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A. Differences Between the Classified NIE and Unclassified White Paper

1. Nuclear Weapons

(U) There were only two notable differences between the classified NIE and unclassified white paper regarding Iraq's nuclear program. The first, was that the classified NIE included a reference to State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research alternative view on whether Iraq would have a nuclear weapon this decade, which was not included in the white paper. The second centered on the discussion of analysts' assessments of the aluminum tubes. The classified NIE said,

Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors - as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools - provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. (The Department of Energy (DOE) agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.)

The unclassified paper said,

Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain proscribed high-strength aluminum tubes are of significant concern. All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs.

(U) When the classified NIE referred to "most agencies" it was referring to the analytic agencies, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the collection agencies, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)36. Although NSA and NIMA did agree with the analysis that the aluminum tubes were intended for Iraq's nuclear program, the agencies do not conduct all source analysis. The all-source analysis agencies were evenly split on the issue of the aluminum tubes; the CIA and DIA assessed the tubes were intended for a nuclear program and the DOE and State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) assessed they were probably not. The all-source agencies were split three to one on the issue of nuclear reconstitution - the CIA, DIA and DOE assessed that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, while INR assessed that Iraq's activities did not add up to a compelling case that Iraq was currently pursuing an "integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons." The unclassified paper did not include the explanation that the DOE, the IC's nuclear experts, specifically disagreed with the assessment that the aluminum tubes were intended for Iraq's nuclear program.

(U) The Vice Chairman of the NIC and the NIOs who drafted the classified NIE told Committee staff that the statement in the unclassified white paper - "most intelligence specialists assess" the tubes are intended for a nuclear program - was used because the NIC does not refer to disagreements between intelligence agencies in unclassified documents out of concern that the country being discussed would be tipped off to a potential cover story. For example, by publishing in an unclassified paper that a U.S. intelligence agency believed the tubes were intended for a rocket program, Iraq could learn that such a use was believable and could plausibly argue to the international community that the tubes were intended for rockets, even if they were really intended for a nuclear program.

2. Biological Weapons

(U) The main differences between the biological sections of the classified NIE and the unclassified white paper centered on the removal of the words "we judge" from two of the assessments included in the key judgments of both papers. The classified NIE contained the following two assessments:

  • We judge that all key aspects- R&D, production, and weaponization-of Iraq's offensive BW program are active and that most elements are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.

  • We judge that Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives.

    In the unclassified paper the words "we judge" were removed from both sentences which changed the assessments to statements of fact.

    (U) In addition, following the statement that "Iraq has some lethal and incapacitating BW agents and is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax, for delivery by bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives" the unclassified white paper included the phrase "potentially against the U.S. Homeland." This phrase had not been included in the BW key judgments of the classified NIE. Text referencing Iraq's potential to use biological weapons against the U.S. was included in a section of the key judgments regarding when Iraq would use WMD, but the text stated that Iraq would attempt such attacks "if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge" and said that such attacks would probably be carried out by special forces or intelligence operatives.

    3. Chemical Weapons

    (U) The chemical sections of the classified NIE and the unclassified white paper differed in two respects. Again, the caveats or explanations of the IC's uncertainty regarding the WMD programs were removed for the unclassified version. First, the words "we assess" were removed from the sentence in the classified NIE,

    We assess that Baghdad has begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, GF (cyclosarin), and VX . . . .

    The unclassified white paper said,

    Baghdad had begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents, probably including mustard, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX.

    (U) Second, the words "we have little specific information on Iraq's Chemical weapons (CW) stockpile" were removed from the classified NIE sentence,

    Although we have little specific information on Iraq's chemical weapons stockpile, Saddam probably has stocked at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW agents - much of it added in the last year.

    The unclassified white paper said,

    Saddam probably has stocked a few hundred metric tons of CW agents.

    (U) In both cases, eliminating these words from the chemical section of the unclassified paper portrayed the IC as far more certain of Iraq's chemical weapons program and chemical stocks than it actually was.

    4. Delivery Systems

    (U) The classified and unclassified versions of the delivery sections of the NIE differed only in the assessment regarding unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The classified NIE assessed that Iraq was developing a UAV "probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents, but included a footnote which noted,

    The Director, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, U.S. Air Force, does not agree that Iraq is developing UAVs primarily intended to be delivery platforms for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents. The small size of Iraq's new UAV strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance, although CBW delivery is an inherent capability.

    The unclassified paper eliminated the footnote and changed the assessment to say,

    Iraq maintains . . . several development programs, including for a UAV most analysts believe probably is intended to deliver biological warfare agents.

    (U) In eliminating the U.S. Air Force (USAF) footnote, the unclassified paper is missing an alternative explanation for the mission of the UAV and is missing the fact that USAF intelligence, the IC agency with primary responsibility for technical analysis on UAV programs, did not agree with the assessment that the UAVs were probably intended for unconventional weapons delivery, as asserted in the key judgments of the classified NIE.


    footnotes

    36 NIMA has recently been renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)



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