Activities of the Iraq Survey Group
by David Kay
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I welcome this opportunity to discuss with the
Committee the progress that the Iraq Survey Group has made in its initial three months of its investigation into Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs.
I cannot emphasize too strongly that the Interim Progress Report, which has been made available to you, is a snapshot, in the context of an on --going investigation, of where we are after our first three months of work. The report does not represent a final reckoning of Iraq's WMD programs, nor are we at the point where we are prepared to close the file on any of these programs.
While solid progress -- I would say even remarkable progress considering the conditions that the ISG has had to work under -- has been made in this initial period of operations, much remains to be done.
We are still very much in the collection and analysis mode, still seeking the information and evidence that will allow us to confidently draw comprehensive conclusions to the actual objectives, scope, and dimensions of Iraq's WMD activities at the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Iraq's WMD programs spanned more than two decades, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars, and were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The very scale of this program when coupled with the conditions in Iraq that have prevailed since the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom dictate the speed at which we can move to a comprehensive understanding of Iraq's WMD activities.
We need to recall that in the 1991-2003 period the intelligence community and the UN/IAEA inspectors had to draw conclusions as to the status of Iraq's WMD program in the face of incomplete, and often false, data supplied by Iraq or data collected either by UN/IAEA inspectors operating within the severe constraints that Iraqi security and deception actions imposed or by national intelligence collection systems with their own inherent limitations.
The result was that our understanding of the status of Iraq's WMD program was always bounded by large uncertainties and had to be heavily caveated.
With the regime of Saddam Husayn at an end, ISG has the opportunity for the first time of drawing together all the evidence that can still be found in Iraq -- much evidence is irretrievably lost -- to reach definitive conclusions concerning the true state of Iraq's WMD program.
It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions and, in some areas, we may never reach that goal. The unique nature of this opportunity, however, requires that we take great care to ensure that the conclusions we draw reflect the truth to the maximum extent possible given the conditions in post-conflict Iraq.
We have not yet found stocks of weapons, but we are not yet at the point where we can say definitively either that such weapon stocks do not exist or that they existed before the war and our only task is to find where they have gone.
We are actively engaged in searching for such weapons based on information being supplied to us by Iraqis.
Why are we having such difficulty in finding weapons or in reaching a confident conclusion that they do not exist or that they once existed but have been removed? Our search efforts are being hindered by six principal factors: