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Saddam’s Nuclear Plans

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Ray Robison, who’s been studying the Iraqi documents intensely for quite some time, has interesting information about the NYT article on nuclear sensitive releases at DOD website. (Hat tip: Confederate Yankee.)

What to keep in mind when you read the NYT article.

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
The Senate Prewar Intelligence Review Phase II report reveals that Saddam’s Foreign Minster told the US government that Saddam was trying to build a bomb. He said Saddam was trying to get uranium and was irate that his nuclear team was taking too long.
In September 2002, the CIA obtained, from a source, information that allegedly came from a high-level Iraqi official with direct access to Saddam Hussein and his inner circle. The information this source provided was considered so important and so sensitive that the CIA’s Directorate of Operations prepared a highly restricted intelligence report to alert senior policymakers about the reporting. Because of the sensitivity, however, that it was not disseminated to Intelligence Community analysts.

Concerned that something may have been missed in our first Iraq review, the Committee began to request additional information from the Intelligence Community and to question current and former CIA officers who were involved in this issue. As noted above, the Committee has not completed this inquiry, but we have seen the operational documentation pertaining to this case.

We can say that there is not a single document related to this case which indicates that the source said Iraq had no WMD programs. On the contrary, all of the information about this case so far indicates that the information from this source was that Iraq did have WMD programs.

So what did Saddam’s foreign minister tell the US government? From the report: [emphasis mine]
The intelligence report conveyed information from the source attributed to the Iraqi official which said:

* Iraq was not in possession of a nuclear weapon. However, Iraq was aggressively and covertly developing such a weapon. Saddam, irate that Iraq did not yet have a nuclear weapon because money was no object and because Iraq possessed the scientific know how, had recently called meeting his Nuclear Weapons Committee.

* The Committee told Saddam that a nuclear weapon would be ready within 18-24 months of acquiring the fissile material.

UPDATE at 11/3/06 10:07:41 am:

And remember, the legitimacy of this information has now been verified by the New York Times.

UPDATE at 11/3/06 10:24:31 am:

Ed Lasky suspects that the NYT’s article was another pre-election hit coordinated with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. Note that Ray Robison says in the above-linked post that he notified the IAEA about the documents weeks ago.

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