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Kay: Saddam Hid Weapons Programs from U.N. Inspectors

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2003 – While weapons of mass destruction have yet to be found in Iraq, Saddam Hussein clearly intended to produce them and hid the program from United Nations inspectors, the chief U.S. weapons inspector said here Oct. 2.

Dr. David Kay met with reporters after reporting to Congress on his inspection team's efforts.

Kay cited "substantial evidence of an intent" by Saddam and other senior Iraqi officials to produce such weapons, and emphasized it's premature to conclude none will be found as his team continues its mission.

"We have a lot more work to do before we can conclude that we're at the end of the road," he said, "as opposed to still at the beginning."

He estimated it would be six to nine months "before we know most of what we're going to know about the program," and added that even then, more would remain to be discovered, perhaps for as long as 25 years if the search were to continue.

Kay said his team has found "a large body of continuing activities and equipment" that Iraq failed to declare to U.N. inspectors in November 2002, including a substantial chemical and biological weapons program and an even more substantial missile program.

He said the missile program had foreign assistance, included both ballistic missiles and Land Attack Cruise Missiles capable of carrying significant payloads, and would have extended Iraq's reach beyond 1,000 kilometers. Kay cited Ankara, Turkey; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Cairo, Egypt; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as cities that would be within range of the missiles.

Kay said that since Saddam oversaw "a regime that hid so much, that buried so much, whose population is still fearful of talking and collaborating with the coalition," nothing his team finds should surprise anyone.

"We've already found things that, if you'd asked me the week before, I wouldn't have had a clue that they existed," he said.

Kay repeated the inspection team still has much to do, and said it's going to take "time and patience" to get to the bottom of Iraq's weapons programs.

"We have found a great deal. We have reported a great deal, much of which was never declared to the U.N. and was unknown," he said. "We are not at the bottom line yet."

Kay said the work is difficult because Iraq wasn't pursuing its weapons programs out in full view.

"Just walking in the country is not going to reveal the truth," he said. "You have to work at it, and you have to work at it hard, and that's what we're trying to do."

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