CIA chief to face WMD grilling

As pressure mounts on the United States to provide evidence of Iraq's alleged possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet is expected to testify whether pre-war intelligence on Iraq was over-exaggerated.

    CIA chief George Tenet (L) is expected to back the WMD report

    Tenet is scheduled to appear on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    He is expected to defend last October’s classified National Intelligence Estimate report which claimed Iraq posed as a global security threat due to its possession of nuclear, biological and chemical arms, said US sources on condition of anonymity.

    US intelligence analysts, who testified about the report last week before the House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees, also stuck by the report.

    Washington said it launched its war against Baghdad due to its possession of WMD.

    But it has not found any such arms since war was launched on 20 March.

    Blix critical

    Chief United Nations weapons' inspector Hans Blix, who headed inspections in Iraq before the US-led war, has criticised Washington’s key argument for invading Baghdad.

    “It is sort of fascinating that you can have 100 percent certainty about weapons of mass destruction and zero certainty about where they are,” said Blix, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

    Blix was responsible for searching for WMD in Iraq from November 2002 to March 2003. He accused Washington of not giving him enough time to find the arms.

    “Three and a half months for new inspections was a rather short time before calling it a day and especially when we now see the US government is saying that, ‘look, you have to have a little patience, you know these things take time',” he said.
     
    The longer the United States and Britain occupy Iraq without finding WMD, the more likely it seems that Baghdad destroyed them after the 1991 Gulf War, added Blix.

    Blix will retire next week.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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