WASHINGTON (AP) — Still unable to find banned Iraqi
weapons, the new U.S. weapons inspector said yesterday his strategy
is to expose Saddam Hussein’s intentions regarding weapons of
mass destruction.

Charles Duelfer, the CIA’s special adviser on the weapons
hunt, said the Iraq Survey Group he oversees is looking for a
comprehensive picture, not simply an answer to the question: Were
there weapons or not?

He did not say how long the effort might take.

“We’re looking at it from soup to nuts, from the
weapons end to the planning end to the intentions end,”
Duelfer said at a Capitol Hill news conference, nine weeks after he
took over the weapons search. In a closed session before the Senate
Armed Services Committee earlier yesterday, Duelfer said U.S.
weapons hunters in Iraq have found more evidence Saddam’s
regime had civilian — or “dual use” —
factories able to quickly produce biological and chemical
weapons.

And, according to declassified testimony shared with reporters,
Duelfer said the survey group has found new evidence that Iraqi
scientists flight tested long-range ballistic missiles and unmanned
aerial vehicles that “easily exceeded” U.N. limits of
93 miles.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee’s top Democrat
on armed services, called on the CIA to declassify Duelfer’s
status report. Levin said he is “deeply troubled” that
the public version leaves out information that casts doubt on the
notion that Iraq had an active WMD program.

For instance, Duelfer’s unclassified status report
indicates that it’s unclear whether Iraq’s efforts to
obtain aluminum tubes were to develop a uranium enrichment
capability. But, Levin said, “you’d get an impression
of unlikelihoods” in the classified version.

Levin said the selective use of information in Duelfer’s
statement raises the same issues the CIA has faced regarding the
prewar intelligence on Iraq. “The CIA should not go down that
road again,” he said.

Through a CIA spokesman, Duelfer said he wrote both versions of
his status report, which were not meant to draw conclusions:
“They mirror each other, consistent with the protections for
intelligence sources, methods and other classified
information.”

Duelfer didn’t break significant ground on the weapons
search, saying he lacked sufficient information to make conclusions
about what Saddam had. He said the survey group is still going
through 20 million pages of documents, visiting possible weapons
sites and trying to glean information from former government
officials.

Duelfer took over the job as the top civilian weapons inspector
after his predecessor, David Kay, resigned in January and told
Congress “we were almost all wrong” about
Saddam’s weapons programs. In a flurry of public statements
questioning whether weapons would ever be found, Kay renewed the
debate about the very weapons programs that the Bush administration
used to justify last year’s Iraq invasion.

After yesterday’s session, Senate Armed Services Chairman
John Warner (R-Va.) said the panel wasn’t considering whether
Kay was correct. “It’s his opinion. The opinion has
been expressed this morning that a good deal of work remains to be
done.”

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