Woolsey Wary of More Attacks; Former CIA Director James Woolsey Says the U.S. Could Ensure a More Peaceful World by Toppling Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Ceasing Its Toleration of Mideast Tyrants. (Picture Profile)

By Kaufman, Paula | Insight on the News, June 3, 2002 | Go to article overview

Woolsey Wary of More Attacks; Former CIA Director James Woolsey Says the U.S. Could Ensure a More Peaceful World by Toppling Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Ceasing Its Toleration of Mideast Tyrants. (Picture Profile)


Kaufman, Paula, Insight on the News


The Woolsey family is eternally indebted to the New York Police Department, former director of central intelligence (DCI) R. James Woolsey tells INSIGHT. On Sept. 11 his youngest son, Benjamin, entered the World Trade Center from one of the subway arteries servicing the buildings. That day Benjamin, like thousands of other New Yorkers and many from other places, found themselves suddenly in the pit of hell.

As Woolsey recounts the event through his son's eyes, his expression becomes increasingly dour. Behind Benjamin, he says, was one of New York's Finest unflaggingly ordering everyone to flee from the disaster. When Benjamin looked back, he saw the building he had been in collapse, and he realized that the policeman may have perished in the rubble.

"I felt the shock waves as the third plane hit the Pentagon," the elder Woolsey recalls. He was attending a Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel meeting several miles from the crash site. He rushed to his office to find out if his three children, who by happenstance were all in New York City, had escaped unharmed. They had, and the former DCI counted his blessings.

Woolsey set out immediately to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington to donate blood. But because of the confusion following the terrorist attacks the hospital was not immediately prepared to accept such donations, so Woolsey made his way home to follow the news via television of one of the darkest days in American history.

When the former DCI is asked if he expects more attacks on the U.S. homeland, his reply is "Yes. We can only hope the next one does not involve weapons of mass destruction."

Insight: Let's start with a tough one, Director Woolsey. Will Saddam Hussein be in power one year from today?

James Woolsey: I very much hope not. I would hope that by this autumn we would have rid the region of Saddam.

Insight: When do you anticipate U.S. forces will be deployed in Iraq?

JW: My thinking here--and that is all it is--is that commanders do not want the disadvantage of fighting in the desert in summertime. So sometime in the early fall would be reasonable. First, we need to build our stockpile of smart weapons and prepare logistically to put 100,000 to 200,000 troops on the ground.

Insight: The United Nations sought to limit the range of Iraqi missiles to 150 kilometers [93 miles]. Does Baghdad have longer-range missiles or the ability to develop them?

JW: Yes. Iraq has a small number of Scud-Bs with a range of 300 to 500 kilometers [186 to 310 miles]. They certainly are working on longer-range missiles of 700 to 1,000 kilometers [434 to 620 miles]. Each day that passes, Iraq gets more of an opportunity to build longer-range missiles.

Insight: If unconstrained, could Iraq produce enough fissile material to make a nuclear weapon? If so, when?

JW: Certainly. By 1991, Hussein was just a few months shy of obtaining nuclear capabilities. If the Israelis had not destroyed the Osirik nuclear reactor in 1981, Iraq could have possessed nuclear weapons well before now.

In 1998, President [Bill] Clinton acquiesced to the termination of U.N. Special Commission inspection teams, which were charged with locating and dismantling Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program. So, Saddam has had more than three years to obtain a stockpile of fissionable material.

Saddam's top nuclear scientist, Khidhir Abdul Abas Hamza, who in 1994 defected to the U.S., has claimed that nuclear-weapons equipment and facilities exist all over Iraq, many buried under schools, mosques and the like.

If Saddam has to produce fissionable material himself, it may be another few years. If he buys it, for example from Russian organized crime, he could have a bomb very soon.

Insight: There are reports that plutonium is missing from a Russian nuclear facility. …

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Woolsey Wary of More Attacks; Former CIA Director James Woolsey Says the U.S. Could Ensure a More Peaceful World by Toppling Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Ceasing Its Toleration of Mideast Tyrants. (Picture Profile)
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