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What is World Facing When it Comes to Hussein's Security, Intelligence Operations?

Aired October 4, 2002 - 12:40   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So exactly, what is the world facing when it comes to President Saddam Hussein's security and intelligence operations? A question the Center for Nonproliferation Studies has been trying to answer and created elaborate flow charts showing his assets.
Our technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg has the details.

Sounds pretty interesting, Daniel.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: We're looking at the Web site for the group you mentioned, which strives to end the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction, as you mentioned, called the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. It's a nongovernmental institution based in California, and its online home can be found at Let's check it out.

Now on the main page here, we can see various subject and links related to combating the spread of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. We see them here on main page. Of course, these are related not only to Iraq, other countries around the world, and there is information about terrorism and terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda.

Now on the top right corner of the page, we can see a link here to the Iraq special collection, and if we go to that page, we can see a number of different links outlining Iraq's interest in weapons of mass destruction over the past decade and more, as well as a clickable flow chart, and we'll bring that up now. This flowchart actually looks, or illustrates, how biological weapons may be acquired from foreign suppliers. We're seeing the actual chart here.

There are several links to in-depth discussions with researchers and analysts over Iraq, and what's changed since the September 11th attacks, an important point.

Also from this special collections page, we can go to another site that shows photos from UNSCOM, showing U.N. inspectors at several weapons sites, of course, in the past, and it contains commentary, which we see down here, from the CNS analysts to enhance it.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: What about some other details? What do they show about Iraq's -- how Iraq's security apparatus is actually organized, that would be crucial to the future of the country for obvious reasons? SIEBERG: Right. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the CNS site is a flowchart, or schematic, if you will, that outlines Iraqi security. And starting at the top. We'll pull it up right now. Starting at the top, of course, with Saddam Hussein, up here, in the very top. It then shows a detailed outline of where different political and military offices fit within the hierarchy of Iraq. It's a summary that's part of a longer document and based on nonclassified information.

As the site points out, understanding the people behind Iraq's security structure is instrumental, since they, of course, have a key role in controlling and directing what happens with Iraq's weapons program.

In fact, a quote from the site. Clearly, any debate about inspections and regime change in Iraq must take these agencies into account.

That's our "Wired in Iraq" segment today.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks for that "Wired in Iraq" segment.

Daniel Sieberg will be joining us most of these days here on "Showdown: Iraq." Thank very much.

And we've heard about Iraq from the president, Congress, the news media and a lot of other so-called pundits and experts. Now it's time to hear about your opinions. frank Newport is editor-in-chief of the Gallup poll, and he joins us now live from New Jersey.

Frank, when it cops to the basic question about U.S. support for intervention in Iraq, what's the answer?

FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Well, it's a very reliable finding. A majority, but not a huge majority, of Americans support the basic idea. We hear a lot of people saying, well, there are so many contingencies and all that involved, is it basic question worthwhile? I think it is, and it is reliable statistically. I've seen over a dozen different ways it's been asked recently, and all of them show over 50 percent.

Our latest asking, about 57 percent of Americans saying yes, they support the idea of regime-changing military action in Iraq, that is to remove Saddam Hussein from power. You can see the numbers there, some ups and downs, but basically, that finding still holds as of the latest polling.

BLITZER: What about the various details, the different ways that the U.S. should be dealing with this. Is there some sort of priority, some sort of way that the public I looking at it?

NEWPORT: well, we call those "what if" questions and contingency questions. Wolf, it's very interesting because there are so many permutations of what can happen -- the U.N. can vote this way, the U.N. can vote that way. Inspectors could be allowed in, they can not be allowed in. Congress, the Senate next week, maybe do this, and they may do that, all of these different contingencies have been played out in a lot of our public opinion questions, dozens and dozens and dozens of questions we've asked where we've ask people about these variations.

Wolf, the bottom line is that public opinion will movie, so if you stress things that might go wrong, the U.N. does not support, allies don't support the U.S., then supports well below 50 percent.

If you stress to respondents, things could go well, the U.N. is supporting the action, the U.N. inspectors aren't allowed back in and stuff like that, then you get support that can go all the way up to 70 percent.

I just think those projective questions should be termed that just; they're projective, and we should realize that public opinion is and probably will be capable of and will moving either way, depending on how this whole scenario plays out -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Do we know specifically, Frank, why most of the public, at least according to the polls, seems to support military action against Iraq?

NEWPORT: It's fairly clear. They supported the idea since the end of the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein himself has the lowest rating, the highest unfavorable rating in the history of the Gallup poll, 96 percent unfavorable. Iraq is seen as with an 88 percent unfavorable rating. Probably, Wolf, one of the keys there, you can see on point three, almost three-quarters of Americans agree with the premise that Saddam Hussein would use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. if something was not done to stop him. That's probably the number one reason that Americans buy into why they support the basic concept.

BLITZER: And give us some context on the threat, this threat from Saddam Hussein and Iraq, as compared, for example, to other threats the U.S. may be engaged in.

NEWPORT: Wolf, we lose sight of the fact, that back in 1990, there wasn't all that high level of support for then President Bush moving in against Saddam Hussein and Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait. In fact, the numbers in one question brought up for you in the fall 1990, only 37 percent supported military action then. Look at the other number, we remember after the terrorist attacks in September 2001, we had almost nine out of 10 Americans saying yes to military action there.

Bottom line, Wolf, is we're right in the middle, I think, with support levels for military action at this point.

BLITZER: Frank Newport, the editor of the Gallup Poll, thanks for joining us.


Intelligence Operations?>

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