United States Will Not Comply With IAEA Requests on Iraq

The United States will not provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with a classified report from chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq David Kay on the search for evidence of alleged Iraqi WMD efforts, a senior Bush administration official said yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 3).

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has requested a copy of Kay’s report, but has so far not received a response from Washington, according to ITAR-Tass.

“There’s zero chance he’s going [to] get that,” the senior Bush administration official said. “At some point we may brief him (ElBaradei) on what we’ve found relative to the Iraqi nuclear programs. But I really see no possibility he will get Kay’s report, because it’s highly classified and it’s intended for internal U.S. government consumption and it’s not for him or [the] IAEA,” the official added (Dmitry Kirsanov, ITAR-Tass, Nov. 5).

The United States is also not likely to soon approve another of ElBaradei’s requests — the return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq, a senior U.S. State Department official said yesterday.

“We don’t think it’s needed at this time,” the official said. “There might be a role for U.N. inspectors at some point in the future, but that debate is way down the road,” the official said (Agence France-Presse, Nov. 5).

Prewar Intelligence Inquiry

Meanwhile, the White House has agreed to provide the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with CIA memos from October 2002 that warned against publicizing claims that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from Africa, a White House official said yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 3).

The committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into prewar U.S. intelligence on Iraq, has requested two CIA memos dated Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 of last year, according to the Washington Post. The memos called for changes in a draft of a speech to be given Oct. 7 that said Iraq had been “caught attempting to purchase up to 500 metric tons of uranium oxide from sources in Africa” — a claim that has become heavily disputed.

White House lawyers still need to work out an agreement with the committee to make the memos available, the White House official said. 

“When you are dealing with the White House, they want to make sure they are not getting into a precedent in regard to various documents used by the executive,” committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said yesterday.

The White House official also said that only the committee’s request to interview “individuals involved in briefing senior administration officials” still needed to be considered.

Due to a number of outstanding requests with the CIA and the U.S. Defense Department, the committee will probably not hold public hearings on prewar Iraq intelligence or release a report on its inquiry until next year, Roberts said.

“There are hundreds of pages to review, more than we ever expected” from recent requests, a senior congressional aide said yesterday. “And more is still coming in,” the aide said (Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Nov. 5).

Roberts yesterday also criticized a leaked memo prepared by the staff of Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, that discussed ways Democrats could use the intelligence inquiry to criticize the Bush administration, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The memo indicates that Democrats plan to conduct a separate inquiry into the White House’s use of intelligence on Iraq next year as the 2004 presidential campaign begins, the Times reported.

“Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public’s concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq,” the memo says. “Yet we have an important role to play in revealing the misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and motives of senior administration officials who made the case for unilateral pre-emptive war,” it adds.

Roberts said in a statement that the memo “exposes politics in its most raw form. … It’s a purely partisan document that appears to be a road map for how the Democrats intend to politicize what should be a bipartisan objective review of prewar intelligence.”

Rockefeller said that while his staff did prepare the memo, it had not been approved “nor was it shared with any member of the Senate Intelligence Committee or anyone else.”

“Having said that … the memo clearly reflects staff frustration with the conduct of the … investigation and the difficulties of obtaining information from the administration,” Rockefeller said in a statement (Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 5).

November 5, 2003
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The United States will not provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with a classified report from chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq David Kay on the search for evidence of alleged Iraqi WMD efforts, a senior Bush administration official said yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 3).