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Rockefeller says Iraq's weapons should have been found
KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated Press Writer Thursday, May
(05-29) 14:46 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
If Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed enough of
a threat to
justify war, they should have been found by now, the top
Democrat on the
Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia challenged comments
administration officials that the weapons were well-hidden
and may not
be located soon.
"You can't quite say that it's
going to take a lot more time if the
intelligence community seemed to be in general agreement
that WMD was
out there," Rockefeller said in an interview.
Rockefeller said that if the weapons were so well concealed,
States should have considered giving U.N. inspectors more
time to find
The Bush administration's main argument for the war was
possessed chemical and biological weapons and was possibly
nuclear weapons. Those weapons threatened the region and,
if given to
terrorists, could be used against the United States, it
In recent weeks the administration has tried to diminish
that weapons will be found soon. Undersecretary of Defense
told a House committee May 15 that it "will take months,
years," for a complete account of Iraq's weapon programs
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday, as
he has before,
that U.S. teams are unlikely to find any weapons of mass
unless Iraqis involved in the programs tell the officials
where to look.
"It's not because they're not
there. We do believe they are there,"
Rumsfeld said in an interview on the Infinity Broadcasting
network. "We never believed that we or the inspectors
would just trip
In a speech Tuesday, Rumsfeld joined others who have been
saying for a
month that Iraq may have destroyed chemical and biological
before the war. On Thursday, Rumsfeld said there was "speculation
chatter" among intelligence agencies that such weapons
may have been
moved to other countries or buried.
Iraq also may have developed the capability to quickly
or chemical weapons, eliminating the need for storing large
dangerous material, Rumsfeld said. Proof of that, he said,
two trailers found in northern Iraq which American intelligence
officials say were mobile biological weapons production
Rockefeller said that, based on the intelligence he saw
before the war,
he was persuaded that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological
weapons. He said it is still possible "something may
very well turn up."
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer Thursday called the
proof positive" that Iraq lied about not having mobile
But Rockefeller said it's not enough to prove the weapons
"In the business of WMD, and
proving to the American people your case,
you've got to come up with WMD. It's not happened," he
In a related matter, Rockefeller criticized the FBI response
request for an investigation into forged documents used
by the Bush
administration as evidence against Saddam before the war.
indicated that Iraq tried to buy uranium from the West
African nation of
He said the FBI sent a "bland" letter
saying the forgery was not an
administration attempt to manipulate public opinion, but
specifics. He said an aide told the FBI this was unacceptable
for more details.
FBI spokesman Bill Carter said the bureau was continuing
to look at
issues raised by Rockefeller and his staff. "We have
not closed the book
on this," he said.
Rockefeller and Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts,
this week also requested that the State Department and
general investigate the forgery.
Rockefeller said either intelligence agencies hadn't detected
forgery, or they suspected the documents were forged, but
may have faced
political pressures to rethink that view.
"In either case, it's not a very happy outcome," he
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