...and it's all over the fan. Eeeewww.
The U.S. Defense Department has confirmed that its own analysts reported last year that they had no reliable information that Iraq had chemical weapons.
However, a Pentagon spokesman said the report prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency, also said it had information suggesting Iraq was producing and stockpiling chemical weapons. And the analysts also said Baghdad definitely had the capability to produce such weapons.
The development come as the Bush administration is denying allegations that it slanted intelligence findings to justify a war against Iraq. The defense official also cautioned that the work of intelligence analysts is subject to the interpretation of political policymakers.
The report would have been one of several analyses of Iraq's weapons threat seen by the White House. The Central Intelligence Agency and other security agencies also briefed the president. News of the report coincides with a Senate investigation into what was known and what was claimed about the threat Iraqi posed before the war started. The Senate Armed Services committee Friday, was holding closed hearings on the matter.
The Bush administration has said repeatedly that it is confident U.S. forces in Iraq will eventually discover concrete evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical weapons.
White House officials said that it was unclear whether President Bush or other administration officials saw the report, but one senior official said the president is confident of his decision to invade Iraq. The president will be proven correct, the official said.
The summary indicates that the intelligence community had concerns about Iraq's activities, including "unusual munitions transfer activity in mid-2002," which it says "suggests that Iraq is distributing CW [chemical weapons] munitions in preparation for an anticipated attack."
"Iraq is steadily establishing a dual-use industrial chemical infrastructure that provides some of the building blocks necessary for production of chemical agents," the summary said.
Military intelligence sources have told CNN that they were concerned about Iraq's production of castor oil and chlorine, especially because those facilities were able to exceed what Iraq may have needed for industrial purposes.
The summary notes that Iraq had renovated and added production lines at two facilities formerly associated with Baghdad's chemical warfare program. Activities at those sites had included reconstruction, salvage operations and equipment movement and deliveries in the months after the expulsion of U.N. weapons inspectors in December 1998.
But the summary indicates the Defense Intelligence Agency questioned whether the program was capable of producing weapons of mass destruction.
"Baghdad is rebuilding portions of its chemical production infrastructure under the guise of a civilian need for pesticides, chlorine and other legitimate chemical products, giving Iraq the potential for a small 'breakout' production capability."
The summary listed a number of factors limiting Iraq's abilities to produce chemical and biological weapons.
"Iraq retains all the chemicals and equipment to produce the blister agent mustard, but its ability for sustained production of G-series nerve agents and VX is constrained by its stockpile of key chemical precursors and by the destruction of all known CW [chemical weapons] production facilities during Operation Desert Storm and during subsequent UNSCOM [U.N. Special Commission] inspections," the document said.
"In the absence of external aid, Iraq will likely experience difficulties in producing nerve agents at the rate executed before Operation Desert Storm."
The senior White House official said that the issue of whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was never debated -- the only question was what to do about them.
Please note the context of his futher comments makes clear that the dipshit "senior White House official" said this is defense of our actions in Iraq.
P.S."Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." -George Bush, State of the Union, January 28, 2003. (Thanks, Billmon.).