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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
David Kay Testifies Before Senate Committee
Aired January 28, 2004 - 11:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to interrupt that report, though, and now go live to Washington D.C. John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, making his opening statements before they hear from former weapons inspector David Kay.
Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN THE PROGRESS)
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Dr. Kay volunteered -- and I emphasize that -- volunteered to resume his public service, worked diligently for six months in Iraq under difficult and often dangerous conditions, and just concluded his work last week and reported to the director of Central Intelligence.
I thank you and I thank your wife for public service.
Working with General Dayton and the Iraq Survey Group, ISG, your mission was to search for all facts -- repeat, all facts -- relevant to the many issues about Iraq weapons of mass destruction and related programs. You initiated what was and continues -- I emphasize continues -- to be a very difficult, complex mission that, in your own words, is yet to be completed.
As you cautioned us when you took up this post in July, patience is required to ensure we complete a thorough assessment of this important issue.
In this hearing today we hope to receive your assessment of what has been accomplished to date -- I repeat, to date -- and what in your professional judgment remains to be done by the ISG. It is far too early to reach any final judgments or conclusions.
In recent days, I mentioned, I met with both General Dayton, I've met extensively with you over the recess period, and Mr. Duelfer, and received the assurances of Dayton and Duelfer that they will be prepared to present to the Congress a second official interim report of the ISG group in the time frame of late March.
It is crucial that the important work of the ISG group go on. Thus far the findings have been significant.
Dr. Kay has stated that, although we have not found evidence of large stockpiles of WMD, or forward-deployed weapons, the ISG group have made the following evidence as a part of their record that will be forthcoming: first, evidence of Saddam Hussein's intent to pursue WMD programs on a large scale; actual ongoing chemical and biological research programs; an active program to use the deadly chemical ricin as a weapon, a program that was interrupted only by the start of the war in March; and evidence of missile programs; and evidence that in all probability they were going to build those weapons to incorporate in the warheads, what we know not for sure, but certainly the possibility of weapons of mass destruction; evidence that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute his fledgling nuclear program as late as 2001; and, most important, evidence that clearly indicates Saddam Hussein was conducting a wide range of activities in clear contravention of the United Nations resolutions.
As you recently stated, Dr. Kay -- and I quote you -- "It was reasonable to conclude that Iraq posed an imminent threat. What we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place potentially than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war," end quote.
Further, you said on NBC's "Today Show" on Tuesday that it was, quote, "absolutely prudent for the U.S. to go to war."
Dr. Kay, I concur in those conclusions. I believe a real and growing threat has been eliminated and a coalition of nations acted prudently in the cause of freedom. I'd be interested if you concur in my conclusions.
While some have asserted that the president and his senior advisers may have exaggerated or manipulated prewar intelligence on Iraq's WMD programs, Dr. Kay reached the following conclusion, which I think is different.
As you stated recently, quote, "We have to remember that this view of Iraq (prewar assessment of WMD capabilities) was held during the Clinton administration and did not change in the Bush administration. It is not a political got-you issue. Often estimates are different than reality. The important thing is when they differ to understand why," end quote.
That's precisely why I called this meeting, Dr. Kay, to continue the work of this committee in developing a body of fact from which reasonable people, at the conclusion of that collection of facts, can reach their own objective thoughts and conclusions. It's been a difficult process but the ISG work is not completed.
Now, you have stated that you believe there did not exist large stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. But I hope that you will, in your testimony, indicate that since work is not completed, since Iraq is as big as California and Baghdad approximates the sprawling territory of Los Angeles, that we could find caches and reserves of weapons of mass destruction, chemical or biological or even further evidence about their nuclear program.
We also would hope that you'd address the question of whether or not Saddam Hussein had some kind of, quote, "breakout capability" for quickly producing chemical or biological weapons, and was this not a basis for constituting a conclusion that there was an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein and his military? Why were the Iraqi WMD records systemically looted or destroyed? And why do scientists in custody today continue not to be forthcoming if there was nothing to hide or nothing substantial existed?
The work of the Iraq Survey Group has shown that Saddam Hussein had WMD intentions, had WMD programs that did survive, and did outwit for 12 years the United Nations Security Council and the resolutions -- indeed, the inspections, in large measure.
If, ultimately, the findings of the Iraq Survey Group do differ from the prewar assessments of our intelligence community, differ from assessments of the United Nations, differ from assessments of intelligence services of many other nations, indeed that is cause for concern. But we are not there yet in terms of the totality of fact on which to draw such serious conclusions.
Today and tomorrow, our policy-makers must be able to rely on the intelligence they are provided. The safety and security of the men and women of the armed forces are dependent on intelligence and, indeed, the security of our nation.
So collectively, all of us -- the Congress, the executive branch and other nations -- we must vigorously continue to pursue the collection of the facts, as the ISC is doing, and upon that completion, then draw our conclusions and take such corrective measures as may be necessary.
WARNER; As we speak, over 1,400 individuals -- military and civilian -- are on the ground in Iraq seeking the facts about Iraq's WMD programs. I have confidence in the commitment and the ability of General Dayton, Mr. Duelfer, your successor, and representatives from our coalition partners to complete this mission. They have some of the best and brightest of our military and our intelligence community to complete this task. And Congress has provided the necessary means, a very substantial appropriation of recent.
We remain committed to providing the resources that are necessary for the completion of the ISG work.
Dr. Kay, I thank you for your public service once again.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), RANKING MEMBER, ARMED SERVICES CMTE.: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And let me join you in welcoming Dr. Kay to the hearing and stating our thanks for his work on the Iraq Survey Group.
Dr. Kay's recent reported statements, for example that the intelligence community for wrong about their being stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war; that it is the intelligence community's consensus, he recently said, that the two alleged biological trailers were for hydrogen production, not for producing biological warfare agents; and that Iraq had not reconstituted its nuclear weapons program, stand in sharp contrast to the statements made by the administration before going to war in Iraq. Dr. Kay's recent statements raise serious questions about the accuracy and objectivity of our intelligence and about the administration's public statements before the war that were supposedly based on that intelligence.
Before the war, the administration, in order to support its decision to go to war, made numerous, vivid, unqualified statements about Iraq having in its possession weapons of mass destruction; not programs, not program-related activities, not intentions, actual weapons is what the administration's statements focused on.
For example, on August 26th, 2002, Vice President Cheney gave a major speech about a threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He asserted the following, quote: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us," close quote.
Vice President Cheney was not talking about programs or intentions. He was specifically referring to existing weapons that were being amassed for use against us.
Here's what Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said in his testimony to this committee on September 19, 2002: "Saddam Hussein's amassed large clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons, including anthrax, botulism, toxin and possibly smallpox. He's amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, sarin and mustard gas," close quote.
Notice again, not programs or intentions, it's stockpiles that Saddam Hussein was said to have amassed.
On September 27th, President Bush said that we must make sure that Saddam Hussein, quote, "never has the capacity to use the stockpiles of anthrax that we know he has or VX, the biological weapons, which he possesses," close quote.
Again, not reference to programs or intentions. The representation is stockpiles and weapons in the possession of Saddam Hussein.
On October 7th, 2002, President Bush said that, quote, "Iraq possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons," close quote; possesses and produces, not programs or intentions.
On February 5th, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke at the U.N. and said, quote, "We know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agent to various locations. Most of the launchers and warheads had been hidden in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection.
"There can be no doubt," Secretary Powell said, "no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons, and he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction." Secretary Powell talked about, quote, "the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents." He said that, "We know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like. We know how they fit together. We know how they work. We know a great deal about the platforms on which they are mounted. We know that Iraq has at least seven of these mobile biological agent production factories," close quote.
And then he said, quote, "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agents. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets."
And he followed on by saying, "Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons and we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorized his field commanders to use them," close quote.
Secretary Powell, in other words, spoke of actual weapons, not about program-related activities or intentions.
And on March 11th, 2003, just before the start of the war, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said the following, quote: "We know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours and placing them in residential neighborhoods," close quote.
About two weeks later, Secretary Rumsfeld said, "We know where the weapons of mass destruction are," close quote.
And just in case there was ever any doubt about the reason given for why we went to war, the president's secretary restated the point this way on April 10th, 2003, quote: "Make no mistake, we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and is about. And we have high confidence it will be found," close quote.
Incredibly enough, administration leaders are still saying that we found weapons of mass destruction production facilities.
Just last week, Vice President Cheney said that the two trailers found in Iraq were part of a mobile biological weapons labs program and were, in his words, quote, "conclusive evidence that he did, in fact, have programs for weapons of mass destruction," close quote.
But today's witness, Dr. David Kay, is reported in the New York Times as saying that the consensus in the intelligence community is that those two trailers were for producing hydrogen for weather balloons or possibly rocket fuel, not for biological weapons.
Surely we should find out what the is the basis for Vice President Cheney's recent statement, as well as the basis for the unqualified administration statements made before the war, which I have just quoted.
Unfortunately, as of now, the leadership of the Senate will not allow an inquiry into how the administration characterized the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The Intelligence Committee's inquiry is limited to the question of the production of intelligence. That committee is not looking into how that intelligence was used and characterized by policy-makers.
We will continue to press for an inquiry looking to get the whole story, the full picture. And if the only way to obtain that is to have an outside, independent, nonpartisan commission to conduct a comprehensive and objective review of the entire matter, so be it.
Whether one agreed or disagreed with the decision to proceed to war, and whether one agreed or disagreed with the decision to proceed without the support of the international community acting through the U.N., the case made by the administration for initiating the war against Iraq was not because Iraq had intentions to someday resume production of weapons of mass destruction. It was because they had in their possession weapons of mass destruction.
Although the issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction intentions or ambitions and program-related activities is a serious issue, it is not why we went to war. The case for war was Iraq's possession, production, deployment and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction.
A different case for war against Iraq can be made, but the case which the administration made to the American people was the presence of actual weapons of mass destruction.
When lives are at stake and our military is going to be placed in harm's way -- in other words, when we decide to go to war -- it is totally unacceptable to have intelligence that is this far off or to exaggerate or shape the intelligence for any purpose by anybody.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Dr. Kay, we'll now receive from you any preliminary comments you wish to make.
DAVID KAY, FORMER HEAD, IRAQ SURVEY GROUP: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
As you know and we discussed, I do not have a written statement. This hearing came about very quickly. I do have a few preliminary comments, but I suspect you're more interested in asking questions, and I'll be happy to respond to those questions to the best of my ability.
I would like to open by saying that the talent, dedication and bravery of the staff of the ISG that was my privilege to direct is unparalleled and the country owes a great debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served over there and continue to serve doing that.
A great deal has been accomplished by the team, and I do think -- I echo what you said, Senator -- I think it important that it goes on and it is allowed to reach its full conclusion. In fact, I really believe it ought to be better resourced and totally focused on WMD; that that is important to do it. But I also believe that it is time to begin the fundamental analysis of how we got here, what led us here and what we need to do in order to ensure that we are equipped with the best possible intelligence as we face these issues in the future.
Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.
Senator Kennedy knows very directly. Senator Kennedy and I talked on several occasions prior to the war that my view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq, indeed, had weapons of mass destruction.
I would also point out that many governments that chose not to support this war -- certainly, the French president, Chirac, as I recall in April of last year, referred to Iraq's possession of WMD. The German certainly -- the intelligence service believed that there were WMD.
It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing.
We're also in a period in which we've had intelligence surprises in the proliferation area that go the other way. The case of Iran, a nuclear program that the Iranians admit was 18 years on, that we underestimated. And, in fact, we didn't discover it. It was discovered by a group of Iranian dissidents outside the country who pointed the international community at the location.
The Libyan program recently discovered was far more extensive than was assessed prior to that.
There's a long record here of being wrong. There's a good reason for it. There are probably multiple reasons. Certainly proliferation is a hard thing to track, particularly in countries that deny easy and free access and don't have free and open societies.
In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441. Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities: one last chance to come clean about what it had.
We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material.
I think the aim -- and certainly the aim of what I've tried to do since leaving -- is not political and certainly not a witch-hunt at individuals. It's to try to direct our attention at what I believe is a fundamental fault analysis that we must now examine.
And let me take one of the explanations most commonly given: Analysts were pressured to reach conclusions that would fit the political agenda of one or another administration. I deeply think that is a wrong explanation.
As leader of the effort of the Iraqi Survey Group, I spent most of my days not out in the field leading inspections. It's typically what you do at that level. I was trying to motivate, direct, find strategies.
In the course of doing that, I had innumerable analysts who came to me in apology that the world that we were finding was not the world that they had thought existed and that they had estimated. Reality on the ground differed in advance. And never -- not in a single case -- was the explanation, "I was pressured to do this." The explanation was, very often, "The limited data we had led one to reasonably conclude this. I now see that there's another explanation for it."
And each case was different, but the conversations were sufficiently in depth and our relationship was sufficiently frank that I'm convinced that, at least to the analysts I dealt with, I did not come across a single one that felt it had been, in the military term, "inappropriate command influence" that led them to take that position.
It was not that. It was the honest difficulty based on the intelligence that had -- the information that had been collected that led the analysts to that conclusion.
And you know, almost in a perverse way, I wish it had been undue influence, because we know how to correct that.
We get rid of the people who, in fact, were exercising that.
The fact that it wasn't tells me that we've got a much more fundamental problem of understanding what went wrong, and we've got to figure out what was there. And that's what I call fundamental fault analysis.
And like I say, I think we've got other cases other than Iraq. I do not think the problem of global proliferation of weapons technology of mass destruction is going to go away, and that's why I think it is an urgent issue.
And let me really wrap up here with just a brief summary of what I think we are now facing in Iraq. I regret to say that I think at the end of the work of the ISG there's still going to be an unresolvable ambiguity about what happened.
A lot of that traces to the failure on April 9th to establish immediately physical security in Iraq -- the unparalleled looting and destruction, a lot of which was directly intentional, designed by the security services to cover the tracks of the Iraq WMD program and their other programs as well, a lot of which was what we simply called Ali Baba looting. "It had been the regime's. The regime is gone. I'm going to go take the gold toilet fixtures and everything else imaginable."
I've seen looting around the world and thought I knew the best looters in the world. The Iraqis excel at that.
The result is -- document destruction, is we're really not going to be able to prove beyond a truth the negatives and some of the positive conclusions that we're going to come to. There will be always unresolved ambiguity here.
But I do think the survey group -- and I think Charlie Duelfer is a great leader. I have the utmost confidence in Charles. I think you will get as full an answer as you can possibly get.
And let me just conclude by my own personal tribute, both to the president and to George Tenet, for having the courage to select me to do this, and my successor Charlie Duelfer as well.
Both of us are known for probably at times regrettable streak of independence. I came not from within the administration, and it was clear and clear in our discussions and no one asked otherwise that I would lead this the way I thought best and I would speak the truth as we found it. I have had absolutely no pressure prior, during the course of the work at the ISG, or after I left to do anything otherwise.
I think that shows a level of maturity and understanding that I think bodes well for getting to the bottom of this. But it is really up to you and your staff, on behalf of the American people, to take on that challenge. It's not something that anyone from the outside can do. So I look forward to these hearings and other hearings at how you will get to the conclusions.
I do believe we have to understand why reality turned out to be different than expectations and estimates.
But you have more public service -- certainly many of you -- than I have ever had, and you recognize that this is not unusual.
I told Senator Warner earlier that I've been drawn back as a result of recent film of reminding me of something. At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the combined estimate was unanimity in the intelligence service was that there was no Soviet warheads in Cuba at the time of the missile crisis.
Fortunately, President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy disagreed with the estimate and chose a course of action less ambitious and aggressive than recommended by their advisers.
But the most important thing about that story, which is not often told is that as a result, after the Cuban Missile Crisis, immediate steps were taken to correct our inability to collect on the movement of nuclear material out of the Soviet Union to other places.
So that by the end of the Johnson administration, the intelligence community had a capability to do what it had not been able to do at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I think you face a similar responsibility in ensuring that the community is able to do a better job in the future than it has done in the past.
Senator, I'm happy to answer your questions.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
Colleagues, we'll go to a round of six minutes. In the event there's a vote, it's my intention to continue the hearing on a rotation basis as members come and go, so we have continuity.
Doctor, I assure you that the Congress, this committee, the Intelligence Committee under Senator Roberts, Senator Rockefeller, and Senator Levin and I, will pursue this. But we'll wait until such time as the work of the Intelligence Committee -- we both serve on that committee -- is completed, we've had a chance to analyze it. And then, we'll sit down to determine what the next step may be.
But bottom line, and you've emphasized it, and that is that we've got to make such corrections as we deem necessary to the intelligence system, for the security of this country, for the safety of the men and women in uniform who today and tonight and tomorrow and for the definite future will be out there taking risks in the cause of freedom. So I assure you, it will be done.
Now, I want to pick up on your comment that we were all wrong. Let's stop to think about that. We agreed, you and I -- we've had extensive discussions -- that the work of the ISG has got to continue; correct?
WARNER: That given the size of Iraq, California, the size of Baghdad, Los Angeles, we could discover some facts that would confirm the conclusions that were reached by the intelligence community -- not only in this country, but in other nations -- in the future. Am I not correct in that assumption?
KAY: I certainly think that's a theoretical possibility. Yes, Senator Warner.
WARNER: So maybe we'd better not pronounce, "We're all wrong," yet. Because I think I think, until we have finished the work, the ISG and the other nations that are working with us with the ISG, I think we'd better hold such conclusion in abeyance. That would be my thought.
KAY: Senator Warner, may I only add, look, it would be totally out of character for me to be against continued investigation in almost any area. That's my life.
I believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has been sufficiently intense that it is highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed militarized chemical and biological weapons there.
Is it theoretically possible in a country as vast as that that they've hidden? It's theoretically possible, but we went after this not in the way of trying to find where the weapons are hidden. When you don't find them in the obvious places, you look to see: Were they produced? Were there people that produced them? Were there the inputs to the production process? And you do that and you eliminate.
That's what I mean by unresolved ambiguity. When the ISG wraps up its work, whether it be six months or six years from now, there are still going to be people to say, "You didn't look everywhere. Isn't it possible it was hidden someplace?" And the answer has got to be, honestly, "Yes, it's possible." But you try to eliminate that by this other process.
And when I reached the conclusion -- which I admit is partial and is purely mine -- that I think there were no large stockpiles of WMD, it's based on that process.
But I agree, we're not in disagreement at all: The search must continue.
WARNER: But the operative word in your assumption is "large." Several small caches could constitute an imminent threat; am I not correct in that?
KAY: And that's always possible, and I doubt that we will ever -- I mean, it's possible that they could be there and we could never find them.
WARNER: All right. Let's give this process a chance to continue. And I think that...
WARNER: And we agree that there could be the discovery in some future date of the evidence which confirms, perhaps not in totality but in part, the conclusions of the international intelligence community.
So we leave open that option. But let's go back to your other statement that you feel that perhaps as much as 85 percent of the work of the ISG has been completed. Am I correct in that?
KAY: I've said, I think 85 percent of the major elements of the Iraqi program are probably known. That's about 85 percent of the total volume.
WARNER: But in our discussions, you've emphasized that 15 percent yet to be done could yield productive evidence that's just as important to what you've accumulated or not accumulated to date.
KAY: Senator Warner, that's certainly true, particularly with regard to the foreign countries and individuals that assisted that program which remain a continuing threat in other countries, unless we know fully who they were and what they contributed.
WARNER: Clearly that at the outbreak of the war or prior thereto and during the war an awful lot of destruction of documents took place and perhaps other tangible evidence. Today, the persons who were most likely involved in weapons programs, most likely to have the knowledge, are refusing to talk.
Does that not lend itself to an assumption that there had to be something there, otherwise they wouldn't have gone about so methodically to destroy all the records and are refusing to talk?
KAY: Senator Warner, you're absolutely -- I think -- and I think I've said, but let me be absolutely clear about it -- Iraq was in clear and material violation of 1441. They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their program. So there was a lot they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing that was illegal. I hope we find even more evidence of that.
WARNER: Part of that program were missiles; clearly, clearly, in defiance of the U.M. resolution in terms of range. They had the potential to incorporate in those warheads, although small quantities, nevertheless very lethal types of WMD. Am I not correct in that?
KAY: You're absolutely correct.
WARNER: Could you say that the work thus far of the ISG -- and I recounted a number of things, including the ricin and so forth in my opening statement -- does that not lend itself to the understanding, the conclusion that Saddam Hussein and this military machine under his control posed an imminent threat...
WARNER: ... to the neighbors...
WARNER: ... to those beyond the parameter of the neighbors?
KAY: Senator Warner, I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and the removal of Saddam Hussein. I have said I actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought.
I think when we have the complete record you're going to discover that after 1998 it became a regime that was totally corrupt. Individuals were out for their own protection. And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood at some point in the future of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country than even we anticipated with what may turn out not to be a fully accurate estimate.
WARNER: Thank you, Dr. Kay.
LEVIN: Dr. Kay, on the question of stockpiles you have stated, I believe, that in your opinion Iraq did not have large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in 2002. Is that correct?
KAY: That's correct, Senator. LEVIN: Do you have any evidence that they had any stockpiles, large or small, in 2002?
KAY: We simply have no evidence, Senator.
LEVIN: You've not uncovered any evidence of small stockpiles?
KAY: We've not uncovered any small stockpiles, that's correct.
LEVIN: Have you uncovered any evidence that they had small stockpiles in 2002?
KAY: We've got evidence that they certainly could have produced small amounts, but we've not discovered evidence of the stockpiles.
LEVIN: On the question of the vans, according to the New York Times on January 26th, you indicated that there's a consensus in the intelligence community that the trailers that were found were intended to produce hydrogen for weather balloons or possibly rocket fuel, but not for producing biological warfare agents.
LEVIN: Was that an accurate report of your position?
KAY: That's probably not my exact words, but roughly accurate.
I think the consensus opinion is that when you look at those two trailers, while had capabilities in many areas, their actual intended use was not for the production of biological weapons.
LEVIN: Now, on January 22nd, just a week ago, Vice President Cheney said that, "We know, for example, that prior to our going in, he had spent time and effort acquiring mobile biological weapons labs and we're quite confident he did, in fact, have such a program. We found a couple of semi-trailers at this point which we believe were, in fact, part of that program. And I would deem that conclusive evidence, if you will, that he did, in fact, have programs for weapons of mass destruction."
Now, those vans, according to the vice president one week ago, are conclusive evidence that he had weapons. And yet you're saying that the consensus in the intelligence community is that those vans were for some nonweapons-related purpose. They were either for weather balloons, for hydrogen or rocket fuel, but not for weapons of mass destruction.
Do you know what intelligence Vice President Cheney is relying on when he tells the public a week ago -- not before the war, when everyone -- they were all wrong before the war, but now, a week ago, still saying that those vans are conclusive evidence that there was a biological weapons program?
My question: Do you know what intelligence Vice President Cheney was relying on one week ago when he made that statement to the American people?
KAY: Well, Senator Levin, if you want the short answer and the obvious answer, as you probably know, is, "Am I aware of what the vice president was reading a week ago?" I'm not.
KAY: If you'll let me...
LEVIN: Have you seen intelligence which would support that conclusion?
KAY: Yes, I have.
In fact, if you had asked me, as I think in fact, you did or members of Senator Robert's committee certainly did in July and August, this has been a source of real struggle with regard to those vans. There was a point during the process when I would have said the consensus opinion is that they were for biological weapons. It's been an ongoing struggle to understand those two vans and it's been a shifting target with that regard.
LEVIN: And now, I understand that shifting target thing. I'm talking about right now you've said that the consensus in the intelligence community is that those vans are not related. Is that a correct statement which you just gave here this morning? Is that the consensus opinion in the intelligence community now?
KAY: It is my view of the consensus opinion. But there are no doubt, given the nature of opinions, people out there who hold a different opinion.
LEVIN: All right. But in your judgment, the consensus in the intelligence community now is that those are not biological weapons vans?
KAY: That is my personal judgment. Others may well hold a different one.
LEVIN: All right.
I think it's critically important that we find out the basis of the vice president's statement -- I'm saying this to our chairman, not to you -- that we find out the basis of the vice president's statement because this is where intelligence becomes so important. If there's intelligence out there that still supports the conclusion with certainty, "We're confident he had a" -- he deems this conclusive evidence that he had programs for weapons of mass destruction. This is a week ago.
Now, we've got to find out what the basis, it seems to me, of that statement is. This is the vice president's statement. And I would ask the chairman that we ask the vice president for the basis of that statement which he made publicly just about a week ago.
WARNER: Would the senator yield on that point?
LEVIN: First, if I could, just ask our chairman whether or not we could ask the vice president for the basis of that statement that was made a week ago?
WARNER: I think I have an answer for you, if you... LEVIN: Well, I'd like to hear it, frankly, from the vice president in writing.
WARNER: Well, let's, we've got to continue here, colleagues. I'm going to ask the indulgence of the committee while the chair requests the committee action on the following list of military nominations.
Quorum now being present, I ask the committee consider a list of 4,763 pending military nominations. Nominations have been before the committee the required length of time and no objectives have been raised regarding them.
Is there a motion to favorably report the 4,763 nominations to the Senate?
WARNER: All in favor, say, "Aye."
LEVIN: My final question, Dr. Kay, subject to the chair perhaps commenting on my request, is this: Is it your judgment that the aluminum tubes that Iraq was trying to acquire were intended or used for a centrifuge program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons? Is that your view?
KAY: Senator Levin, this is an area which falls into what Senator Warner referred to -- where I think it's important that the investigation continue.
It is my judgment, based on the evidence that was collected, but there clearly can be more, that it's more than probable that those tubes were intended for use in a conventional missile program, rather than in a centrifuge program. But it's an open question still being investigated.
LEVIN: But that is your judgment, that they were not related to uranium enrichment?
KAY: That is my personal judgment, that they probably were not, based on evidence -- but there's still more evidence possible to gain.
LEVIN: One short, final question, my second final question: In your judgment, had Iraq reconstituted its nuclear weapon program in the way you understand the word "reconstitute"?
KAY: It was in the early stages of renovating the program, building new buildings. It was not a reconstituted, full-blown nuclear program. LEVIN: Thank you.
WARNER: Senator, I will take under consideration your request.
I think Senator Roberts, when it becomes his turn, may have a statement that's relevant to it.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Dr. Kay, for your service to our country for many years. We're very proud to have people like you who are willing to serve the country.
Dr. Kay, you find yourself today in a very highly charged political environment. And you are by nature a scientist, and not one who's familiar with these kinds of passions around an election year. And I think it's important to establish your belief and that of the overwhelming body of intelligence and the intelligence community, both here, overseas and in the Clinton administration, the following facts.
Saddam Hussein developed and used weapons of mass destruction; true?
MCCAIN: He used them against the Iranians and the Kurds; just yes or no.
KAY: Oh, yes.
And U.N. inspectors found enormous quantities of banned chemical and biological weapons in Iraq in the '90s.
KAY: Yes, sir.
MCCAIN: We know that Saddam Hussein had once a very active nuclear program.
MCCAIN: And he realized and had ambitions to develop and use weapons of mass destruction.
MCCAIN: So the point is, if he were in power today, there is no doubt that he would harbor ambitions for the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. Is there any doubt in your mind?
KAY: There's absolutely no doubt. And I think I've said that, Senator.
MCCAIN: Good. But it's important to emphasize this point when we look at what has obviously been an intelligence failure.
KAY: I agree.
MCCAIN: When you answered a question from Reuters, "What happened to the stockpiles of chemical and bioweapons that everyone expected to be there?," your answer was simple: quote, "I don't think they existed."
So what needs to be established here is that when we -- at least, I believe is your view and certainly mine -- as you just stated, America, the world and Iraq is a far better and safer place with Saddam Hussein gone from power. And the sacrifice made by American citizens, and that are serving and sacrificing today was not only worth it, but very important to the future of the Middle East and to the world. Do you share that?
KAY: That's certainly true, Senator. I probably learned not to speak to wire reporters and even to watch out for senators who want one-word answers.
KAY: It tends to compress complex issues.
MCCAIN: But you agree with the fundamental principle here that what we did was justified and enhance the security of the United States and the world by removing Saddam Hussein from power?
MCCAIN: OK. That's important to establish, because now in this political season, those are attempting to be mixed that because we didn't find the weapons of mass destruction, therefore the conflict was not justified. That's why I think it's important to establish those salient facts.
Now, but obviously, we were wrong, as you said. Now, why were we wrong?
KAY: Senator, I wouldn't pretend that I know all the answers or even know all the questions to get at that.
KAY: I am convinced that that is the important forefront of the inquiry that, quite frankly, you must undertake.
I've got hypotheses of where I think things generically have occurred. I think we became almost addicted to the incredible amount of effort that UNSCOM and U.N. inspectors could produce on the scene and that flow of information...
MCCAIN: Including intelligence gained by the previous administration.
KAY: That's correct. And did not develop our own HUMINT sources there. Now, this really goes back, quite frankly -- the change took place if you look at it goes back to the Carter administration, when, as a result of things that had occurred in the Vietnam area, essentially our HUMINT capability was spun down and we got in the habit of relying on intelligence collected by liaison services.
If a liaison -- an individual from another country, gets caught as a spy it doesn't make the front page of The Washington Post or New York Times, it's not politically embarrassing and, quite frankly, you don't have a dead American. So there are good reasons to do it.
More importantly, and things that I think you've got to worry about, we have all stressed, why didn't the intelligence community connect the dots prior to 9/11? It all looks very clear in retrospect.
Quite frankly, the most common problem you have with analysts is you do not want them to overanalyze the data. If there are only a few dots connected, maybe they don't belong connected.
I'm convinced in this area, partly because of Iraqi behavior -- to a large extent because of Iraqi behavior -- they cheated, they lied, we knew it, UNSCOM, the U.N. had caught them -- we got in the habit of new pieces of information accreted to this overall consensus view without challenging that consensus.
MCCAIN: Do you believe that those that provided false intelligence estimates ought to be held accountable?
MCCAIN: Do you believe that we need an independent, outside investigation?
MCCAIN: You don't have to answer that if you don't choose to, Dr. Kay.
KAY: No. It's -- you know...
MCCAIN: It's not a fair question.
KAY: It's really what goes to the heart of the integrity of our own process. I generally believe that it's important to acknowledge failure.
I also think we've got enough history to understand that closed orders and secret societies, whether they be religious or governmental, are the groups that have the hardest time reforming themselves in the face of failure without outside input.
I must say my personal view -- and it's purely personal -- is that in this case, it will -- you will finally determine that it is going to take an outside inquiry both to do it and to give yourself and the American people the confidence that you have done it. MCCAIN: Not only for what happened in the past, but so that we can rely on intelligence in the future.
KAY: I would say entirely with regard to the future. Witch- hunting is not a profitable inquiry. It is for the future that you need this.
MCCAIN: Well, again, every once in awhile we get a chance to see again someone who has served this country with a distinction and honor and courage and we thank you, Dr. Kay.
KAY: Thank you, Senator.
WARNER: Thank you, Senator McCain.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Kay.
And I join in all of those that thank you for your service to the country. It is impressive indeed. And we thank you for your appearance here before the committee.
Now, the real question, Dr. Kay, is whether there was a greater failure than a failure of intelligence.
Yesterday, you said, "If anyone was abused by the intelligence, it was the president of the United States rather than the other way around."
But Greg Thielmann, the former director of the Office of Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, stated last July, "Some of the fault lies with the performance of the intelligence community, but most of it lies with the way senior officials misused the information they were provided."
He said, "They surveyed the data, picked out what they liked. The whole thing was bizarre."
The secretary of defense had this huge defense intelligence agency and he went around it.
In fact, on the question of Iraq's chemical weapons program, the Defense Intelligence Agency got it exactly right. In the September 2002 -- according to the February 2nd, 2004, edition of The New Republic, an agent's report stated, "There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons or where Iraq has or will establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities."
Yet the president told the United Nations in September 2002 that Iraq likely maintained stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents. The next month the State Department said that the evidence was inadequate to support a judgment that a nuclear power had been restarted. It said it was impossible to project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not now see happening.
Yet in October 7th speech, 2002, in Ohio, President Bush said, "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium larger than a single softball it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year."
And then in September, the Department of Energy had serious concerns about whether the famous aluminum tubes had anything to do with the Iraqis' nuclear programs, yet Secretary Powell used the information in his speech before the United Nations.
In October last year, the CIA sent two memos to the White House voicing strong doubts about the reliability of claims that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear materials from Africa, but the president still used the statement in his State of the Union, attributed to the British intelligence.
Many of us feel that the evidence so far leads only to one conclusion: that what has happened was more than a failure of intelligence, it was the result of manipulation of the intelligence to justify a decision to go to war.
Now, did you have the access to those different intelligence reports as a civilian?
KAY: Yes, Senator, I had full access to everything in the intelligence community with regard to Iraq.
KENNEDY: You had it with regard to the State Department's intelligence and the Department of Energy?
KENNEDY: All of those with their conclusions that I've read -- just summaries of their conclusions?
KAY: I had that, as well as the individuals. I had on my team members of the Department of Energy who had, in fact, participated in writing that view.
KENNEDY: Well, do you see -- can you give us any explanation of why these agencies, in retrospect, appear to have had it right and the information that the administration used appeared to have it wrong?
KENNEDY: What weight was given to these reports when you look at in retrospect and when you have a number of those that where involved in the reports believing that the information reports were used selectively to justify a policy decision to take the country to war?
KAY: Senator Kennedy, it's impossible in a short time I have to reply to take you through fully that. And in fact, that's my hope that Senator Roberts and his committee will have done that.
But let me just say that while it -- there's a selecting process that goes on both ways. There were people in the DOE who believed that those aluminum tubes were indeed for a centrifuge program. It's a lot easier after the fact and after you know the truth to be selective that you were right. I've gone through this a lot in my career.
All I can say is if you read the total body of intelligence in the last 12 to 15 years that flowed on Iraq, I quite frankly think it would be hard to come to a conclusion other than Iraq was a gathering, serious threat to the world with regard to WMD.
And I remind you, it was Secretary Cohen who stood, I think, in this very committee room with five pounds of flour and talked about anthrax.
KENNEDY: That's -- just to come back as we have limited time, "gathering, serious threat"; do you really think that that is -- those are the words that brought us to war, those were the words that justified us going into war, "gathering, serious threat"?
KAY: Senator, that's probably far more in your realm than in my realm.
I'll take Senator's McCain's defense of I being a naive in the world of politics.
KENNEDY: Well, I appreciate your response and I appreciate your appearance here.
I think that when we look at who has the responsibility, I think it's fair enough to look not only what the intelligence, but all the intelligence agencies, and as Senator Levin, how that intelligence was used. I think that is going to be the key to find out just what representations were made and the reasons why they were made, because I think on the basis of the information we have now, I think it's difficult to draw a conclusion that it wasn't -- that it was used selectively and in many instances manipulated to carry on a policy decision.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Thank you, Senator Kennedy.
Colleagues, just an administrative announcement: We had scheduled this morning a 9:30 hearing on three nominations for the Department of Defense. It was my judgment, given the uncertainty of the weather, we could not hold it at 9:30.
This committee will meet at 4 o'clock for the purpose of considering Mr. DiRita to be nominated assistant secretary of defense public affairs, Mr. Harvey, assistant secretary of defense for network integration, Mr. Chatfield to be director of the Selective Service. I do hope as many as possible can attend. Thank you very much.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAMHOMA: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And, Dr. Kay, I repeat everything that has been said about you and your service and I appreciate it. I appreciate also the private conversations we've had and you being very straightforward.
Just out of curiosity -- and this is something you may have a difficult time answering cause you're trying to get into somebody else's mind -- but in our conversations when we talked a year ago now, a year ago this month I believe, about the fact that there were weapons of mass destruction, we knew he had used weapons of mass destruction.
Then last week, there was an article where you were quoted to say the contemporary documents proved Iraq destroyed the weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s.
INHOFE: Just out of curiosity, do you have any idea of why Saddam Hussein did not come forth with that evidence when it would have served to his benefit to do so?
KAY: Senator, we wrestled hours with trying to get an explanation for Iraqi, and particularly Saddam's behavior, when in fact his rule was at stake and why he didn't do something else.
I think most of us come down on two essential issues. He did not want to appear to the rest of the Arab world as having caved in to the U.S. and the U.N., so the creative ambiguity of maintaining weapons was important to him and his view of Iraq, and particularly himself and the rest of world.
And the second is, domestic politics. We often forget that he used chemical weapons against the Kurds and the Shia. And that was a continuing threat to him and he thought that that in fact gave him leverage against it. That's our best explanation.
INHOFE: And that's a very good answer. I appreciate that.
Senator Levin talked about large caches of weapons of mass destruction. And then, Senator Warner talked about some small ones. You know, I think back and I can recall, and it was about a year ago now -- it was in January, I believe, that they found 11 chemical rockets that had the capabilities of holding 140 liters of something like VX gas, which he had used in the past.
Now, if we found those rockets and they could carry 140 liters of VX, which all the professional people in discussing this said could kill a million people, why is that not considered a weapon of mass destruction?
KAY: Well, I think, Senator, the reason -- and we actually found additional warheads during...
INHOFE: Some 36 after that, I think. Yes. KAY: Yes, afterwards.
Look, clearly they were in violation not having declared those and turned them over. But there was no evidence that the warheads themselves had ever been filled. But they were in violation of 1441. They possessed those, and they should have declared them and allowed the U.N. to destroy them.
INHOFE: Yes, because I consider that to be a weapon of -- anything that can potentially kill a million people is a weapon of mass destruction.
Now, let me -- the third question that I have is you are quoted in saying that you believe Hussein had been pursuing a course of constructive ambiguity -- this before the war -- bluffing about having weapons to give the illusion of power and to put up a deterrent. And your quote was, "Saddam wanted to enjoy the benefit of having chemical or biological weapons without having to pay the costs."
Now, in other articles, you had suggested that Saddam was being deceived by scientists who duped him into funding non-existent programs. You're quoted as saying, "Whatever was left in an effective weapons capability was largely subsumed into corrupt money-raising schemes by scientists skilled in the arts of lying in a police state."
Well, some have said there's some inconsistency there. Which of those do you think is the case? That he thought he had them or that he knew he didn't have them and was bluffing?
KAY: I certainly -- Saddam being deceived was a common phenomena after 1998 and it crossed all areas, not just WMD, as it became a more corrupt society.
I don't see -- I remember the New York Times editorial, which sees an inconsistency between doing that. I actually don't see it. I think it's he knew he had the capability. He wanted to enjoy the benefits of others thinking he had it. The deception related to more advanced programs, and that's where it continued up until the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
INHOFE: I appreciate that very much. Thank you for your responses.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
Senator Robert Byrd just informed me that he is required to be on the floor for the vote and other reasons. I will put into the record his questions, and I thank you very much.
Well, now, Senator Roberts is not here. Senator Reed.
Let's see, Senator Clinton?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And Dr. Kay, I join with my colleagues in thanking you for your public service. And it's with great admiration that I have followed your service over a number of years, and I thank you greatly.
I just wanted to clarify a few other comments that have been reported in the press just to get the record clear in my own mind. There were some references to your decision to leave the effort due to the failure to have the full complement of analysts, translators, interrogators and others to work with you.
And I know that that was a concern that had been expressed to this committee and others because of the movement of people out of the group into counterinsurgency efforts.
CLINTON: Was that a factor in either impacting the quality and substance of the search or your decision to step down?
KAY: Senator Clinton, there were two factors that led me to decide it was the appropriate time to return to private life. When I agreed to take on this job, I had only two conditions. As you know well, when you negotiate with the federal government, salary is not one of the things you can negotiate back.
I said there were two things that were important to me. One is that the instrument we were going to use, the Iraqi Survey Group, be totally focused on elimination of WMD as long as we carried out that mission.
That was based on two facts.
One, my experience with the federal government is that when you have multiple masters and multiple tasks, you get the typical interagency mush and you don't get directive action, and I didn't think we had the time to do that.
The second was -- and I told George Tenet directly this -- by undertaking this task from the president of investigating and trying to determine reality compared to your estimates, you are going to run a moral hazard -- the moral hazard of self investigation. And that the only way I was willing to be a party to that is that I had the independence to choose the instrument that was going to be doing it and I had the resources that were necessary to do it. And that was agreed.
By September, I was in the process of running battles both with the DOD and with the intelligence community that wanted to redirect resources and the activities of the ISG to the looming political insecurity crisis that was Baghdad.
I perfectly understood the difficulty we were having. I lived there. I knew how hazardous it was. I just thought the ISG and those resources were inappropriate for it.
By November, I had lost that battle. The decision had been made to give ISG parallel priorities in addition to WMD, and resources were being halved off. And at that point, I did what I had said in June when I took the job: I'm simply not prepared to run that moral hazard for myself or for someone else under those conditions.
KAY: No big surprise and no anger on my part. You know, it was clear going on, it's actually in writing, on those two points when the administration felt that it couldn't live up to that any longer because of the security situation, which I fully understood. I thought it best to let someone else who I have great respect for and has capabilities -- I think he can do it -- take on the job.
CLINTON: Well, Dr. Kay, I appreciate your explanation.
But it raises two additional questions, at least in my mind, that -- we have addressed one before and that is whether we had enough resources on the ground to begin with. Making this Hobson's choice as to whether to continue with the full complement of resources and personnel you required and were agreed to be given to you to pursue this important task or having to divert because we didn't have enough resources on the ground to do the other job illustrates clearly the confusion at the very center of this whole enterprise post-military action.
But it raises an additional concern to me, which is that this wasn't a priority. You know, if you have a real priority, you figure out how to meet that priority.
And I think that the administration's decision to divert resources and personnel speaks volumes about what they really thought was at stake. I think by, certainly, November, if not by September, the fact that so much of the documentary evidence had been destroyed in the looting; the preliminary reports that you provided the Congress -- the administration prestaged what has become the final conclusion you've reached -- that we were not going to find such evidence of weapons of mass destruction, certainly raises for me serious questions about the real intention of the administration to begin with.
Secondly, I'm very interested in what you have concluded about the Iraqi decisions to abandon production of WMD because of the U.N. inspection process, that during the 1990s, in fact, the international community's effort to discover and destroy Saddam's weapons was working. Is that a fair statement of your findings?
KAY: It's compressed, but fair. And I must say, I had, as you know, because you were there, I had a number of former U.N. inspectors working for me. We often sat around and said that, you know, it turned out we were better than we thought we were in terms of the Iraqis feared that we had capabilities and although they took tremendous steps to try to compromise us and to lie, in fact, the U.N. inspection process achieved quite a bit.
CLINTON: And of course, my time has expired, but I think that rightly does raise questions that we should be examining about whether or not the U.N. inspection process pursuant to 1441 might not also have worked without the loss of life that we have confronted both among our own young men and women, as well as Iraqis.
KAY: Well, Senator Clinton, let me just add to that. We have had a number of Iraqis who have come forward and said, "We did not tell the U.N. about what we were hiding, nor would we have told the U.N. because we would run the risk of our own" -- I think we have learned things that no U.N. inspector would have ever learned given the terror regime of Saddam and the tremendous personal consequences that scientists had to run by speaking the truth.
That's not to say, and it's not incompatible with the fact that inspections accomplish a great deal in holding a program down. And that's where the surprise is.
In holding the program down, in keeping it from break out, I think the record is better than we would have anticipated. I don't think the record is necessarily better than we thought with regard to getting the final truth, because of the power of the terrorist state that Saddam Hussein had.
CLINTON: Thank you.
WARNER: Senator, that question you raised is an important one, and our witness addressed it and gave his views about the resources.
But I would withhold any final judgment on that issue until we have before this committee, General Dayton and General Abizaid.
I talked with General Dayton two weeks ago extensively about this issue. He has a somewhat different perspective than our distinguished witness. And as recently as last night, I talked to General Abizaid and he likewise has respectfully a different view.
But there is one point that you all concur on, and that is there came a time in that fall period when we were losing brave soldiers, death, wounded and otherwise, and General Abizaid felt that he had to call upon some of your people who had capabilities and who indeed were on an ongoing basis contributing intelligence from your work to the war of trying to stop the insurrection in Iraq.
KAY: Senator Warner, as you understand, competing priorities are the hardest choice that a military commander, others have to make.
What most people don't understand -- but I know you do -- is how genuinely short we are as a nation of people with certain limited capabilities.
KAY: For example, intelligence officers who speak Arabic, there are more people in this room -- or there were at the beginning -- than we have in the intelligence community who are actually case officers who speak Arabic.
That's not a surprise. The committee's -- Senator, the Intelligence Committee has addressed it before. The fact is we've done a very poor job of addressing it.
And like I say, I have no anger or bitterness about it. It was simply a fact of life. We peeled resources away.
WARNER: But I think you also concurred that the urgency of the loss of life and limb...
WARNER: ... among the coalition forces dictated bringing together quickly such resources it could to try and stem the tide of that loss.
KAY: That was certainly General Abizaid's judgment.
WARNER: And I thank you.
I'll go vote. And colleague, I will tell...
SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, if you're going to go vote, I'm not safe staying.
As long as you're here, I know they won't call that vote.
WARNER: Well, I realize that. But I'll guarantee you, you're going to be protected.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: I will just be brief.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I know that -- I think everybody on this committee believed that there was weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Very few doubted it. And I remember very distinctly the most tough questioner on that was Chairman Warner. And he would ask every major witness, When this war is over, are you going to find weapons of mass destruction there? I believe he did it a half a dozen times.
General Abizaid recently testified that after he was asked that question, he went back to CENTCOM, called all his staff officers in and said, "Senator Warner asked me this and are we going to find it?" And everyone told him that they would.
So I don't feel like there's any deliberate activities here that would indicate that the president or somebody's trying to manipulate intelligence.
In fact, I felt always that the strongest argument for taking military action was the fact that the war of '91 really never ended. We were shooting at the Iraqis. They were dropping bombs on. They were shooting at our planes. They were in violation of U.N. resolutions. They had promised to eliminate weapons of mass destruction as part of that '91 agreement for -- stop the American attack on Baghdad, and they didn't comply with that.
And they were pressured in the world to quit embargoing the people of Iraq. They were suffering. And we had to make a decision. Were we going to allow them to not comply with the agreement they made to end that war, allow them to be free to build weapons of mass destruction and threaten the neighborhood, or were we going to act on the U.N. resolutions? Did those resolutions have any value at all?
But anyway -- so the president, I think could have justified action on that basis had he chose to. I think that indicates to me he clearly believed there were weapons of mass destruction there or he could have used other arguments.
I guess, Dr. Kay, your view is that Saddam Hussein, in his own mind, had expansionistic and intentions with regard to the world, and that he felt that the possession or threat of weapons of mass destruction enhanced that ability to be a powerful force in the region?
KAY: Absolutely right, Senator. I think, both in the region, and he thought of them as a potential weapon to use against his own citizens to enforce compulsion and agreement. I mean, the Kurds and the Shia were threats to Saddam and he recognized them, and he had used chemical weapons.
SESSIONS: Now, I noticed that, I believe at one point, you noted that even his own military officers believed they had them. In other words, they would think -- so would you explain that?
KAY: Well, in interviewing the Republican Guard generals and Special Republican Guard generals and asking about their capabilities and having them, the assurance was, they didn't personally have them and hadn't seen them. But the units on their right or left had them. And as you worked your way around the circle, those defending Baghdad, which is the immediate area of concern, you got this very strange phenomena of, "No, I don't have them. I haven't seen them. But look to my right and left." This was an intentional ambiguity.
And realize, freedom of discussion and movement was not something encouraged in Iraq. For example, Republican Guard divisions never entered into the city limits of Baghdad. Only the SRG was allowed to. You didn't even train in multi-divisional units because of that issue, of his concern about them. It was a powerful deception technology -- "We have it, but we haven't seen it. But we know that someone else has it."
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: David Kay answering questions from senotrs, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He's been there for awhile answering tough questions on Iraq's WMD. He's been the U.S. point man in the search for WMD for several months.
He's just resigned over the past few days and he's reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction that he's been able to find in Iraq on the eve of the war. Controversial assessment from David Kay. Q&A that's following the Bush administration continuing to insist there were weapons of mass destruction programs or activities in Iraq, if not actual stockpiles. We'll continue to monitor this important hearing for our viewers.
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