U.S. Rejects Iraqi Arms Report; White House Says Weapons of Mass Destruction Were Left out.(PAGE ONE)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 14, 2002 | Go to article overview

U.S. Rejects Iraqi Arms Report; White House Says Weapons of Mass Destruction Were Left out.(PAGE ONE)


Byline: Betsy Pisik, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

NEW YORK - The Bush administration yesterday rejected Iraq's accounting of its weapons of mass destruction, saying that Washington found the 12,000-page declaration incomplete.

"We know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and has programs to create more," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "What's not in the document may be as important as what is in the document."

The White House, conducting its own analysis of the filing, declined to comment specifically on the declaration until after chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix briefs the Security Council on Thursday.

But Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called the Iraqi declaration "a bogus report."

"I don't know how you could put any credibility in any of it," he said.

Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican and incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the inspections a "palliative" for countries that oppose intervention in Iraq.

Without being told where Iraq's biological and chemical weapons are stored, "There's just not a whole lot of confidence in the ability of these people to get the job done," Mr. Lugar told reporters in Washington.

The inspections, he said, are more of "a palliative for many countries who don't want to do anything. It's a time-consumer in a way."

Iraq says it has no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons and that it has no programs to build them.

The U.N. chief of nuclear-weapons safeguards also criticized Iraq's filing, saying most of the document's section dealing with nuclear weapons appeared to be recycled information.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) characterized the 2,100-page section on atomic programs as "material we already had before."

Mr. ElBaradei said he hoped for new information in the roughly 300 pages now being translated from Arabic.

He said it could take a year for inspectors on the ground to determine whether Iraq is free of nuclear weapons, and he made an appeal for patience that appeared at odds with Washington's desire for a quick determination of whether Iraq has honored U. …

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