Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Scott Ritter's Congressional Testimony

Iraq News, SEPTEMBER 7, 1998

By Laurie Mylroie

The central focus of Iraq News is the tension between the considerable, proscribed WMD capabilities that Iraq is holding on to and its increasing stridency that it has complied with UNSCR 687 and it is time to lift sanctions. If you wish to receive Iraq News by email, a service which includes full-text of news reports not archived here, send your request to Laurie Mylroie .


I.   NEWSWEEK PERISCOPE, MORE UNSCOM RESIGNATIONS?, SEPT 14
II.  IRAQ THREATENS ACTION OVER PROPOSED UNSC RESOLUTION, AP, SEPT 6
III.  STATEMENT OF SCOTT RITTER BEFORE SENATE, SEPT 3
IV. UNOFFICIAL, INFORMAL REPORT ON RITTER'S TESTIMONY TO SENATE, SEPT 3
V.   RITTER TESTIMONY CONFIRMS NCI WARNINGS ON NUCLEAR PROGRAM, SEPT 3
VI.  CLINTON'S LETTER TO CONGRESS ON IRAQ, APR 6
VII.  REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP LETTER TO CLINTON ON UNSCOM, JUN 22
VIII. CLINTON REPLY TO SEN. LOTT, JUL 8
    This is the 33rd day without weapons inspections in Iraq.
   "Newsweek Periscope" reported that there may be more UNSCOM 
resignations. 
    On Sept 4, the NYT reported that Amb. Butler had told the UNSC that 
three times since Aug. 5, Iraq had blocked UNSCOM monitoring.  
Yesterday, AP reported a front page al Thawra editorial that said Iraq 
would take "necessary action" if the Security Council did not lift 
sanctions.  Regarding the US/UK draft UNSC resolution that would suspend 
sanctions reviews until Iraq renewed cooperation with UNSCOM, al Thawra 
warned, "If the Security Council succumbs again to the American 
blackmail . . .  the leadership and the people have no choice but to 
take the necessary action conferred by its legal rights, national 
interests, independence and national pride." 
    "Iraq News" has been watching for comment from official Israeli 
sources about Iraq's defiance of UNSCOM and the lack of a US response.  
Save for Labor Party chairman, Ehud Barak's recent remarks to the Nat'l 
Press Club stressing the importance of UNSCOM and the danger of Iraq's 
acquiring a nuclear bomb, "Iraq News" has seen nothing.   If readers see 
any such official Israeli remarks, "Iraq News" would be grateful if they 
could send them in or inform "Iraq News" about them, as "Iraq News" is 
suspecting that something is wrong in Israel, but reserves judgment 
until more information can be acquired.
  During Scott Ritter's testimony, Sept 3, to the Senate Armed Services 
and Foreign Relations Committees, Sen. John McCain [R Az] asked Ritter 
whether UNSCOM had intelligence suggesting that Iraq had assembled the 
components for three nuclear weapons and all that it lacked was the 
fissile material.  Ritter replied that that was so.  He said that if 
Iraq were to reconstruct its old program for producing fissile material, 
Iraq could have a bomb in several years.  Ritter did not address the 
question of what if Iraq managed to acquire fissile material on the 
black market.  But the implication seemed pretty clear.  As Paul 
Leventhal, head of the Nuclear Control Institute, remarked in response 
to Ritter's statement, "Iraq could be only days or weeks away from 
having nuclear weapons."
  Ritter also said that, absent UNSCOM, Iraq could reconstruct its 
chemical and biological weapons programs in six months, as well as its 
missile program.  He said that Iraq had a plan for achieving a missile 
breakout within six months of receiving the signal from Saddam.
  Ritter also explained that when his Jan 98 inspection was blocked by 
Iraq, he was pursuing information relevant to Iraq's suspected testing 
of bw agents on human beings in the summer of 1995.  As another informed 
source explained to "Iraq News," UNSCOM was concerned that that was done 
to test whether Iraq's bw stockpile had retained its lethality.
  Ritter also said that Iraq was using UNSCR 986 ["oil for food"] to 
import proscribed and dual use material.  He said that the matter was 
"serious" and that he was aware of one instance where the dollar amount 
involved was over $800,000.  As a Congressional source told "Iraq News," 
the administration was aware of the problem, before the UNSC doubled the 
amount of oil that Iraq was allowed to sell last Feb.  Nonetheless, the 
administration went along with that.
   Ritter also explained what a disaster the Feb 23 Annan accord had 
been.  In mid-Jan, Baghdad said that UNSCOM could not enter 
"presidential sites," even as UNSCOM had not sought to enter any such 
sites.   But the US/UNSC took the bait, asserting that UNSCOM had a 
right to visit any site in Iraq, including "presidential sites."  And, 
as a result of the confrontation that ensued and the way it was 
resolved, an entirely new category of sites was created, with a special, 
cumbersome structure for inspections, even as some of the areas that 
were defined as presidential sites are places known to conceal weapons.
   As Sen McCain explained during the hearing, Senate Democrats had 
objected to its being held, the only hearing to which they objected.  
Consequently, Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott (R Miss) recessed the 
Senate in order to hold the hearing.  Also, he personally escorted 
Ritter into the hearing room.  As Sen. Charles Robb [D Va] noted by way 
of courtesy to Ritter, that was the first time he had seen the Senate 
Majority Leader do that.  Also, as the Wash Post, Sept 4, reported, Sec 
State Albright called Chairman Benjamin Gilman [R NY] of the House Int'l 
Relations Committee to urge him to cancel plans for Ritter to testify 
there later his month.  The State Dep't claimed that open discussion of 
US consultations with UNSCOM might give ammunition to Iraqi claims that 
the inspectors were tools of Washington.  But the administration is 
quite inconsistent. The US Gov't was responsible for leaking to the 
press that Ritter was being investigated for passing on information to 
Israel and the Iraqis made a very great deal of that, as one might 
imagine.
   Sen. Sam Brownback [R Ka] said that he was concerned about the 
administration's duplicity, emphasizing how important it was that there 
not be duplicity in national security matters.  Sen. McCain emphasized 
that as well.  He said that the administration was articulating one 
policy and doing the opposite and "that was what was disturbing so many 
of us."  Sen. Paul Coverdell [R Ga] said that the situation was very 
dangerous and could not be dealt with by obscuring it.  It had to be 
explained to the American people.
   Indeed, the Senators made frequent reference to Clinton's Apr 6 
letter to Congress, in which he reviewed the status of US efforts to 
obtain Iraq's compliance with UNSC resolutions since Feb 3.  In his 
letter, Clinton referred to the Mar 2 passage of UNSCR 1154, which 
reiterated the demand that Iraq provide UNSCOM unconditional access and 
threatened "the severest consequences" if it did not.  As Clinton 
explained, "This resolution is one of the strongest and clearest 
statements the Council has made in 7 years with regard to what Iraq must 
do . . . This strong language of UNSCR 1154 is critical to ensuring that 
UNSCOM and IAEA can do their job . . . Iraq's compliance with the 
agreement is now being tested.  Since the beginning of March, UNSCOM has 
pursued an intensive agenda of inspections, including inspections of 
so-called 'sensitive' sites and Iraq has not significantly obstructed 
access to any sites UNSCOM and the IAEA wished to visit . . . . We have 
consistently stressed that full, unconditional, repeated access by 
UNSCOM to all sites, personnel, equipment, documents, and means of 
transportation provides the only means by which the world can make 
certain Iraq does not maintain or develop WMD.  We have full faith and 
confidence in UNSCOM and its Executive Chairman." 
   But as the Wash Post, Aug 27, reported, since Nov 97, the 
administration had been blocking UNSCOM inspections and, in Mar 98, 
interfered with UNSCOM inspections, including with Ritter's role in 
them.  There was no relationship between what Clinton wrote in that 
letter and what had actually happened.
   Similarly, on Jun 22, the senior Republican leadership-Trent Lott, 
Jesse Helms, Newt Gingrich and Benjamin Gilman-wrote Clinton expressing 
their concern that the administration was not giving sufficient support 
to UNSCOM.  Clinton replied to Sen. Lott, Jul 8, saying "My 
Administration will continue to support UNSCOM's right, as authorized by 
United Nations Security Council resolutions, to use the means of its own 
choosing to pursue any evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. . 
.  You can be certain UNSCOM will have my full support."
   Early on, Ritter was subject to a savage attack from Joseph Biden, 
[D, De], ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee, as described in the Wash Post, Sept 4, and about which 
several readers very strongly objected.   
   But Iraq policy is seriously flawed; the administration has been 
duplicitous in explaining the situation; and it is clear that many 
things could go very seriously wrong.  Thus, as the hearing progressed, 
Ritter's message was ever more clearly heard and even the Democratic 
Senators became ever more friendly to him.   
   Sen. Barbara Feinstein [D Ca] began by explaining that the case that 
Ritter had presented had not been made to the US public or even to the 
Congress.  She questioned him in a friendly manner, so as to elicit more 
information on how the administration had blocked UNSCOM's work.  
   For Sen. Robb, this was the third Iraq-related hearing he has 
attended this year.  In the first, he was a strong administration 
partisan.  During the second, he held an extended and sympathetic 
exchange with Richard Perle, former Reagan Asst Sec Def.  And in the 
third, he concluded his remarks by noting that history was replete with 
many cases in which, if we had responded sooner rather than later, the 
consequences would have been much easier.
   That is precisely the point.  There are no good options regarding 
Iraq.  The Clinton administration/political leadership of this country 
has to grasp and define the problem clearly and pursue and work through 
the least bad option.  Yet the more time passes with the US doing 
nothing, the stronger Saddam gets, the worse the least bad option will 
be.  
   Indeed, Sen. John Kerry [D Ma] seemed to understand that.  He 
explained that Saddam's aim was not to lift sanctions, but to build 
weapons of mass destruction.  That is the point which the Clinton 
administration stubbornly refuses to acknowledge.  Kerry took issue with 
Biden, saying that the matter was much bigger than whether Scott Ritter 
or his team could get into a site or not. Kerry said, as he had before, 
that the US should be prepared to use force to achieve its goals, even 
as it would be necessary to prepare the public.  He also suggested that 
any US military strike on Iraq should involve sustained targeting of the 
regime.
   Finally, Sen. Charles Hagel [R Ne] dealt with an administration claim 
that it had achieved a major breakthrough after the Annan accord in 
securing UNSCOM access to Iraq's Ministry of Defense.  Ritter explained 
to Sen. Hagel that UNSCOM had not wanted to inspect the MoD and it did 
so only under pressure from the Clinton administration.  The inspection 
was rushed, ill-prepared, and not useful.  Also, Ritter told Sen. 
Olympia Snowe [R Me] that the reason the administration gave for 
blocking inspections in Nov and Dec 97 was that it needed time to 
prepare militarily and diplomatically.  But by Jan 98, that was supposed 
to be in place.  Sen. Snowe observed that the administration did not 
seem to have done its work in advance.
IV. UNOFFICIAL, INFORMAL REPORT ON RITTER'S TESTIMONY TO SENATE
Hearing before US Senate Committees on Armed Service and Foreign Affairs
September 3, 1998
  The hearing began with the senior senators' remarks, starting with 
comments by Armed Services Committee Chairman, Strom Thurmond [R SC], 
who explained that Saddam Hussein wanted to retain his chemical and 
biological weapons so he could use them to attack and threaten his 
neighbors and use them against his own citizens. Thurmond described 
Saddam as a "pathological killer."
   Sen. Thurmond also asked about the impact of the extended US 
deployment in the Gulf on the readiness and morale of US forces. He 
explained that the US still maintained over 20,000 military personnel in 
the region.  He understood that it was US policy to support UNSCOM and 
back it up with force and that that was critical to US leadership.   He 
also cited the report Clinton sent Congress April 6, in which the 
president said that Iraq's failure to provide full access to UNSCOM 
would provoke the "severest consequences."  He asked why the US had 
decided to act against Osama bin Laden and not against Iraq, which 
represented a direct threat to US interests and US allies, while he 
observed that the US is again in the odd position of bargaining with a 
tyrant and a war criminal.
  Sen. Richard Lugar, [R In] acting head of the Foreign Relations 
Committee, stressed the importance of the outcome of the confrontation 
over Iraq's unconventional weapons.  He said the Annan agreement had 
become "unglued" over the last month, even as US policy and behavior 
toward Iraq "must be unwavering."
  Sen. Carl Levin [D Mi], ranking minority member of the Armed Services 
Committee, recalled that Amb. Butler had briefed the Senate in a 
classified session in early March. Levin affirmed that the goal must be 
the elimination of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.  "I don't know 
how anyone can disagree with that goal."  But the question was one of 
tactics.  If we threaten the use of force, are we prepared to follow 
through with military strikes?  Would military strikes achieve the 
objective?  Would the Senate support the use of force?  He alluded to 
the Senate's failure to pass a measure supporting the use of force 
during the previous crises.  And Levin asked would there be 
international support for the use of force?
  Sen. Joseph Biden [D De], ranking minority member of the Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee, told Ritter that he was providing a 
valuable service to the country.  He had forced Americans to confront a 
policy decision.  He cited Ritter's oft-quoted statement, "The illusion 
of arms control is more dangerous than no arms control at all."  He also 
cited Ritter's observation that the administration had made the decision 
to seek a diplomatic option instead of pursuing confrontation-driven 
inspections.  
   Biden then suggested that the alternative policy was to maintain 
sanctions, which deny income to Saddam.  He said that the only way the 
US would be able to get rid of Saddam was to send US troops to Iraq.
  Ritter read his statement and Sen. Thurmond began the questioning.  In 
reply to the Senator's questions, Ritter explained that UNSCOM should 
not be part of the portfolio of the UN Secretary General, because Kofi 
Annan didn't understand UNSCOM's work and therefore should not be in 
charge of managing it.   
  Ritter then explained the confrontation over access to so-called 
presidential sites, saying that the inspection of presidential sites had 
been a "farce from the beginning."  He said that UNSCOM had not sought 
to enter presidential sites, but Iraq had succeeded in defining access 
to presidential sites as the issue.  When Iraq announced that it was 
denying UNSCOM access to so-called presidential sites, the US/UNSC 
embraced that point as the defining issue.  As a result of the 
confrontation that ensued over "presidential sites," a new category of 
sites had been created with a special, cumbersome structure for 
inspections, even as some of the areas that are defined as presidential 
sites are places known to conceal weapons. 
  Sen. Lugar continued that line of questioning and Ritter explained how 
paragraph 4 of the Feb 23 Memorandum of Understanding had established a 
new category of sites to which restrictions on inspections applied. In 
fact, the February agreement was part of a cycle going back to the 
summer of 1996.  Iraq would provoke a crisis and because there was no 
UNSC consensus on how to respond, Iraq received concessions from the 
UNSC in order to resolve the crisis.
   Lugar suggested that perhaps this was the best the US could do, but 
Ritter explained that UNSCOM had an important task.  Moreover, UNSCOM 
believed that after the Feb 23 Annan agreement and Clinton's April 6 
letter to Congress, it had support for challenge inspections.  But by 
mid-April, UNSCOM got a red light.  The US would not support inspections 
that were confrontational.
   Lugar suggested that there may not be domestic US support for backing 
UNSCOM in a confrontation with Baghdad.  Ritter replied that UNSCOM's 
concern was not domestic politics.  The US Government had told UNSCOM 
that it supported challenge inspections.  
   Sen. Levin then read a quote from Amb. Butler, intending to suggest 
that Butler did not agree with Ritter about the lack of US support for 
UNSCOM.  Ritter advised the quote should be read "between the lines."
   Sen Biden asked, "Do you think you should be the one to pull the 
strings" on when the US uses military force?  Ritter replied that he had 
a job to do and that UNSCOM coordinated with the US.
   Biden suggested that the question of taking the nation to war was a 
responsibility "slightly beyond your pay grade. That's why they [who 
make such decisions] get paid big bucks.  That's why they get their 
limos  and you don't."  Biden advised that Albright had more to consider 
than "whether old Scotty-boy didn't get in" to a suspected weapons site. 
He said that the question of the use of force was the kind of decision 
that people like Colin Powell and George Bush made, saying that it was a 
very complicated decision, repeating, "It's above your pay grade."
  Sen. John Warner [R Va] told Ritter that he had presented "one of the 
most serious indictments against the top-level national security team of 
this country that has ever been done in contemporary times."
  In Warner's questioning, Ritter explained that Amb. Butler did agree 
with him about the lack of US support for UNSCOM.  Also, the disclosure 
about Iraq's weaponization of VX [in late June] caused the 
administration to turn a green light back on for challenge inspections. 
Ritter explained that, even now, UNSCOM did not know the totality of 
Iraq's proscribed weapons programs, although it did know that Iraq's 
declarations were false.
  Sen. Charles Robb [D Va] began by observing that the Senate Majority 
leader had adjourned the Senate for the hearing and escorted the witness 
into the hearing room. Robb said that that was the first time he had 
seen that and he welcomed Ritter as a fellow former Marine.  
  Robb suggested that Ritter didn't have the full picture, that he was 
like the commander of a smaller unit, whose mission might compromise the 
larger mission.  Ritter asked which inspection would you like us to 
stop--bw, VX, missiles?  It was like saving the marine battalion by 
doing away with the rifle company.
  Sen. Dan Coats [R In] began by saying to Ritter that you are not 
calling on the Secretary of State to use force.  You are only saying 
that you want the US Government to fulfill its commitment to do 
inspections, the policy as stated by the President in his April 6 
letter.  What you called for is different than what the senator from 
Delaware called for?  Ritter replied, "Yes."
   Coats then read a July 8 letter from Clinton to Sen. Lott in which 
Clinton said that my administration will continue to support UNSCOM's 
right to pursue weapons inspections through "means of its own choosing." 
Coats also cited Clinton's April 6 letter to Congress and suggested to 
Ritter that any reasonable person would conclude on the basis of those 
statements that you had the right to do these inspections.
  Sen. Barbara Feinstein [D Ca] began by explaining that the case that 
Ritter had presented had not been made to the US public or even to 
Congress.  She asked about Ritter's Wall Street Journal article, which 
described, among other things, how the administration had blocked a 
mid-July inspection.  Ritter explained that as a result of the US 
intervention, he was told that he would not be traveling to Baghdad for 
that inspection, as planned, while the inspection team already in Iraq 
was to disperse within 48 hours. Ritter explained that although UNSCOM 
had assembled the team in coordination with the US and UK, the two 
countries said that the timing was not right.
  Feinstein then asked about the next aborted inspection, in early 
August.  Ritter explained that Butler had said that the original mission 
had been worth doing and Butler planned to go ahead with it after he 
visited Baghdad.  But Butler also felt he had to coordinate with the 
UNSC. So after his visit to Baghdad, while in Bahrain, Aug 5, Butler 
called the Russians in New York, who responded by attacking UNSCOM as 
provocative.  The French advised that UNSCOM should not create a crisis. 
And the US and UK both opposed the inspection going forward.  Still, 
Butler hoped to persuade them to okay the inspection, when he returned 
to New York.  He failed and the mission was scrubbed.
   Ritter further explained that if Iraq had allowed unrestricted 
access, he expected UNSCOM would have found components of ballistic 
missiles and documentation on the details of its concealment mechanism.
Feinberg asked, "It was a very important inspection?"  Ritter replied, 
"Yes."  
  Sen. Sam Brownback [R Ks] welcomed Ritter as "a true American hero," 
before explaining that he wanted to focus on the administration's 
"apparent duplicity," while emphasizing the need to speak clearly and 
not with duplicity on foreign policy issues.  Brownback charged that the 
administration was saying one thing and doing another.  
  During Brownback's questioning, Ritter explained that Iraq could 
restart its proscribed weapons programs within six months.  Iraq had 
positioned itself to do so, once an effective inspection regime was 
ended.  He explained that the present Iraqi ban on inspections degraded 
the effectiveness of monitoring and the next logical step would be for 
Iraq to expel UNSCOM.
   Sen. Max Cleland [D Ga] began by asking Ritter whether the US should 
have taken out Saddam in 1991.  Ritter explained that Saddam was the 
problem, that all decisions regarding Iraq's proscribed weapons were 
made by him.  Cleland asked what the US should do now.  Ritter replied 
that that was not his job, he was only an inspector.  Cleland asked who 
was responsible for the situation.  Ritter replied that it was the UN 
Security Council and the US.  It was a "failure of leadership" on the 
part of the US.  
  Sen. McCain [R Az] began by explaining that the Democrats had objected 
to the hearing taking place.  It was the only hearing that they had 
objected to.  Addressing Ritter, McCain also said that he wished someone 
had listened to someone of your pay grade during the Viet Nam war and 
perhaps there would not be so many names on the wall.  
   McCain explained that the US was articulating one policy and doing 
the opposite and that was "what was disturbing so many of us."  He asked 
whether UNSCOM had information that Iraq had components for three 
nuclear devices and all that was lacking was the fissile material.  
Ritter replied that that was so.
   McCain asked how long would it take Iraq to have a nuclear bomb.  
Ritter replied that if Iraq were to reconstruct its old program for 
making fissile material it would be several years.  It would be six 
months for chemical and biological weapons and six months for missiles. 
Ritter explained that Iraq had a plan for achieving a missile breakout 
within six months of receiving the signal from Saddam.
  Sen John Kerry [D Ma] said that Saddam's aim was not to lift the 
sanctions, but to build weapons of mass destruction.  He said that he 
disagreed with Sen. Biden.  The issue was much bigger than whether Scott 
Ritter or his team could get into a site or not.  Kerry said that the US 
should be prepared to use force to achieve its goals, although it would 
be ill-advised to do so without mobilizing public support.  But sliding 
into a policy of containment was disastrous.  He suggested that any US 
military strike on Iraq should involve sustained targeting of the 
regime.
  Sen. James Inhofe [R Ok] welcomed Ritter saying that it was rare to 
see his kind of courage.  Inhofe noted that the President had told 
Congress April 6 that a diplomatic solution had been exhausted and that 
the US had encouraged UNSCOM to proceed.  He suggested that the scenario 
that had been raised during the hearing-the US' backing down or going to 
war-was a false dilemma.  It was really a question of whether the US 
would defend its national interests.  He asked whether Iraq would use 
its proscribed weapons against the US, if it acquired the means to do 
so.  Ritter replied that Iraq had a "ruthless" government and people 
would, if they were told to.  
  Sen. Pat Roberts [R Ka] explained that the issue was not whether the 
US would go to war, but it was the credibility of its national security 
policy.  He explained that he had questioned Clinton's earlier request 
for authorization from Congress for military strikes.  He had not 
opposed the use of force, but questioned the utility of what the 
administration proposed doing.  It wasn't planned well.  Those who 
suggested that Congress opposed the use of force in principle were 
inaccurate and sending the wrong message.
  Sen. Charles Hagel [R Ne] began by welcoming Ritter as a person who 
did not have a limousine or big bucks, but someone whom might have a 
perspective that those with big bucks did not.  
  Ritter explained that the inspections that he was trying to carry out 
were closing in on Iraq's proscribed weapons.  Within the US 
administration there was concern that his presence on the inspections 
created friction.  The administration said that the issue should be 
about the inspections not the inspectors.  Ritter explained that in 
March 98, Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright intervened on numerous 
occasions to keep him out of Iraq.
  Sen. Paul Coverdell [R Ga] said that the situation was very dangerous 
and could not be dealt with by obscuring it.  The policy had to be on 
the table so that the American people could understand it.  
  Ritter explained what had happened in January 1998, when he led an 
inspection team for one day, before the team was blocked.  He had been 
pursuing information on the Iraqi testing of biological agents in the 
summer of 1995 on human beings.  
  Senator Olympia Snowe [R Me] asked whether, under the Bush 
administration, the US had interfered with UNSCOM inspections.  Ritter 
explained that UNSCOM had always coordinated closely with the UN 
Security Council, but it was only since November, 1997 that UNSCOM  had 
had specific inspections stopped.  The US blocking of UNSCOM inspections 
in November and December 1997 had been for the purpose of mobilizing 
political and military support.  By January that was in place.  Sen. 
Snowe observed that the administration had not done its work in advance.
 In a final round of questioning, Ritter told Sen. Thurmond that the 
monitoring program requires UNSCOM to do a full range of inspections.  
The present denial of inspections meant that there was no effective 
monitoring.  
  Sen. Lugar asked whether Iraq was using money from the "oil for food" 
program for proscribed activities.  Ritter said yes.  There was specific 
intelligence that Iraq was using it to acquire dual use and proscribed 
material.  Lugar asked for some estimate in dollar amounts.  Ritter said 
that it was definitely a "serious" issue.  He was aware of an instance 
where the dollar amount was over $800,000.  
   Sen. Levin told Ritter that you have confronted the world and 
Congress that Saddam Hussein is thwarting the will of the international 
community and that he is getting away with it.  He again asked whether 
the problem could be resolved through the use of force and whether the 
US was willing to do that.
   In questioning by Sen. Robb, Ritter explained that if the Security 
Council had backed up UNSCOM in June, 1996, when the problem first 
began, and threatened the use of force, it would have been much easier 
to force Saddam to comply than it is now.
  Robb replied that history was replete with examples of many cases in 
which if we had responded sooner rather than later, the consequences 
would have been much easier.
   Sen. Hagel asked whether UNSCOM had ever asked to inspect the 
Ministry of Defense.  Ritter replied no.  Since 1991, the US had urged 
UNSCOM to inspect the MoD, but two successive UNSCOM chairmen had felt 
there was no compelling reason to do so.  Nonetheless, after the Annan 
accord, the administration pressed for UNSCOM to inspect the MoD and 
UNSCOM reluctantly acceded.  But to properly carry out such an 
inspection would have been a major undertaking.  The building would have 
had to have been secured so that the Iraqis couldn't get in and out to 
hide or destroy documents.  To prepare such an inspection would have 
taken three weeks and required 150 inspectors, but UNSCOM did not have 
that kind of time to prepare.  Its inspection of the Ministry of Defense 
was not a credible inspection.  Still, UNSCOM was told to do it, so it 
did.





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