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August 05, 2004

Duelfer: Saddam Was Developing Nukes

Stunning news:

Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons development program at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003, chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer has told Congress.

In comments that received virtually no press coverage in the United States, Duelfer testified that Iraq was "preserving and expanding its knowledge to design and develop nuclear weapons." One Iraqi laboratory "was intentionally focused on research applicable for nuclear weapons development," the top weapons inspector said.

...

The former U.N. weapons inspector, who replaced David Kay as head of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group last year, said that Saddam was financing his nuclear program by misappropriating funds from the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program.

Go figure on that one.

According to Duelfer, Saddam was able to use Oil-for-Food to boost his military procurement budget to $500 million annually &$0150; a 100-fold increase from 1996 to 2003.

I don't know what the botched symbol means there, either. There's a mistake here, somewhere. If the original budget was $500 million, then a "100-fold increase" would bring that up to, what?, $50 BILLION a year? That's not possible. Either the first number is too high or the "100-fold" figure is too high.

For now, let's just read: "he increased his budget greatly."

...

Ivan Oelrich, a physicist at the Federation of American Scientists, told the Associated Press at the time that the low-enriched uranium stockpile could have produced enough highly enriched uranium to make a single nuclear bomb.

In March 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney said there was evidence that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, but the claim was widely dismissed by congressional investigators as well as U.S. reporters.


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posted by Ace at 01:42 PM

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