FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2004
Contact: Press Office
Statement of Senator Carl Levin at the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing with Dr. David Kay
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me also welcome Dr. Kay to this hearing and state our thanks for his work on the Iraq Survey Group.
Dr. Kay's recent reported statements -- for example that the Intelligence Community was wrong about there being stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war; that it is the Intelligence Community's consensus that the two alleged "biological" trailers were for hydrogen production, not for producing biological warfare agents; and that Iraq had not reconstituted its nuclear weapons program -- stand in sharp contrast to statements made by the Administration before going to war in Iraq. Dr. Kay's recent statements raise serious questions about the accuracy and objectivity of our intelligence and about the Administration's public statements before the war that were supposedly based on that intelligence.
Before the war, the Administration, in order to support its decision to go to war, made numerous vivid, unqualified statements about Iraq having in its possession weapons of mass destruction -- not "programs"; not "program-related activities"; and not "intentions", but actual weapons.
For example, on August 26th, 2002, Vice President Cheney gave a major speech about a threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
He asserted the following: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."
Vice President Cheney was not talking about programs or intentions; he was talking about existing weapons that were being amassed for use against us.
Here is what Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said in his testimony to this Committee on September 19, 2002: "He's amassed large clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons, including anthrax, botulism toxin, possibly smallpox. He's amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, Sarin and mustard gas."
Notice: not programs or intentions -- it's stockpiles that Saddam Hussein was said to have amassed.
On September 27, 2002 President Bush said that we must make sure that Saddam Hussein "never has the capacity to ... use the stockpiles of anthrax that we know he has, or VX, the biological weapons which he possesses." Notice again: not programs or intentions -- it's stockpiles and weapons Saddam possesses.
On October 7, 2002, President Bush said that: "It [Iraq] possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons."
Possesses and produces -- not programs or intentions.
On February 5th, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke at the UN. He said:
"We know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agent to various locations.... Most of the launchers and warheads had been hidden in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection."
"There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons ... And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction."
He talked about "the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.... We know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like. We know how they fit together, we know how they work, and we know a great deal about the platforms on which they are mounted.... We know that Iraq has at least seven of these mobile, biological agent production factories."
"Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." "Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons.... And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorized his field commanders to use them."
Secretary Powell spoke of actual weapons, not about "program-related activities" or "intentions."
And on March 11, 2003, just before the start of the war, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said: "we know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours, and placing them in residential neighborhoods."
About two weeks later, Secretary Rumsfeld made this statement: "We know where they [weapons of mass destruction] are."
Just in case there was ever any doubt about the reason given for why we went to war, the President's Press Secretary restated the point this way on April 10th, 2003: "make no mistake ... we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about. And we have high confidence it will be found."
Incredibly enough, Administration leaders are still saying that we found WMD production facilities. Just last week, Vice President Cheney said that the two trailers found in Iraq were mobile biological weapons labs programs and were " conclusive evidence, if you will, that he did in fact have programs for weapons of mass destruction." But today's witness, David Kay, is reported in the New York Times as saying that the consensus in the Intelligence Community is that those two trailers were for producing hydrogen for weather balloons, or possibly rocket fuel -- but not for biological weapons.
Surely we should find out what is the basis for Vice President Cheney's recent statement as well as the basis for the unqualified statements made before the war I have just quoted.
Unfortunately, as of now, the leadership of the Senate will not allow an inquiry into how the Administration characterized the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The Intelligence Committee's inquiry is limited to the question of the production of the intelligence. That Committee is not looking into how that intelligence was used and characterized by policy makers. We will continue to press for an inquiry looking to get the whole story, the full picture. If the only way to obtain that is to have an outside, independent and nonpartisan commission to conduct a comprehensive and objective review of this entire matter -- so be it.
Whether one agreed or disagreed with the decision to proceed to war, and whether one agreed or disagreed with the decision to proceed without the support of the international community, acting through the UN, the case made by the Administration for initiating the war against Iraq was not because Iraq had intentions to someday resume production of weapons of mass destruction. It was because they had in their possession weapons of mass destruction.
Although the issue of Iraq's WMD intentions or ambitions, and program-related activities is a serious issue, it is not why we went to war. The case for war was Iraq's possession, production, deployment, and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. A different case for war against Iraq can be made, but the case which the Administration made to the American people was the presence of actual weapons of mass destruction.
When lives are at stake and our military is going to be placed in harms way -- in other words, when we decide to go to war -- it is totally unacceptable to have intelligence that is this far off, or to exaggerate or shape the intelligence for any purpose by anybody.