) to determine Hussein's intentions. Duelfer said this has included trying to discover what the former Iraqi leader had ordered, whether weapons were hidden and whether there was a plan 'for a breakout production capacity,' according to an unclassified statement Duelfer released to reporters." [2]

Duelfer stated that his task was more difficult because "'some of these decisions may not have been recorded in traditional ways,' and that they 'may have been orally transmitted or conveyed to only a select group, a trusted inner circle.'" [3]

"'The ISG has developed new information regarding Iraq's dual-use facilities and ongoing research suitable for a capability to produce biological or chemical agents on short notice,' Duelfer said in the statement." However, the Post reports that "The statement provided little information to back up that position." [4]

On September 14, 2003, London's The Sunday Times reported that, "After failing to get any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the US and Britain have decided to delay indefinitely the publication of a full report on the controversial issue, media reported today."

Efforts by the Iraq Survey Group, an Anglo-American team of 1,400 scientists, military and intelligence experts, to scour Iraq for the past four months to uncover evidence of chemical or biological weapons have so far ended in failure, 'The Sunday Times' claimed in its report.

It had been expected that a progress report would be published tomorrow but MPs on the British Parliament's security and intelligence committee have been told that even this has been delayed and no new date set.

British defence intelligence sources have confirmed that the final report, which is to be submitted by David A. Kay, the survey group's leader, to George J. Tenet, head of the CIA, had been delayed and may not necessarily even be published, the paper said.

As of September 4, 2003, the BBC reported that the Iraq Survey Group continued "to maintain a zero media profile." [5]

September Surprise?

Liberal critics had hinted that US President George W. Bush would try to use it as his "September surprise" a report by the Iraq Survey Group which would prove that Saddam Hussein really did have weapons of mass destruction. But now the Sunday Times of London, and other publications, say that the report has been delayed "indefinitely" because the group was unable to get any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. --Christian Science Monitor, September 15, 2003.

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