(Special Defense Department briefing on Iraqi deception and denial. Also participating was Victoria Clarke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Slides shown during this briefing can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2002/g021008-D-6570C.html.)
Clarke: Good afternoon, everybody.
Let me tell you just a little bit about the incident in Kuwait, and "a little bit" is the operative phrase here because there is just a little bit of information. And then I will turn it over to our briefer.
At about 4:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today, two U.S. Marines who were participating in an urban training exercise as part of Exercise Eager Mace were fired upon by two unknown assailants. Both Marines were wounded and medevac'ed to the armed forces hospital in Kuwait City. One Marine later died of his wounds; the other remained hospitalized, and we do not have word on his condition at this time.
The two attackers were killed by other Marines. Reports are -- and these are early reports -- that the assailants approached the exercise in a pickup truck and fired on the Marines with small arms. The assailants were in civilian attire. There were no Kuwaiti military forces on the island for this part of the exercise, and at this time, the identity or nationality of the attackers is not known. And the United States and Kuwaiti officials are investigating.
And our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the Marines killed and injured. When we have identities we'll provide them. And obviously, as we get more information, we will provide that.
Q: Torie, was that a live-fire exercise or was it --
Clarke: I don't have any additional information, Brett. This is really everything we have at this time. It really was just a few hours ago. So as we get more, we will pass it on.
Before I turn this over to our briefer, I'd like to make just a couple of remarks about the briefing itself. What we will do is try to demonstrate the extensive history of the Hussein regime's denial and deception techniques. And they are much more than techniques and tactics. Iraqi denial and deception is a highly organized and comprehensive program to hide weapons of mass destruction and their development.
Obviously, Dr. Yurechko will not discuss what the U.S. might be doing about this going forward; that's not his role, nor is it his role to discuss the administration's policy on Iraq. What he will do is underscore that the Hussein regime has established a very clear and consistent pattern of behavior designed to conceal his weapons of mass destruction.
So with that, I will turn it over to Dr. John Yurechko. The spelling? Y-o-u-r-e-t-c-h-k-o (sic). He is the defense intelligence officer for information operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Yurechko: Well, I'm in trouble already. I have to correct my hostess here.
Clarke: (Off mike.)
Yurechko: You gave the phonetic spelling, which is good because you pronounced it correctly, and I'm really appreciative of that. It's Y-u-r-e-c-h-k-o.
See, I'm already reminded -- I saw an interview Mick Jagger had in The New York Times, where he said every time he meets with a journalist it's like going to the dentist. So I kind of face this like the mother of all root canals. (Soft laughter.)
I have the lofty title of being the defense intelligence officer for information operations and denial and deception for the Defense Intelligence Agency. And today I'm going to give you a briefing on Iraqi denial and deception. But before I do that, I wanted to very quickly describe kind of what the analysts at DIA do and what I do at DIA. One of our missions is to identify, analyze and provide warnings of threats and capabilities of foreign nations, transnational groups, individuals and coalitions. For example, we provide analysis of foreign decision-making processes, information technologies systems, networks, and, of course, denial and deception programs.
I want to make clear I'm not an expert on Iraq, and I'm not an expert on weapons of mass destruction per se. I'm an expert on the strategy and methods that Iraq uses to deceive and hide their weapons of mass destruction. My job is very much like your job; my job is like a Pentagon reporter. I try to find answers to a lot of hard questions. I see and interpret a great deal of classified information. I do not rely on a single source to make a judgment. This presentation today is unclassified, and there will be areas and sources that I will just not be able to address, as I'm sure you can appreciate. I have to protect my sources, just like you protect yours.
Like you, I also have the very tough job of telling my bosses exactly what I know, what I think I know and what I don't know. I'm not a policy maker. I have to answer the tough questions to help those who make tough decisions and make policy.
Our objective today is to describe for you the Iraqi denial and deception program for its WMD -- that is, its weapons of mass destruction -- and its ballistic missile programs. Denial and deception is not just a traditional military activity that seeks to confuse a tactical military commander on the battlefield. On the contrary -- and in particular, in the case of Iraq -- denial and deception, or D&D, as you'll hear me refer to it, is the deliberate, methodical, extensive and well-organized national-level strategic effort which aims at deceiving not just the United States, not just the United Nations or even the public media, but, in fact, the entire world.
(To staff.) Can we have the next slide, please?
Before I turn specifically to Iraqi D&D programs, it might be useful to explain what I mean when I use the term "denial and deception." There's nothing arcane about denial and deception. The methods are as old as recorded history. And the Iraqis have -- repeatedly demonstrate a mastery of D&D techniques.
Briefly, "denial" refers to those methods used to conceal state and military secrets, particularly from foreign intelligence collection. "Deception," on the other hand, is the manipulation of information and perceptions to induce the target of that deception to take or not take an action, thereby benefiting the deceiver.
Denial and deception are interrelated. Denial is the basis for a successful deception. One cannot manipulate or blur the truth or lie convincingly unless the truth is first concealed.
Iraq used all of the D&D methods listed on this chart. They used them against past U.N. inspections, and we expect them to do the same against future inspections.
(To staff.) Next slide, please.
Q: After Desert Storm, the Iraqis directed a massive, well- organized D&D effort to defeat the UNSCOM inspection regime. A number of former UNSCOM inspectors, senior UNSCOM officials and even Iraqi defectors have described this effort in considerable detail. This body of testimony includes -- and I'll give you a few examples -- David Kay's famous 1995 article in the Washington Quarterly; the British inspector Tim Trevan in his 1999 book, "Saddam's Secrets: The Hunt for Iraq's Hidden Weapons"; several insightful articles and reports by the former U.S. inspector David Albright; former UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler, in his valuable book, published in 2000, "The Greatest Threat."
And if these Western sources don't suffice, there's not a small, but growing, body of accounts by knowledgeable Iraqi defectors. For example, the former Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr. Khidhir Hamza published "Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda."
This chart highlights the key organizational components that direct Iraqi national-level D&D efforts for WMD and their missile programs. Not surprisingly, the system is directed from the highest political levels within the presidential office and involves, if not Saddam Hussein himself, his youngest son, Qusay, who is in charge of the special security organization. It's a highly centralized effort. The program encompasses intelligence and security services, the special Republican Guard, the military-industrial commission and the ministry of information.
The higher security committee you see on the chart under the president's office is in overall command of concealment and deception operations. The special security organization, or SSO, under Qusay Hussein, is responsible for supervising the so-called concealment mechanism directed specifically against the inspection programs. According to former UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler, Saddam Hussein at one point assigned foreign minister Tariq Aziz the responsibility for concealing Iraqis' (sic) weapons program.
Iraq has learned some very useful lessons from the previous inspection regimes -- also from unclassified UNSCOM reports that are on the Internet and unauthorized disclosures and is taking steps to conceal and disperse sensitive equipment and documentation in anticipation of another inspection regime.
Iraq's D&D strategy has three key objectives. The first objective, quite simply, is to blur the truth about Iraqi compliance with the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, the U.N. resolutions and this all in order to undermine the credibility of UNSCOM findings and the recommendations to the Security Council and erode support for continued inspections.
I can't emphasize sufficiently the importance of this first goal. Although some of their efforts seem crude to us, their D&D measures have prevented UNSCOM and Western intelligence from producing the kinds of smoking guns and smoking-gun photographs, for example, and other forms of juridical evidence demanded by those who are skeptical of Iraqi violations of U.N. resolutions and continued existence of illicit WMD programs.
Their second objective -- their second objective is to ensure that UNSCOM could not uncover the true full scope of Iraqis' (sic) WMD and missile programs, including number of personnel, facilities, equipment, documentation and weaponization efforts.
Finally and most importantly, the Iraqis have sought to prevent UNSCOM from achieving the complete disarmament of Iraq's chemical, biological nuclear and missile programs in accordance with the U.N. resolutions. As of 1998, when the inspectors left Iraq, the Iraqis had succeeded in achieving these three goals. This strategy -- their strategy still remains effective. The CIA report released on Friday reaffirmed that Baghdad is still hiding large portions of their WMD efforts. It also states that their vigorous concealment efforts have meant that specific information on many aspects of Iraqi's WMD programs is yet to be uncovered.
I'm going to walk you through these activities as we have categorized them one by one since Desert Storm. Many of these activities were directed specifically against the U.N. and the UNSCOM inspection regime, and some were and are directed against U.S. and Western intelligence; some, quite simply, are aimed at influencing world opinion. What I'm going to do is give you some historical examples and some very current examples for each of these categories.
Let's begin with a relatively simple D&D technique, that of concealment. This is an example of a suspected Iraqi biological warfare facility. Take a good look at the picture. One of the interesting features of this facility is its location. It's in a residential area. It's concealed inside a residential area. The buildings are nondescript in nature. The installation is nondescript in nature. Placing these kind of WMD facilities in residential areas is a practice method of concealment. There's a famous aphorism by the late Ameron Capps (sp), a specialist in arms control verification. He once said, quote, "We have never found anything that our enemies have successfully concealed," unquote. The issue for us today is how many undetected BW facilities of this type exist. As Tim Trevan, the former British UNSCOM inspector, noted, if there are undeclared and undetected and concealed WMD sites, by definition they can't be inspected or monitored. And the inspection regime cannot provide any level of assurance that a country is not conducting illicit activities.
Next slide, please.
A technique related to concealment is sanitization. And this is a very famous case. Sanitization is a system for hiding proscribed WMD material and sanitizing facilities beforehand. It relies on high mobility, good command and control. In many cases it employs trucks to move items at short notice, and most of the hide sites appear to be located near good road and telecommunications links. We know on several occasions UNSCOM and International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors detected Iraqi officials removing documents and material from buildings, and even burning documents to prevent them from being evaluated. Inspectors have routinely found high interest facilities cleaned out after their entry was delayed for several hours. In this 1991 incident, the Iraqis removed Calitrons (sp) from the reception area at Falujah as UCOM inspectors were arriving at the front of the facility. One inspector photographed these vehicles scurrying out the back gate while the inspectors were being delayed in the front.
Next slide, please.
Pretty blatant technique here: Fraudulent declarations to the U.N. U.N. Security Council resolution 687 and related resolutions 707, 715 and 1051 stipulate that Iraq must provide full, final and complete disclosure of all aspects of its nuclear, chemical, biological and long-range-missile weapons programs. Prior to 1998, Iraq made seven so-called full and final disclosures to the U.N. Iraq modified each full and final disclosure to the U.N. several times to accommodate data uncovered by inspectors, and then they provided new information and explanations only when confronted with direct evidence.
For example, Baghdad revised its nuclear declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency four times within 14 months of its initial submission, in April 1991. Iraq formally submitted six different biological-warfare declarations, each of which UNSCOM rejected. Baghdad provided no hard evidence to support claims that it destroyed all of its biological-weapon agents and munitions in 1991. Richard Butler, the then-UNSCOM chairman, stated that Iraq's September 1997 BW declaration, quote, "failed to give a remotely credible account of Iraq's biological weapons programs." Fraudulent declarations.
Here's another classic case of how the Iraqis respond when their attempts at deception are exposed. This is called sacrificing certain elements of WMD programs. Baghdad has tried to generate a public impression of cooperation while working hard to conceal essential information on the scope and capabilities of its WMD programs.
One technique for achieving this objective is the sacrifice of compromised or obsolete WMD or missile program elements. For example, Iraq dramatically disclosed nearly 700,000 pages of WMD-related documents at a chicken farm following the 1995 defection of Hussein Kamil Hassan al-Majid. The president referred to this person last night. He headed the ministry of industry and military industrialization until 1990. Kamil was a key player in Iraq's effort to produce WMD.
Some sparse but significant information was often buried within a massive volume of extraneous data, all of which was intended, again, to create the appearance of candor and to overwhelm UNSCOM's analytical resources. Here's a good example. Iraq released detailed records of how many ball-point pens it ordered in the late 1980s, but at the same time, it did not provide records of how it procured biological precursors or supported claims that it destroyed its missile warheads capable of delivering BW and CW agents.
Next slide, please.
Cover stories. Cover stories. We've seen these quite frequently. These are two images of a BW facility at Abu Ghurayb (sp) bombed during Desert Storm. You're probably familiar with this story. Let me draw your attention to some of the unique features of this baby-milk plant. First of all, it's secured by a double chain-link fence, and there are guard posts covering the road access.
Please note the two dates on the images. First, September 1990; and then January 1991. Again, what's different about the two images? The baby-milk plant has been camouflaged. It's been given military camouflage covering. After the coalition struck this facility, Iraq claimed that it was an infant-formula factory; that is, a non-military target.
Here's a close-up of the facility. You can get a better view of the camouflage applied to the building. The Iraqis quickly prepared a hand-painted sign in English, in Arabic, and dressed up plant personnel in uniforms labeled "Baby-milk Plant." Then the Iraqis brought in foreign media representatives to the facilities for a controlled tour, probably staged by the Iraqi Ministry of Information. During this tour, the Iraqis fed them disinformation about the factory. They also paraded personnel around wearing logos on their uniforms, et cetera.
Regrettably, there were a number of people in the West and the Middle East who actually believed this story. Let me draw -- I'm sorry, a little fast on the finger. Just to orient you to the facility, you'll notice this causeway here, and I'll show you exactly where this photo was taken.
You can see the causeway right there. So it was in this general area.
Next slide, please.
Here's another cover story. It's a little -- forgive the joke -- a little harder to swallow. The Fallujah castor oil facility. The coalition bombed Fallujah during Desert Storm in 1991 and again during Desert Fox in 1998. This imagery shows that the Iraqis have rebuilt Fallujah and that the facility is active again. The Fallujah III castor oil production plant is situated on a large complex with a historical connection to Iraq's chemical weapons program. Iraq rebuilt major structures at this plant after they were destroyed during Desert Fox in '98. The Iraqis claim that they are making castor oil for brake fluid. However, we should point out that the residue from the castor-oil bean pulp can be used in the production of the biological agent ricin.
In addition to questions about facilities of this type, there are compelling reasons to be concerned about biological warfare activity at other sites, and in mobile production units and laboratories. In fact, Iraq has now established a large-scale, redundant, and concealed biological-warfare-agent production capability based on mobile facilities.
Next slide, please.
Dual-use facilities. The use of dual-use facilities is a technique for concealing WMD production and impeding inspections. We have to be honest -- all components and supplies used in WMD and missile programs are dual-use. For example, any major petrochemical or biotech industry, as well as even a public-health organization, will have a legitimate need for the materials and equipments that can also be used to manufacture some chemical and biological weapons.
For example, Iraq has built a large new chemical complex, Project Baiji, in the desert in northwest Iraq at al-Sharqat -- that's what's shown in this picture. The site is a former uranium-enrichment facility which was damaged during the Gulf War and then rendered harmless under the inspection regime before 1998. Part of the site has been rebuilt, with work starting as early as 1992, as a chemical production complex.
Okay, what draws our attention to this site? Well, one thing, again, despite being rather far away from any populated area, again, it's surrounded by a very high wall and security fence, and all access, road access into the facility is controlled by armed guards. The British government report, recently released, indicates that this facility will produce nitric acid, which can be used not only in explosives and missile fuels, but also for the purification of uranium.
We want to talk about the sensitive-site problem. And this, again, came up in the presidential address last evening. There's a good example of the problem we face with the sensitive site issue.
From 1996, Baghdad sought to constrain UNSCOM from inspecting numerous facilities, mostly by declaring the sites were sensitive. They characterized the inspections as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Until 1998, when the inspectors left, Iraq applied the term "sensitive" to a variety of facilities. On one occasion, Iraqi security officials declared a road as sensitive. For example, Iraq also sought to limit U.N. access to special Republican Guard garrisons that are responsible for executing the highest priorities of Saddam's inner circle.
Finally, in addition, Iraq declared a number of presidential palace locations as sensitive sites. This particular site was more than a palace, as you can see. Would a normal palace of this nature be equipped with hardened underground bunkers, hardened storage and command and control facilities? These facilities suggest that presidential sites perform functions other than supporting the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Iraq.
Here's a better example, I think: the Radwaniyah presidential palace. Look at the size of this thing. It's located south of Baghdad. This facility is about 18 square kilometers inside. The rough boundaries of the site are marked in red, and we have superimposed in approximate scale the size of the White House and the White House grounds over this site. And you can make a visual comparison as to its rather enormous size. Radwaniyah is one of the eight sensitive sites declared by Iraq in 1997. Richard Butler, again, the chairman at that time of UNSCOM, reported to the U.N. secretary-general that Iraq had created a new category of sites: quote, "presidential" and, quote, "sovereign". Iraq claimed that the UNSCOM inspectors would be henceforth barred from these sites. We should point out that the terms of the 1991 cease-fire include no such provisions for such sites. However, Iraq consistently refused to allow inspectors access to any of these eight sensitive presidential sites. Many of these co-called palaces are, in fact, large compounds which are an integral part of the Iraq concealment effort designed to hide their weapons program materials.
Next slide, please?
Disinformation. Very classic technique used in D&D. During Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein soon lost the ability to shoot down coalition aircraft. But he did not abandon the effort to blunt the air campaign and discredit U.S. targeting.
One Iraqi technique was to simulate damage to unacceptable targets in hopes that world public opinion would stop the air offensive. This image shows the al-Basra mosque, its dome neatly sheared off, the nearest bomb crater up here in the upper right-hand corner in the image -- you can see it's some distance away -- and you can see the dome is pretty cleanly removed, not as if it were struck by an aerial weapon.
In this case, the Iraqis themselves damaged the mosque after the strike and brought foreign news media, again, to the location and falsely accused the coalition and the U.S. of destroying religious shrines.
(To staff.) Next slide.
You've heard me refer to this technique several times as a staged tour. This is a standard Iraqi deception technique, and we should expect more frequent use of this method to discredit photographic evidence of suspected activity presented by the United States, Britain and the United Nations.
This is a rough summary of how a staged tour technique would work. For example, an international organization or foreign government might release a satellite image of a suspect facility, much like we've seen in today's brief, the Iraqis would obtain a copy of that image, determine what facility that's actually referring to, check what the function of that facility is -- is it actually a cover facility for WMD activity? Security personnel would then go out to the facility, as in the case of the calutron incident, and sanitize it. Then the Ministry of Foreign -- of Information would invite a media team -- foreign media team to come to the facility. They parade around the facility in a scripted tour and hold up evidence to discredit the initial assertion by the foreign government.
(To staff.) Next slide, please.
I'm going to walk you through one of those staged tours. This is the image of the Tuwaitha nuclear facility, located southeast of Baghdad. Some of you may recall the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor at this facility in the early 1980s. Tuwaitha was the center of the Iraqi nuclear program, which aimed at producing nuclear-grade material.
During the 1980s, as David Kay noted in his article on Iraqi nuclear denial and deception, the Iraqis allowed IAEA inspectors into sections of the Tuatheh facility under tight security controls. In 1991 coalition aircraft inflicted heavy damage on facility. After Desert Strom, UNSCOM inspected Tuwaitha. The Iraqis had conducted extensive clearing operations at the facility before the inspection, to remove much of the equipment that had been there.
Before we leave this image -- and we'll come back to it -- I just want you to note the large size of this facility. It actually has four different related parts -- four different parts.
Next slide, please.
A September 11th, 2002, Washington Post story confirms that the Iraqis recently employed the staged-tour technique at Tuwaitha to discredit images compiled by the IAEA regarding new construction at Tuwaitha. Probably after obtaining those images from the Internet, the Iraqis brought two busloads of foreign journalists to Tuwaitha and took them to one area inside the complex to show them what was inside the buildings identified by the IAEA as new. The journalists were monitored by Iraqi officials and were not allowed to visit the three other areas inside the complex or to wander about even this location.
Needless to say, the buildings in question contained no nuclear- related activities. The Iraqi minders told the journalists that Iraq had no nuclear facilities anymore and no intention to build nuclear weapons. Accompanying Iraqi officials stated that the Tuwaitha facility now focused on non-nuclear products.
Just to give you a sense of the limited area that the journalists were allowed to see, that previous picture you saw with the two little towers is located right there. They were basically brought down this road into the facility, and they had to remain in this immediate area.
Next slide, please.
This chart summarizes the current state of affairs concerning Iraqi WMD programs. And we want to do in the concluding portion of the brief is examine the deception component of each of these areas. Where are there discrepancies, and where do we have problems? And we're going to look at, again, the chemical program, the biological program, the nuclear program and the missile force.
Chemical weapons: This captures the state of our knowledge as of 1998, when the UNSCOM inspections ended. The obvious discrepancies between Iraq's officials disclosures and their estimated stockpiles suggest concealment of CW munitions and precursor chemicals. Iraq has retained the expertise for chemical-warfare research, agent production and weaponization. Most of the personnel previously involved in the program remain in the country. As the British government report states, intelligence has shown that Iraq has continued to produce chemical agents. And as you heard last night again, this is a reminder this is a regime that employed those agents against its neighbors and its own people.
Delivery systems for chemical weapons. Iraq has still not accounted for a large number of delivery systems for chemical weapons. These unaccounted delivery systems discredit the official denials about having an offensive CW program. Today Iraq has a variety of delivery means available for both chemical and biological agents. Before Desert Storm, Iraq's stated intent was to develop and field delivery means capable of reaching targets well beyond Iraq's national borders.
Biological weapons. Iraq's continued refusal to disclose fully the extent of its biological program is evidence that Baghdad retains a biological warfare capability. It's continued to produce biological warfare agents. It has its own engineering capability that can design and construct biological-agent-associated fermenters, centrifuges, sprayer-driers and other equipment. This is an ongoing effort by Iraq to conceal this very activity.
Next slide, please.
The nuclear program. This is the Al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction line located in northeast Iraq, near the Syrian border. The coalition bombed this facility in Desert Storm and Iraq promptly rebuilt it. Before Desert Storm, Iraq recovered uranium yellow cake at Al Qaim. The Iraqis planned to use this yellow cake to produce the feed material needed for its multiple uranium enrichment efforts in its secret nuclear weapons program.
Al Qaim was part of Iraq's comprehensive nuclear weapons development program. This program focused on building an implosion- type weapon, and the IAEA and UNSCOM uncovered evidence of this program. Is al Qaim another dual-purpose facility? Is this deception? There are many unanswered questions regarding this and other facilities.
Next slide, please.
Ballistic missile program. As you recall, Iraq used mobile Scud missiles against targets in Israel and Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm. Today Iraq has a residual force of Scud-type mobile missiles, and over 40 BW and conventional warheads, according to a State Department report. They're well hidden. Moreover, as the State Department report confirms, 11 years after the Gulf War, Iraq still refuses to account for propellant, air frames and components of their missile force. This is not a clerical error; it's a deliberate concealment.
Iraq hasn't abandoned its plans to build larger, longer-range missiles, in violation of the U.N. resolutions. UNSCOM uncovered numerous design drawings, as well as evidence that Iraq continued missile research since the imposition of sanctions. Iraq continues to expand the missile-production facility at Al-Haytham, which the U.N. bombed in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox.
For example, here's an image of an Iraqi ballistic missile test stand. This new stand will be capable of testing engines for medium- range ballistic missiles with ranges over 1,000 kilometers. Those are not permitted under the U.N. Security Council Resolution 687.
Let me describe some of the features of the facility. A here is the new test stand. You can see it's fairly large. B is an old Scud test stand that was dismantled by the inspectors. And B (sic) is a short-range missile test stand. So you can compare the relative sizes here -- the short range, the old Scud stand, with its new stand, which clearly is designed for a much larger missile frame. Iraq recently has taken some measures to conceal some of the activities at this site.
Next slide, please.
Here are some fascinating statements by Foreign Minister Aziz from both 1997 and more recently, from this year. Look at the first statement. I want to examine his assertion. If we accept what the foreign minister says at face value, what are the implications? What are the implications? For example, Iraq declared that it produced 85,000 liters of liquid anthrax prior to the Gulf War. Assuming they've eliminated 95 percent of that stock, Iraq would still have 425 liters of anthrax left. That's enough to fill nearly three Scud BW warheads. The viability of this 12-year-old anthrax is unknown, however, it could be very high, if it had been stored properly. Assuming it has a high viability, one anthrax-filled Scud launched at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, could, depending on the time of day and the weather conditions, result in over 100,000 casualties.
Next slide, please.
Let me conclude the brief. The statement by Saddam Hussein, and the previous statements by the Iraqi foreign minister, must serve to remind us that the Iraqi denial and deception campaign continues to this very day. Who are we to believe is telling the truth? What are we to believe is the truth?
The president of the United States, the vice president, the secretary of Defense and the DCI fully understand that we face an immense challenge in exposing the full extent of this denial and deception effort. We will not be intimidated or fooled. We will employ a stubborn army of physicists, chemists, scholars of all types, bleary-eyed analysts and well-armed librarians to fight this fight. We shall find our way through any forest of deceit and fiction to the truth. And if we stumble or fail along the way, we're going to pick ourselves up and continue even stronger in the knowledge we've gleaned from our mistakes. We're not going to waver from this task.
That concludes my prepared remarks, and I will invite any questions. Yes, please.
Q: You had a satellite photo of the mosque with the dome removed.
Q: Do you have any pictures of, say, the day before and the day after showing it in the process of being removed?
Yurechko: That I'd have to check. I don't know offhand. But we examined the site in terms of the destruction from the bomb craters. And, again, the near -- as someone pointed out, the nature of the way the dome was removed, it's quite surgical in nature. So -- .
Q: But could you explain for us why a photo like that might not exist? What are the vagaries of the satellite photos that go around? Because one could argue, if -- Iraq could make the argument, well, you bombed the dome, it was heavily damaged, so we went in and cleared it out so it wouldn't collapse.
Yurechko: I can't get into the precise nature of how we do, you know, examine satellite imagery. But I think again, a weapon landing in the center of the dome would do more extensive damage than is clearly visible on that particular image. You can see it's quite clear in nature.
Q: Your slide of Al Quaim phosphate and uranium extraction plants as currently active. Describe "currently active". How so? What is -- what is it suspected is going on there?
Yurechko: Right now we know it's active as a -- it's declared active as a chemical production facility. We're not precisely sure of what's going on in terms of uranium extraction there. Again, it has a historical record of conducting uranium extraction. So that's one of the reasons why we think it's, you know, a viable target for inspection.
Q: Is -- is there any evidence that uranium extraction continues today, and can that be detected by other -- any other means other than on-the-ground inspection?
Yurechko: I couldn't get into any more precise details on that particular issue. You'll forgive me.
Q: A similar question about the Tuwaitha nuclear facility: You showed the specific area that the tour took place. Is it the belief that in the other three areas, there is active efforts as far as nuclear production or something?
Yurechko: It could be nuclear. It could be CW. It could be BW. Our concern is that that facility could be used for any of those activities. It could've been sanitized of all nuclear activity but still conceal other WMD programs.
Q: Is there evidence that that facility is being used actively for those --
Yurechko: Again, I can't get into the specifics, but if you look at the picture, you'll see it's an active facility, and it has a long history of production that is not devoted to the commercial sector alone.
Q: The Iraqis know that you know what was going on in these facilities. Why would they rebuild the facilities and put exactly the same programs that were in there before? Knowing what you know, why wouldn't they build them somewhere else? We've heard the secretary discuss or describe underground bunkers and tunnels -- type facilities. Could you try and straighten us out on that?
Yurechko: Yeah. It's a tangled web. This is -- you're getting right at the heart of the problem involved with D&D. First of all, there is a major expense involved in developing a new facility. And developing a new facility -- it's going to leave a signature, depending on where you put it. Secondly, a lot of their techniques have been employing "burying" a certain activity, again, dual use, so that some production could be devoted towards commercial production, whereas other production in the facility could then be spilled over into the WMD program. And that actually provides better cover, because the facility looks like it's doing commercial production but at the same time is devoting some of its activities to the WMD program.
Q: The secretary has specifically referred to deeply buried bunkers and hidden tunnels.
Q: We didn't see anything like that described in your briefing. Can you talk about that? Have you seen an expansion of those kinds of efforts?
Yurechko: Actually, we did include some in the presidential sites. That was our intent there -- to show that there are underground facilities at the presidential sites which could at least harbor some equipment. You know, it may not be used equipment, but it's being hidden. It could be anything, from, you know, a Scud airframe to production equipment. So I didn't give a lot of underground examples, but yes, we -- there's certainly a lot of activity in that realm.
Q: Can you give a sense of the numbers of underground facilities that you're seeing? You know, is it throughout the country? Is it concentrated in certain areas, presidential sites? Could you give us just a sense of the scope of this?
Yurechko: I don't think I can go into details, but certainly even before Desert Storm there was a fairly extensive underground effort, and we saw that continuing. They learned a lot of lessons from Desert Storm.
Q: Is it steadily ramping up? Has it been since --
Yurechko: It's continuing, yes. Yes.
Yes? You had your hand --
Q: You said earlier that we now believe Iraq is taking steps to conceal and disperse sensitive equipment in anticipation of another inspection regime. Obviously, you're talking here about a lot of ongoing efforts, really, that have gone on for probably the better part of a decade. Can you point us to anything specific in the past few months, past year, where you're seeing a ramping up of their desire to move this stuff around and hide stuff, knowing there's at least a possibility that another inspection regime can start?
Yurechko: Yeah, I don't want to get into details on current activities. That's why we've used this kind of historical to -- present case, because it, we believe, shows a continued trend. So I'm not going to address activities in the most recent period.
Q: One of the messages you're leaving to the world here is that any U.N. inspection regime is going to face a daunting challenge.
Yurechko: Yes, absolutely.
Q: In a glass-half-full, kind of optimistic framework here, from an analyst's perspective, what, at a minimum, are some of the size and scope of manpower that would be needed for any chance of a successful inspection regime?
Yurechko: I have never been an inspector. I don't have the skills to answer that question.
But you characterized it precisely. We -- we're not up here to say it's going to fail or success. What we're up here -- is to point out the challenges we face; that there is in place a deliberate program to counter, you know, the inspection regimes, and it's ongoing.
Q: Sir, given, though, that we know the history and the techniques and tactics, doesn't that give the U.N. inspectors a leg up to one point, because there's this whole 10-year history to use and exploit?
Yurechko: In certain areas, yes. On the flip side of that coin, it gives the Iraqis a leg up, because they have now experienced the inspection regime. They know how we kind of collect against these facilities. They have a good appreciation of that. So they've developed skills as well to counter it. So it's a constant yin-yang. You know, for one period, we're succeeding, and then in the other, they're succeeding. They've developed fairly sophisticated techniques on how to deal with documentation and high documentation, how to deal with surveillance cameras, et cetera.
Q: What do you mean? How have they gone about concealing things from the cameras and everything?
Yurechko: If you look at some of the inspector memoirs, they'll refer to how certain cameras were either disabled or they conducted activities out of range of the camera's view. They had a good appreciation for what the camera could cover in specific facilities.
Have you had a question over here yet?
Q: When you were talking about rebuilding facilities on the same site where they had been destroyed previously, you said it would leave a signature if they were just to go build a new facility someplace else. How is that signature different in a new facility as opposed to rebuilding at the same site? And what exactly do you mean by a signature?
Yurechko: Signature just means what does the facility look like on the ground as you lay out the foundations, et cetera. And in some ways, using an older facility provides you cover. You have existing buildings that we can't see inside, obviously, unless we have an inspector on the ground, so they can conduct some illicit activities by using an older facility and some of the nondescript buildings we saw in the suspect BW facility, so whereas where you build a new facility, we can see it go through its stages and sometimes the signature tells you what are the construction phases and what's the purpose of that facility going to be.
Q: You've seen other regimes that have used denial and deception. Compare the level of sophistication the Iraqis are employing, in your view, with any other regime in the world that has employed these techniques.
Yurechko: We think they're fairly accomplished masters. They don't have the same level of technical expertise we might see from, say, the Soviet example during the Cold War where, you know, you had a more industrialized country, but they obviously learned from the Soviet Union, from North Korea and other countries that are well practiced in this. So I would characterize them as well advanced in terms of their D&D techniques.
Q: As to the bureaucracy, you anecdotally showed the flow chart that there appear to be a large part of the bureaucracy devoted to this. Do you have any idea how many people might be detailed to work on denial and deception?
Yurechko: I don't think it's a question of how many people. I think what the Iraqis have done is to have ingrained the need for that in training of all their personnel, so although there is a dedicated cadre that oversee the program, its far more important success is ingraining in the military personnel, the military- industrial folks, that this needs to be a part of their day-to-day activities.
Q: One final detail.
Q: You talked about mobile facilities that might be in violation of U.N. accords. And you showed us none. Can you describe what you were talking about without showing us a picture?
Yurechko: Yeah. These are basically large trucks -- you know, 18-wheelers that can move around relatively quickly, with trailers, et cetera.
Q: And these are usually biological weapon --
Yurechko: That's our suspicion, yeah. Because again, a biological facility can be much smaller than a chemical weapons facility. It doesn't require the same intense infrastructure to support it.
Q: You mean --
Clarke: We have a drawing we can show you on that one.
Yurechko: Yeah. I do believe we did -- we -- .
Q: Do you suspect that they have them, or do you have evidence that they are using them?
Yurechko: Well, we've seen suspected activities, you know, involving these kinds of vehicles.
Q: You see these vehicles leaving the facilities that you just showed on the -- for the pictures? Is that -- ?
Yurechko: Not necessarily leaving a facility. We've seen them set up in certain areas and conducting activities. So it's not like they're fleeing. Again, it's not the same as an in-place industrial facility that's there day after day.
Q: What information do you have, if any, on equipment or components coming in by rail or roads from other countries? Anything along those lines --
Yurechko: I'm sorry, I'm not prepared to address that today.
Q: Because you don't know, or you just can't say?
Yurechko: I don't personally know. I'd have to check on it, yeah.
Yeah, someone else here.
Q: Can a nuclear weapons program be completely concealed, especially uranium extraction or enrichment, be completely concealed from overhead imagery?
Yurechko: It depends on the nature of the program. I mean, if -- obviously, if someone acquires the material from an illicit source -- and I'm not saying the Iraqis have -- that's easily concealable. If you're going to do as the Iraqis attempted to do throughout the '80s and into the '90s, develop a program where you're extracting purified uranium, using a number of different techniques, as you know, from the size of the Manhattan project, it's very difficult to conceal that activity. And that's why they got caught with the calutrons, et cetera. It requires a massive infrastructure, massive equipment, et cetera.
Q: Is that still true today? That it still requires that kind of massive signature of a program?
Yurechko: Again, I'm not a nuclear expert, but the programs that the Iraqis specifically were pursuing did require -- even the chemical extraction technique, you know, you need washers, different cleansing infrastructure, et cetera, to carry out the purification process.
Q: You said you didn't want to get into current or recent events, but the slide of the missile propellant facility or missile test facility, I think you did say you'd seen evidence of recent efforts there to conceal activities there. Could you at least say how recently we're talking about there, what sort of activities you're talking about in that case?
Yurechko: This year. This year.
Q: Within the last year, within months? Could you --
Yurechko: Within the past year.
Q: How have the Iraqis improved on their D&D since learning through inspections and stuff like that?
Yurechko: Well, first of all, certainly in terms of anticipating an inspection regime, we think they're already postured and have trained large numbers of personnel of how to deal with an intrusive inspection regime and, you know, that would include an alert and warning procedure. In other words, an inspection is scheduled -- even for no notice, they're trying to train personnel to shorten their reaction time. That means having in place procedures, equipment, et cetera, that would help sanitize the facility as quickly as possible.
They certainly, as I hope you saw from some of the pictures we showed, developed more sophisticated techniques for dual-use facilities and concealment of facilities in residential areas, et cetera.
So they're improving on a daily basis.
Q: If that's the case, wouldn't they need to have -- wouldn't any future inspections need to have a completely different way of going in, in order to get around that?
Yurechko: Again, I'm not an inspection specialist, but that's certainly one of the challenges they face.
Yes, in the back.
Q: What about the political effects of what you described, these denial and deception techniques? Because there's certainly a fair amount of opposition, both in this country and around the world, to the administration's policy on Iraq. Would you say that those people, or at least some of those people are affected by this?
Yurechko: I'm not quite -- I think you've gone outside my technical expertise here. I stay away from politics like I stay away from dentists. But I don't think I can answer that for you today.
Yes? Yes, ma'am?
Q: When you talk about the sanitization techniques, and, you know, you showed the photograph that the inspector snapped of the trucks rushing out the back gate --
Q: -- what's to stop the inspector from saying, "Stop, I want to see that," that allows these kind of techniques to be effective?
Yurechko: Well, at that time the inspectors were physically constrained. And I don't know if you know the story. Only one of them was able to climb up a water tower and catch that caravan. So the Iraqis, at least then -- I don't know if that would occur again -- were very forceful in delaying -- they would use -- they used all kinds of techniques, ranging from direct physical restraint to delaying the reporters by saying, "Oh, we would like to show you this historic site. This is a very famous mosque." You know, so that gives them time to sanitize a facility, you know. And there are some very interesting stories in some of the books I mentioned regarding some of the techniques they employed.
You had a question in front. I'm sorry.
Q: Yes. You had mentioned the CIA report, which -- suggests--
Yurechko: Was released Friday.
Q: -- was released Friday. And that report suggests that Iraq has, you know, the capability to make these things, but stops short of saying they actually have and/or are producing biological or chemical weapons and/or nuclear weapons.
Can you, you know, talk about what kind of steps you think might be necessary? And you know, I mean, it's a lot of images and a lot of --
Yurechko: Yeah. This -- you've hit on a very difficult issue. Certainly they have the capability. They've done it in the past. They weaponized and used those weapons on the battlefield in the past -- certainly chemical weapons. Some of the warheads are missing. It's not that complex a procedure, at least as far as chemical weapons, to fill a warhead, and the same with a BW warhead. So that is our focus of concern, as far as weaponization.
And we've focused on that one example with the Tariq Aziz quote because really one weapon can be pretty devastating in terms of its impact, in terms of casualties.
Q: I think that the Iraqis were able to do a great deal of deception and denial in their nuclear program prior to the Gulf War, including hiding the massive electricity grid --
Q: -- that would be required to run their cascade systems of centrifuges. But I want to ask, in terms of denial and deception, have you see any evidence that they are using denial and deception to prepare militarily for an anticipated U.S. military operation -- in other words, perhaps building fortifications, preparing urban defenses, this kind of thing?
Yurechko: Yeah. Yeah. We didn't -- we left that out of today's briefing. We didn't want to get into battlefield D&D. And again, the Iraqis were -- did that very extensively during the Gulf War, and in dealing with the no-fly zone issue in terms of protecting air defense. I have not followed that closely in recent months, but again, it doesn't surprise me or it wouldn't surprise me if they were undertaking battlefield D&D techniques. They're quite practiced in it. We even thought about including some imagery of decoys, et cetera, in today's brief, but we, in the interest of time and -- we wanted to focus just on the WMD. So that's a long, winding answer to --
Q: But you are saying that in fact that you are seeing battlefield D&D right now?
Yurechko: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, that's part of their practiced technique.
You had a question in the back. We've been --
Q: In terms of the Iraqi capabilities, as long as they have the designers and the engineers, they're going to retain those capabilities, aren't they.
Q: Even a new regime will retain the capabilities. How would you deal with that, as a specialist in denial and deception?
Yurechko: How would I -- I'm sorry. I don't quite -- could you repeat your question? How would I deal with the fact that they're --
Q: Deal with the fact that any Iraqi regime is going to be highly industrialized and will concern unless we kill all their engineers and designers?
Yurechko: No --
Yurechko: Yeah, I understand. That's a key policy question. We, you know, had a similar problem with the Soviet Union under the disarmament regime. You know, where are all the nuclear scientists? What are they going to do? -- et cetera. And I think as part of the president's promise that, you know, we're going to build a new Iraq -- that's obviously going to be one key component, because these scientists have valuable skills that can be used in the commercial sector. There's no doubt about it. And the idea is to turn them away from WMD programs and D&D into things that can contribute to a more, you know, peaceful venue.
Q: Do you know who they are -- the scientists? Do you have an idea of who they are?
Yurechko: Some of them are in the books by the two Iraqi defectors. You know, there are names named in those books. So --
Clarke: Let's make this the last one.
QI have a question -- actually, I think it's probably for you. If the United States knows for a fact that weapons of mass destruction programs are currently being concealed and moved about in anticipation of an arms inspection, why hasn't the U.S. done something about it? Why hasn't the U.S. bombed the area? It may be a stupid question, but seems to have that information.
Clarke: Well, I think what you heard the president talking about last night is every step we are taking and every effort we're exerting to try to stop the Saddam Hussein regime not only from having these things but potentially using them and to get them to a place where the weapons of mass destruction are destroyed, to get to a place where Iraq is not threatening its neighbors, is not firing ballistic missiles at its neighbors, is not invading its neighbors, is not oppressing and torturing its own people. So there are many, many aspects to what we are trying to do with Iraq. What they are currently doing with their denial and deception of weapons of mass destruction is just one piece of it.
Okay, (that makes ?) that the last question.
Q: Is there anything else you can say about the D&D, the battlefield D&D? You mentioned decoys and --
Clarke: We are hopeful --
Q: Can we get a schedule of those?
Clarke: I don't want to promise more than I can ever -- we are hopeful we can do another brief. We really seriously considered --
Q: In 10 minutes? We'll wait. Now -- (laughter).
Yurechko: We also have, I believe, paper copies for you of those slides. But thank you very much.
Q: Thank you.
"THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE INC., WASHINGTON, D.C. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400."