CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Colin Powell Addresses Security Council
Aired February 5, 2003 - 10:32 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Germany is the president of the Security Council this month. That's why the foreign minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer, we see him sitting there right next to Kofi Annan, will be opening up this session. Thirteen foreign ministers are represented at the Security Council. Only two U.N. ambassadors among the 15 members of the council, underscoring the importance of this moment.
Not only the U.N. secretary-general there, but Hans Blix right behind him, and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei. Of course, a packed chamber at the U.N. Security Council this historic day.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And Wolf, I guess we should also make note of the fact the 14 member nations will be allowed to address the Security Council after the speech, and those will last six to eight minutes.
JOSCHKA FISCHER, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: ... the Security Council is called to order. The provisional agenda for this meeting is before the council in Document S, Agenda 4701, which reads -- quote -- "the situation between Iraq and Kuwait" -- end of quote. Unless I hear any objection, I shall consider the agenda adopted. The agenda is adopted.
I should like to inform the council that I have received a letter from the representative of Iraq, in which he requests to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the council's agenda. In accordance with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the council, to invite that representative to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the charter, and rule 37 of the council's provisional rules of procedures. There being no objection, it is so decide. I invite representative of Iraq to take a seat at the council table.
I welcome the presence of the distinguished secretary-general, his excellency, Mr. Kofi Annan, at this meeting.
I also welcome the presence of Dr. Hans Blix, executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, and Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Members of the council who wish to address questions to Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei are invited to do so at the luncheon to be held following the adjournment of this meeting.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of Item 2 of the agenda. The purpose of this meeting is to hear a presentation by the United States. In order for us work within our timetable, participants are urged to speak for not more than seven minutes.
I call now on the distinguished secretary of state of the United States of America, his excellency, Mr. Colin Powell.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you, Mr. President.
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, distinguished colleagues, I would like to begin by expressing my thanks for the special effort that each of you made to be here today.
This is important day for us all as we review the situation with respect to Iraq and its disarmament obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.
Last November 8, this council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote. The purpose of that resolution was to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had already been found guilty of material breach of its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years.
Resolution 1441 was not dealing with an innocent party, but a regime this council has repeatedly convicted over the years. Resolution 1441 gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance to come into compliance or to face serious consequences. No council member present in voting on that day had any allusions about the nature and intent of the resolution or what serious consequences meant if Iraq did not comply.
And to assist in its disarmament, we called on Iraq to cooperate with returning inspectors from UNMOVIC and IAEA.
We laid down tough standards for Iraq to meet to allow the inspectors to do their job.
This council placed the burden on Iraq to comply and disarm and not on the inspectors to find that which Iraq has gone out of its way to conceal for so long. Inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives.
I asked for this session today for two purposes: First, to support the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. As Dr. Blix reported to this council on January 27th, quote, "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it," unquote.
And as Dr. ElBaradei reported, Iraq's declaration of December 7, quote, "did not provide any new information relevant to certain questions that have been outstanding since 1998."
My second purpose today is to provide you with additional information, to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq's involvement in terrorism, which is also the subject of Resolution 1441 and other earlier resolutions. I might add at this point that we are providing all relevant information we can to the inspection teams for them to do their work.
The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources. Some are U.S. sources. And some are those of other countries. Some of the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations and photos taken by satellites. Other sources are people who have risked their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.
I cannot tell you everything that we know. But what I can share with you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years, is deeply troubling.
What you will see is an accumulation of facts and disturbing patterns of behavior. The facts on Iraqis' behavior -- Iraq's behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no effort -- no effort -- to disarm as required by the international community. Indeed, the facts and Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction.
Let me begin by playing a tape for you. What you're about to hear is a conversation that my government monitored. It takes place on November 26 of last year, on the day before United Nations teams resumed inspections in Iraq.
The conversation involves two senior officers, a colonel and a brigadier general, from Iraq's elite military unit, the Republican Guard.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
[Speaking in Arabic.]
(END AUDIO TAPE)
Let me pause and review some of the key elements of this conversation that you just heard between these two officers.
First, they acknowledge that our colleague, Mohamed ElBaradei, is coming, and they know what he's coming for, and they know he's coming the next day. He's coming to look for things that are prohibited. He is expecting these gentlemen to cooperate with him and not hide things.
But they're worried. "We have this modified vehicle. What do we say if one of them sees it?"
What is their concern? Their concern is that it's something they should not have, something that should not be seen.
The general is incredulous: "You didn't get a modified. You don't have one of those, do you?"
"I have one." "Which, from where?"
"From the workshop, from the Al Kendi (ph) Company?"
"From Al Kendi (ph)."
"I'll come to see you in the morning. I'm worried. You all have something left."
"We evacuated everything. We don't have anything left."
Note what he says: "We evacuated everything."
We didn't destroy it. We didn't line it up for inspection. We didn't turn it into the inspectors. We evacuated it to make sure it was not around when the inspectors showed up.
"I will come to you tomorrow."
The Al Kendi (ph) Company: This is a company that is well known to have been involved in prohibited weapons systems activity.
Let me play another tape for you. As you will recall, the inspectors found 12 empty chemical warheads on January 16. On January 20, four days later, Iraq promised the inspectors it would search for more. You will now hear an officer from Republican Guard headquarters issuing an instruction to an officer in the field. Their conversation took place just last week on January 30.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
[Speaking in Arabic.]
(END AUDIO TAPE)
Let me pause again and review the elements of this message.
"They're inspecting the ammunition you have, yes."
"For the possibility there are forbidden ammo."
"For the possibility there is by chance forbidden ammo?"
"And we sent you a message yesterday to clean out all of the areas, the scrap areas, the abandoned areas. Make sure there is nothing there."
Remember the first message, evacuated.
This is all part of a system of hiding things and moving things out of the way and making sure they have left nothing behind.
If you go a little further into this message, and you see the specific instructions from headquarters: "After you have carried out what is contained in this message, destroy the message because I don't want anyone to see this message."
This message would have verified to the inspectors that they have been trying to turn over things. They were looking for things. But they don't want that message seen, because they were trying to clean up the area to leave no evidence behind of the presence of weapons of mass destruction. And they can claim that nothing was there. And the inspectors can look all they want, and they will find nothing.
This effort to hide things from the inspectors is not one or two isolated events, quite the contrary. This is part and parcel of a policy of evasion and deception that goes back 12 years, a policy set at the highest levels of the Iraqi regime.
We know that Saddam Hussein has what is called quote, "a higher committee for monitoring the inspections teams," unquote. Think about that. Iraq has a high-level committee to monitor the inspectors who were sent in to monitor Iraq's disarmament.
Not to cooperate with them, not to assist them, but to spy on them and keep them from doing their jobs.
The committee reports directly to Saddam Hussein. It is headed by Iraq's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan. Its members include Saddam Hussein's son Qusay.
This committee also includes Lieutenant General Amir al-Saadi, an adviser to Saddam. In case that name isn't immediately familiar to you, General Saadi has been the Iraqi regime's primary point of contact for Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. It was General Saadi who last fall publicly pledged that Iraq was prepared to cooperate unconditionally with inspectors. Quite the contrary, Saadi's job is not to cooperate, it is to deceive; not to disarm, but to undermine the inspectors; not to support them, but to frustrate them and to make sure they learn nothing.
We have learned a lot about the work of this special committee. We learned that just prior to the return of inspectors last November the regime had decided to resume what we heard called, quote, "the old game of cat and mouse," unquote.
For example, let me focus on the now famous declaration that Iraq submitted to this council on December 7. Iraq never had any intention of complying with this council's mandate.
Instead, Iraq planned to use the declaration, overwhelm us and to overwhelm the inspectors with useless information about Iraq's permitted weapons so that we would not have time to pursue Iraq's prohibited weapons. Iraq's goal was to give us, in this room, to give those us on this council the false impression that the inspection process was working.
You saw the result. Dr. Blix pronounced the 12,200-page declaration, rich in volume, but poor in information and practically devoid of new evidence.
Could any member of this council honestly rise in defense of this false declaration?
Everything we have seen and heard indicates that, instead of cooperating actively with the inspectors to ensure the success of their mission, Saddam Hussein and his regime are busy doing all they possibly can to ensure that inspectors succeed in finding absolutely nothing.
My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources.
Orders were issued to Iraq's security organizations, as well as to Saddam Hussein's own office, to hide all correspondence with the Organization of Military Industrialization.
This is the organization that oversees Iraq's weapons of mass destruction activities. Make sure there are no documents left which could connect you to the OMI.
We know that Saddam's son, Qusay, ordered the removal of all prohibited weapons from Saddam's numerous palace complexes. We know that Iraqi government officials, members of the ruling Baath Party and scientists have hidden prohibited items in their homes. Other key files from military and scientific establishments have been placed in cars that are being driven around the countryside by Iraqi intelligence agents to avoid detection.
Thanks to intelligence they were provided, the inspectors recently found dramatic confirmation of these reports. When they searched the home of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, they uncovered roughly 2,000 pages of documents. You see them here being brought out of the home and placed in U.N. hands. Some of the material is classified and related to Iraq's nuclear program.
Tell me, answer me, are the inspectors to search the house of every government official, every Baath Party member and every scientist in the country to find the truth, to get the information they need, to satisfy the demands of our council?
Our sources tell us that, in some cases, the hard drives of computers at Iraqi weapons facilities were replaced. Who took the hard drives. Where did they go? What's being hidden? Why? There's only one answer to the why: to deceive, to hide, to keep from the inspectors.
Numerous human sources tell us that the Iraqis are moving, not just documents and hard drives, but weapons of mass destruction to keep them from being found by inspectors.
While we were here in this council chamber debating Resolution 1441 last fall, we know, we know from sources that a missile brigade outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agents to various locations, distributing them to various locations in western Iraq. Most of the launchers and warheads have been hidden in large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection.
We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities.
Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis takes experts with years and years of experience, pouring for hours and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate to our imagery specialists.
Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji (ph). This is one of about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the additional four chemical weapon shells.
Here, you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines. The four that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions bunkers.
How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a closer look. Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close- up of one of the four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions. The arrow at the top that says security points to a facility that is the signature item for this kind of bunker. Inside that facility are special guards and special equipment to monitor any leakage that might come out of the bunker.
The truck you also see is a signature item. It's a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong.
This is characteristic of those four bunkers. The special security facility and the decontamination vehicle will be in the area, if not at any one of them or one of the other, it is moving around those four, and it moves as it needed to move, as people are working in the different bunkers.
Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at two of those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone, the tents are gone, it's been cleaned up, and it was done on the 22nd of December, as the U.N. inspection team is arriving, and you can see the inspection vehicles arriving in the lower portion of the picture on the right. The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there. They found nothing.
This sequence of events raises the worrisome suspicion that Iraq had been tipped off to the forthcoming inspections at Taji (ph). As it did throughout the 1990s, we know that Iraq today is actively using its considerable intelligence capabilities to hide its illicit activities. From our sources, we know that inspectors are under constant surveillance by an army of Iraqi intelligence operatives. Iraq is relentlessly attempting to tap all of their communications, both voice and electronics.
I would call my colleagues attention to the fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday, which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.
In this next example, you will see the type of concealment activity Iraq has undertaken in response to the resumption of inspections. Indeed, in November 2002, just when the inspections were about to resume this type of activity spiked. Here are three examples.
At this ballistic missile site, on November 10, we saw a cargo truck preparing to move ballistic missile components. At this biological weapons related facility, on November 25, just two days before inspections resumed, this truck caravan appeared, something we almost never see at this facility, and we monitor it carefully and regularly.
At this ballistic missile facility, again, two days before inspections began, five large cargo trucks appeared along with the truck-mounted crane to move missiles. We saw this kind of house cleaning at close to 30 sites.
Days after this activity, the vehicles and the equipment that I've just highlighted disappear and the site returns to patterns of normalcy. We don't know precisely what Iraq was moving, but the inspectors already knew about these sites, so Iraq knew that they would be coming.
We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they had or did not have?
Remember the first intercept in which two Iraqis talked about the need to hide a modified vehicle from the inspectors. Where did Iraq take all of this equipment? Why wasn't it presented to the inspectors?
Iraq also has refused to permit any U-2 reconnaissance flights that would give the inspectors a better sense of what's being moved before, during and after inspectors.
This refusal to allow this kind of reconnaissance is in direct, specific violation of operative paragraph seven of our Resolution 1441. Saddam Hussein and his regime are not just trying to conceal weapons, they're also trying to hide people. You know the basic facts. Iraq has not complied with its obligation to allow immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted and private access to all officials and other persons as required by Resolution 1441.
The regime only allows interviews with inspectors in the presence of an Iraqi official, a minder. The official Iraqi organization charged with facilitating inspections announced, announced publicly and announced ominously that, quote, "Nobody is ready to leave Iraq to be interviewed."
Iraqi Vice President Ramadan accused the inspectors of conducting espionage, a veiled threat that anyone cooperating with U.N. inspectors was committing treason.
Iraq did not meet its obligations under 1441 to provide a comprehensive list of scientists associated with its weapons of mass destruction programs. Iraq's list was out of date and contained only about 500 names, despite the fact that UNSCOM had earlier put together a list of about 3,500 names.
Let me just tell you what a number of human sources have told us.
Saddam Hussein has directly participated in the effort to prevent interviews. In early December, Saddam Hussein had all Iraqi scientists warned of the serious consequences that they and their families would face if they revealed any sensitive information to the inspectors. They were forced to sign documents acknowledging that divulging information is punishable by death.
Saddam Hussein also said that scientists should be told not to agree to leave Iraq; anyone who agreed to be interviewed outside Iraq would be treated as a spy. This violates 1441.
In mid-November, just before the inspectors returned, Iraqi experts were ordered to report to the headquarters of the special security organization to receive counterintelligence training. The training focused on evasion methods, interrogation resistance techniques, and how to mislead inspectors.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries.
For example, in mid-December weapons experts at one facility were replaced by Iraqi intelligence agents who were to deceive inspectors about the work that was being done there.
On orders from Saddam Hussein, Iraqi officials issued a false death certificate for one scientist, and he was sent into hiding.
In the middle of January, experts at one facility that was related to weapons of mass destruction, those experts had been ordered to stay home from work to avoid the inspectors. Workers from other Iraqi military facilities not engaged in elicit weapons projects were to replace the workers who'd been sent home. A dozen experts have been placed under house arrest, not in their own houses, but as a group at one of Saddam Hussein's guest houses. It goes on and on and on.
As the examples I have just presented show, the information and intelligence we have gathered point to an active and systematic effort on the part of the Iraqi regime to keep key materials and people from the inspectors in direct violation of Resolution 1441. The pattern is not just one of reluctant cooperation, nor is it merely a lack of cooperation. What we see is a deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful inspection work.
My colleagues, operative paragraph four of U.N. Resolution 1441, which we lingered over so long last fall, clearly states that false statements and omissions in the declaration and a failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution shall constitute -- the facts speak for themselves -- shall constitute a further material breach of its obligation.
We wrote it this way to give Iraq an early test -- to give Iraq an early test. Would they give an honest declaration and would they early on indicate a willingness to cooperate with the inspectors? It was designed to be an early test.
They failed that test. By this standard, the standard of this operative paragraph, I believe that Iraq is now in further material breach of its obligations. I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable.
Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences called for in U.N. Resolution 1441. And this body places itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding effectively and immediately.
The issue before us is not how much time we are willing to give the inspectors to be frustrated by Iraqi obstruction. But how much longer are we willing to put up with Iraq's noncompliance before we, as a council, we, as the United Nations, say: "Enough. Enough."
The gravity of this moment is matched by the gravity of the threat that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction pose to the world. Let me now turn to those deadly weapons programs and describe why they are real and present dangers to the region and to the world.
First, biological weapons. We have talked frequently here about biological weapons. By way of introduction and history, I think there are just three quick points I need to make.
First, you will recall that it took UNSCOM four long and frustrating years to pry -- to pry -- an admission out of Iraq that it had biological weapons.
Second, when Iraq finally admitted having these weapons in 1995, the quantities were vast. Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little bit about this amount -- this is just about the amount of a teaspoon -- less than a teaspoon full of dry anthrax in an envelope shutdown the United States Senate in the fall of 2001. This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency medical treatment and killed two postal workers just from an amount just about this quantity that was inside of an envelope.
Iraq declared 8,500 liters of anthrax, but UNSCOM estimates that Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons. And Saddam Hussein has not verifiably accounted for even one teaspoon-full of this deadly material.
And that is my third point. And it is key. The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we know they had. They have never accounted for all the organic material used to make them. And they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these agents such as there are 400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true. This is all well-documented.
Dr. Blix told this council that Iraq has provided little evidence to verify anthrax production and no convincing evidence of its destruction. It should come as no shock then, that since Saddam Hussein forced out the last inspectors in 1998, we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons.
One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq's biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.
Let me take you inside that intelligence file and share with you what we know from eye witness accounts. We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.
The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors. In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War.
Although Iraq's mobile production program began in the mid-1990s, U.N. inspectors at the time only had vague hints of such programs. Confirmation came later, in the year 2000.
The source was an eye witness, an Iraqi chemical engineer who supervised one of these facilities. He actually was present during biological agent production runs. He was also at the site when an accident occurred in 1998. Twelve technicians died from exposure to biological agents.
He reported that when UNSCOM was in country and inspecting, the biological weapons agent production always began on Thursdays at midnight because Iraq thought UNSCOM would not inspect on the Muslim Holy Day, Thursday night through Friday. He added that this was important because the units could not be broken down in the middle of a production run, which had to be completed by Friday evening before the inspectors might arrive again. This defector is currently hiding in another country with the certain knowledge that Saddam Hussein will kill him if he finds him. His eye-witness account of these mobile production facilities has been corroborated by other sources.
A second source, an Iraqi civil engineer in a position to know the details of the program, confirmed the existence of transportable facilities moving on trailers.
A third source, also in a position to know, reported in summer 2002 that Iraq had manufactured mobile production systems mounted on road trailer units and on rail cars.
Finally, a fourth source, an Iraqi major, who defected, confirmed that Iraq has mobile biological research laboratories, in addition to the production facilities I mentioned earlier.
We have diagrammed what our sources reported about these mobile facilities. Here you see both truck and rail car-mounted mobile factories. The description our sources gave us of the technical features required by such facilities are highly detailed and extremely accurate. As these drawings based on their description show, we know what the fermenters look like, we know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like. We know how they fit together. We know how they work. And we know a great deal about the platforms on which they are mounted.
As shown in this diagram, these factories can be concealed easily, either by moving ordinary-looking trucks and rail cars along Iraq's thousands of miles of highway or track, or by parking them in a garage or warehouse or somewhere in Iraq's extensive system of underground tunnels and bunkers.
We know that Iraq has at lest seven of these mobile biological agent factories. The truck-mounted ones have at least two or three trucks each. That means that the mobile production facilities are very few, perhaps 18 trucks that we know of -- there may be more -- but perhaps 18 that we know of. Just imagine trying to find 18 trucks among the thousands and thousands of trucks that travel the roads of Iraq every single day.
It took the inspectors four years to find out that Iraq was making biological agents. How long do you think it will take the inspectors to find even one of these 18 trucks without Iraq coming forward, as they are supposed to, with the information about these kinds of capabilities?
Ladies and gentlemen, these are sophisticated facilities. For example, they can produce anthrax and botulinum toxin. In fact, they can produce enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. And dry agent of this type is the most lethal form for human beings.
By 1998, U.N. experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological weapons programs. Now, Iraq has incorporated this drying expertise into these mobile production facilities.
We know from Iraq's past admissions that it has successfully weaponized not only anthrax, but also other biological agents, including botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin.
But Iraq's research efforts did not stop there. Saddam Hussein has investigated dozens of biological agents causing diseases such as gas gangrene, plague, typhus (ph), tetanus, cholera, camelpox and hemorrhagic fever, and he also has the wherewithal to develop smallpox.
The Iraqi regime has also developed ways to disburse lethal biological agents, widely and discriminately into the water supply, into the air. For example, Iraq had a program to modify aerial fuel tanks for Mirage jets. This video of an Iraqi test flight obtained by UNSCOM some years ago shows an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet aircraft. Note the spray coming from beneath the Mirage; that is 2,000 liters of simulated anthrax that a jet is spraying.
In 1995, an Iraqi military officer, Mujahid Sali Abdul Latif (ph), told inspectors that Iraq intended the spray tanks to be mounted onto a MiG-21 that had been converted into an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a UAV. UAVs outfitted with spray tanks constitute an ideal method for launching a terrorist attack using biological weapons.
Iraq admitted to producing four spray tanks. But to this day, it has provided no credible evidence that they were destroyed, evidence that was required by the international community.
There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction. If biological weapons seem too terrible to contemplate, chemical weapons are equally chilling.
UNMOVIC already laid out much of this, and it is documented for all of us to read in UNSCOM's 1999 report on the subject.
Let me set the stage with three key points that all of us need to keep in mind: First, Saddam Hussein has used these horrific weapons on another country and on his own people. In fact, in the history of chemical warfare, no country has had more battlefield experience with chemical weapons since World War I than Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Second, as with biological weapons, Saddam Hussein has never accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry: 550 artillery shells with mustard, 30,000 empty munitions and enough precursors to increase his stockpile to as much as 500 tons of chemical agents. If we consider just one category of missing weaponry -- 6,500 bombs from the Iran-Iraq war -- UNMOVIC says the amount of chemical agent in them would be in the order of 1,000 tons. These quantities of chemical weapons are now unaccounted for.
Dr. Blix has quipped that, quote, "Mustard gas is not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) You are supposed to know what you did with it." We believe Saddam Hussein knows what he did with it, and he has not come clean with the international community. We have evidence these weapons existed. What we don't have is evidence from Iraq that they have been destroyed or where they are. That is what we are still waiting for.
Third point, Iraq's record on chemical weapons is replete with lies. It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons.
The admission only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamal, Saddam Hussein's late son-in-law. UNSCOM also gained forensic evidence that Iraq had produced VX and put it into weapons for delivery.
Yet, to this day, Iraq denies it had ever weaponized VX. And on January 27, UNMOVIC told this council that it has information that conflicts with the Iraqi account of its VX program.
We know that Iraq has embedded key portions of its illicit chemical weapons infrastructure within its legitimate civilian industry. To all outward appearances, even to experts, the infrastructure looks like an ordinary civilian operation. Illicit and legitimate production can go on simultaneously; or, on a dime, this dual-use infrastructure can turn from clandestine to commercial and then back again.
These inspections would be unlikely, any inspections of such facilities would be unlikely to turn up anything prohibited, especially if there is any warning that the inspections are coming. Call it ingenuous or evil genius, but the Iraqis deliberately designed their chemical weapons programs to be inspected. It is infrastructure with a built-in ally.
Under the guise of dual-use infrastructure, Iraq has undertaken an effort to reconstitute facilities that were closely associated with its past program to develop and produce chemical weapons.
For example, Iraq has rebuilt key portions of the Tariq (ph) state establishment. Tariq (ph) includes facilities designed specifically for Iraq's chemical weapons program and employs key figures from past programs.
That's the production end of Saddam's chemical weapons business. What about the delivery end?
I'm going to show you a small part of a chemical complex called al-Moussaid (ph), a site that Iraq has used for at least three years to transship chemical weapons from production facilities out to the field.
In May 2002, our satellites photographed the unusual activity in this picture. Here we see cargo vehicles are again at this transshipment point, and we can see that they are accompanied by a decontamination vehicle associated with biological or chemical weapons activity.
What makes this picture significant is that we have a human source who has corroborated that movement of chemical weapons occurred at this site at that time. So it's not just the photo, and it's not an individual seeing the photo. It's the photo and then the knowledge of an individual being brought together to make the case.
This photograph of the site taken two months later in July shows not only the previous site, which is the figure in the middle at the top with the bulldozer sign near it, it shows that this previous site, as well as all of the other sites around the site, have been fully bulldozed and graded. The topsoil has been removed. The Iraqis literally removed the crust of the earth from large portions of this site in order to conceal chemical weapons evidence that would be there from years of chemical weapons activity.
To support its deadly biological and chemical weapons programs, Iraq procures needed items from around the world using an extensive clandestine network. What we know comes largely from intercepted communications and human sources who are in a position to know the facts.
Iraq's procurement efforts include equipment that can filter and separate micro-organisms and toxins involved in biological weapons, equipment that can be used to concentrate the agent, growth media that can be used to continue producing anthrax and botulinum toxin, sterilization equipment for laboratories, glass-lined reactors and specialty pumps that can handle corrosive chemical weapons agents and precursors, large amounts of vinyl chloride, a precursor for nerve and blister agents, and other chemicals such as sodium sulfide, an important mustard agent precursor.
Now, of course, Iraq will argue that these items can also be used for legitimate purposes. But if that is true, why do we have to learn about them by intercepting communications and risking the lives of human agents? With Iraq's well documented history on biological and chemical weapons, why should any of us give Iraq the benefit of the doubt? I don't, and I don't think you will either after you hear this next intercept.
Just a few weeks ago, we intercepted communications between two commanders in Iraq's Second Republican Guard Corps. One commander is going to be giving an instruction to the other. You will hear as this unfolds that what he wants to communicate to the other guy, he wants to make sure the other guy hears clearly, to the point of repeating it so that it gets written down and completely understood. Listen.
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[Speaking in Foreign Language.]
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Let's review a few selected items of this conversation. Two officers talking to each other on the radio want to make sure that nothing is misunderstood: "Remove. Remove."
The expression, the expression, "I got it."
"Nerve agents. Nerve agents. Wherever it comes up."
"Wherever it comes up."
"In the wireless instructions, in the instructions."
"Correction. No. In the wireless instructions."
"Wireless. I got it."
Why does he repeat it that way? Why is he so forceful in making sure this is understood? And why did he focus on wireless instructions? Because the senior officer is concerned that somebody might be listening.
Well, somebody was.
"Nerve agents. Stop talking about it. They are listening to us. Don't give any evidence that we have these horrible agents."
Well, we know that they do. And this kind of conversation confirms it.
Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough agent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.
Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enable Saddam Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 square miles of territory, an area nearly 5 times the size of Manhattan.
Let me remind you that, of the 122 millimeter chemical warheads, that the U.N. inspectors found recently, this discovery could very well be, as has been noted, the tip of the submerged iceberg. The question before us, all my friends, is when will we see the rest of the submerged iceberg?
Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein has used such weapons. And Saddam Hussein has no compunction about using them again, against his neighbors and against his own people.
And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorized his field commanders to use them. He wouldn't be passing out the orders if he didn't have the weapons or the intent to use them.
We also have sources who tell us that, since the 1980s, Saddam's regime has been experimenting on human beings to perfect its biological or chemical weapons.
A source said that 1,600 death row prisoners were transferred in 1995 to a special unit for such experiments. An eye witness saw prisoners tied down to beds, experiments conducted on them, blood oozing around the victim's mouths and autopsies performed to confirm the effects on the prisoners. Saddam Hussein's humanity -- inhumanity has no limits.
Let me turn now to nuclear weapons. We have no indication that Saddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program.
On the contrary, we have more than a decade of proof that he remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons.
To fully appreciate the challenge that we face today, remember that, in 1991, the inspectors searched Iraq's primary nuclear weapons facilities for the first time. And they found nothing to conclude that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program.
But based on defector information in May of 1991, Saddam Hussein's lie was exposed. In truth, Saddam Hussein had a massive clandestine nuclear weapons program that covered several different techniques to enrich uranium, including electromagnetic isotope separation, gas centrifuge, and gas diffusion. We estimate that this elicit program cost the Iraqis several billion dollars.
Nonetheless, Iraq continued to tell the IAEA that it had no nuclear weapons program. If Saddam had not been stopped, Iraq could have produced a nuclear bomb by 1993, years earlier than most worse- case assessments that had been made before the war.
In 1995, as a result of another defector, we find out that, after his invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein had initiated a crash program to build a crude nuclear weapon in violation of Iraq's U.N. obligations.
Saddam Hussein already possesses two out of the three key components needed to build a nuclear bomb. He has a cadre of nuclear scientists with the expertise, and he has a bomb design.
Since 1998, his efforts to reconstitute his nuclear program have been focused on acquiring the third and last component, sufficient fissile material to produce a nuclear explosion. To make the fissile material, he needs to develop an ability to enrich uranium.
Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed.
These tubes are controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group precisely because they can be used as centrifuges for enriching uranium. By now, just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know that there are differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for.
Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.
Let me tell you what is not controversial about these tubes. First, all the experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possession agree that they can be adapted for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq had no business buying them for any purpose. They are banned for Iraq.
I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but just as an old Army trooper, I can tell you a couple of things: First, it strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets.
Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.
Second, we actually have examined tubes from several different batches that were seized clandestinely before they reached Baghdad. What we notice in these different batches is a progression to higher and higher levels of specification, including, in the latest batch, an anodized coating on extremely smooth inner and outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the specifications, go to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?
The high tolerance aluminum tubes are only part of the story. We also have intelligence from multiple sources that Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and high-speed balancing machines; both items can be used in a gas centrifuge program to enrich uranium.
In 1999 and 2000, Iraqi officials negotiated with firms in Romania, India, Russia and Slovenia for the purchase of a magnet production plant. Iraq wanted the plant to produce magnets weighing 20 to 30 grams. That's the same weight as the magnets used in Iraq's gas centrifuge program before the Gulf War. This incident linked with the tubes is another indicator of Iraq's attempt to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.
Intercepted communications from mid-2000 through last summer show that Iraq front companies sought to buy machines that can be used to balance gas centrifuge rotors. One of these companies also had been involved in a failed effort in 2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into Iraq.
People will continue to debate this issue, but there is no doubt in my mind, these elicit procurement efforts show that Saddam Hussein is very much focused on putting in place the key missing piece from his nuclear weapons program, the ability to produce fissile material. He also has been busy trying to maintain the other key parts of his nuclear program, particularly his cadre of key nuclear scientists.
It is noteworthy that, over the last 18 months, Saddam Hussein has paid increasing personal attention to Iraqi's top nuclear scientists, a group that the governmental-controlled press calls openly, his nuclear mujahedeen. He regularly exhorts them and praises their progress. Progress toward what end?
Long ago, the Security Council, this council, required Iraq to halt all nuclear activities of any kind.
Let me talk now about the systems Iraq is developing to deliver weapons of mass destruction, in particular Iraq's ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.
First, missiles. We all remember that before the Gulf War Saddam Hussein's goal was missiles that flew not just hundreds, but thousands of kilometers. He wanted to strike not only his neighbors, but also nations far beyond his borders.
While inspectors destroyed most of the prohibited ballistic missiles, numerous intelligence reports over the past decade, from sources inside Iraq, indicate that Saddam Hussein retains a covert force of up to a few dozen Scud variant ballistic missiles. These are missiles with a range of 650 to 900 kilometers.
We know from intelligence and Iraq's own admissions that Iraq's alleged permitted ballistic missiles, the al-Samud II (ph) and the al- Fatah (ph), violate the 150-kilometer limit established by this council in Resolution 687. These are prohibited systems.
UNMOVIC has also reported that Iraq has illegally important 380 SA-2 (ph) rocket engines. These are likely for use in the al-Samud II (ph). Their import was illegal on three counts. Resolution 687 prohibited all military shipments into Iraq. UNSCOM specifically prohibited use of these engines in surface-to-surface missiles. And finally, as we have just noted, they are for a system that exceeds the 150-kilometer range limit.
Worst of all, some of these engines were acquired as late as December -- after this council passed Resolution 1441.
What I want you to know today is that Iraq has programs that are intended to produce ballistic missiles that fly of 1,000 kilometers. One program is pursuing a liquid fuel missile that would be able to fly more than 1,200 kilometers. And you can see from this map, as well as I can, who will be in danger of these missiles.
As part of this effort, another little piece of evidence, Iraq has built an engine test stand that is larger than anything it has ever had. Notice the dramatic difference in size between the test stand on the left, the old one, and the new one on the right. Note the large exhaust vent. This is where the flame from the engine comes out. The exhaust on the right test stand is five times longer than the one on the left. The one on the left was used for short-range missile. The one on the right is clearly intended for long-range missiles that can fly 1,200 kilometers.
This photograph was taken in April of 2002. Since then, the test stand has been finished and a roof has been put over it so it will be harder for satellites to see what's going on underneath the test stand.
Saddam Hussein's intentions have never changed. He is not developing the missiles for self-defense. These are missiles that Iraq wants in order to project power, to threaten, and to deliver chemical, biological and, if we let him, nuclear warheads.
Now, unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.
Iraq has been working on a variety of UAVs for more than a decade. This is just illustrative of what a UAV would look like. This effort has included attempts to modify for unmanned flight the MiG-21 (ph) and with greater success an aircraft called the L-29 (ph). However, Iraq is now concentrating not on these airplanes, but on developing and testing smaller UAVs, such as this.
UAVs are well suited for dispensing chemical and biological weapons.
There is ample evidence that Iraq has dedicated much effort to developing and testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs. And of the little that Saddam Hussein told us about UAVs, he has not told the truth. One of these lies is graphically and indisputably demonstrated by intelligence we collected on June 27, last year.
According to Iraq's December 7 declaration, its UAVs have a range of only 80 kilometers. But we detected one of Iraq's newest UAVs in a test flight that went 500 kilometers nonstop on autopilot in the race track pattern depicted here.
Not only is this test well in excess of the 150 kilometers that the United Nations permits, the test was left out of Iraq's December 7th declaration. The UAV was flown around and around and around in a circle. And so, that its 80 kilometer limit really was 500 kilometers unrefueled and on autopilot, violative of all of its obligations under 1441.
The linkages over the past 10 years between Iraq's UAV program and biological and chemical warfare agents are of deep concern to us. Iraq could use these small UAVs which have a wingspan of only a few meters to deliver biological agents to its neighbors or if transported, to other countries, including the United States.
My friends, the information I have presented to you about these terrible weapons and about Iraq's continued flaunting of its obligations under Security Council Resolution 1441 links to a subject I now want to spend a little bit of time on. And that has to do with terrorism.
Our concern is not just about these elicit weapons. It's the way that these elicit weapons can be connected to terrorists and terrorist organizations that have no compunction about using such devices against innocent people around the world.
Iraq and terrorism go back decades. Baghdad trains Palestine Liberation Front members in small arms and explosives. Saddam uses the Arab Liberation Front to funnel money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in order to prolong the Intifada. And it's no secret that Saddam's own intelligence service was involved in dozens of attacks or attempted assassinations in the 1990s.
But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated in collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants.
Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan war more than a decade ago. Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp. One of his specialities and one of the specialties of this camp is poisons. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqaqi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp. And this camp is located in northeastern Iraq.
You see a picture of this camp.
The network is teaching its operatives how to produce ricin and other poisons. Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch -- image a pinch of salt -- less than a pinch of ricin, eating just this amount in your food, would cause shock followed by circulatory failure. Death comes within 72 hours and there is no antidote, there is no cure. It is fatal.
Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein's controlled Iraq. But Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization, Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000 this agent offered al Qaeda safe haven in the region. After we swept al Qaeda from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain their today.
Zarqawi's activities are not confined to this small corner of north east Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day.
During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months.
Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with al Qaeda. These denials are simply not credible. Last year an al Qaeda associate bragged that the situation in Iraq was, quote, "good," that Baghdad could be transited quickly.
We know these affiliates are connected to Zarqawi because they remain even today in regular contact with his direct subordinates, including the poison cell plotters, and they are involved in moving more than money and materiale.
Last year, two suspected al Qaeda operatives were arrested crossing from Iraq into Saudi Arabia. They were linked to associates of the Baghdad cell, and one of them received training in Afghanistan on how to use cyanide. From his terrorist network in Iraq, Zarqawi can direct his network in the Middle East and beyond.
We, in the United States, all of us at the State Department, and the Agency for International Development -- we all lost a dear friend with the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Lawrence Foley in Amman, Jordan last October, a despicable act was committed that day. The assassination of an individual whose sole mission was to assist the people of Jordan. The captured assassin says his cell received money and weapons from Zarqawi for that murder.
After the attack, an associate of the assassin left Jordan to go to Iraq to obtain weapons and explosives for further operations. Iraqi officials protest that they are not aware of the whereabouts of Zarqawi or of any of his associates. Again, these protests are not credible. We know of Zarqawi's activities in Baghdad. I described them earlier.
And now let me add one other fact. We asked a friendly security service to approach Baghdad about extraditing Zarqawi and providing information about him and his close associates. This service contacted Iraqi officials twice, and we passed details that should have made it easy to find Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Zarqawi still remains at large to come and go.
As my colleagues around this table and as the citizens they represent in Europe know, Zarqawi's terrorism is not confined to the Middle East. Zarqawi and his network have plotted terrorist actions against countries, including France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia.
According to detainee Abuwatia (ph), who graduated from Zarqawi's terrorist camp in Afghanistan, tasks at least nine North African extremists from 2001 to travel to Europe to conduct poison and explosive attacks.
Since last year, members of this network have been apprehended in France, Britain, Spain and Italy. By our last count, 116 operatives connected to this global web have been arrested.
The chart you are seeing shows the network in Europe. We know about this European network, and we know about its links to Zarqawi, because the detainee who provided the information about the targets also provided the names of members of the network.
Three of those he identified by name were arrested in France last December. In the apartments of the terrorists, authorities found circuits for explosive devices and a list of ingredients to make toxins.
The detainee who helped piece this together says the plot also targeted Britain. Later evidence, again, proved him right. When the British unearthed a cell there just last month, one British police officer was murdered during the disruption of the cell.
We also know that Zarqawi's colleagues have been active in the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia and in Chechnya, Russia. The plotting to which they are linked is not mere chatter. Members of Zarqawi's network say their goal was to kill Russians with toxins.
We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his subordinates. This understanding builds on decades long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.
Going back to the early and mid-1990s, when bin Laden was based in Sudan, an al Qaeda source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an understanding that al Qaeda would no longer support activities against Baghdad. Early al Qaeda ties were forged by secret, high-level intelligence service contacts with al Qaeda, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level contacts with al Qaeda.
We know members of both organizations met repeatedly and have met at least eight times at very senior levels since the early 1990s. In 1996, a foreign security service tells us, that bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Khartoum, and later met the director of the Iraqi intelligence service.
Saddam became more interested as he saw al Qaeda's appalling attacks. A detained al Qaeda member tells us that Saddam was more willing to assist al Qaeda after the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Saddam was also impressed by al Qaeda's attacks on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000.
Iraqis continued to visit bin Laden in his new home in Afghanistan. A senior defector, one of Saddam's former intelligence chiefs in Europe, says Saddam sent his agents to Afghanistan sometime in the mid-1990s to provide training to al Qaeda members on document forgery.
From the late 1990s until 2001, the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan played the role of liaison to the al Qaeda organization.
Some believe, some claim these contacts do not amount to much. They say Saddam Hussein's secular tyranny and al Qaeda's religious tyranny do not mix. I am not comforted by this thought. Ambition and hatred are enough to bring Iraq and al Qaeda together, enough so al Qaeda could learn how to build more sophisticated bombs and learn how to forge documents, and enough so that al Qaeda could turn to Iraq for help in acquiring expertise on weapons of mass destruction.
And the record of Saddam Hussein's cooperation with other Islamist terrorist organizations is clear. Hamas, for example, opened an office in Baghdad in 1999, and Iraq has hosted conferences attended by Palestine Islamic Jihad. These groups are at the forefront of sponsoring suicide attacks against Israel.
al Qaeda continues to have a deep interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. As with the story of Zarqawi and his network, I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al Qaeda.
Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story. I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it.
This senior al Qaeda terrorist was responsible for one of al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan.
His information comes first-hand from his personal involvement at senior levels of al Qaeda. He says bin Laden and his top deputy in Afghanistan, deceased al Qaeda leader Muhammad Atif (ph), did not believe that al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to look outside of Afghanistan for help. Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq.
The support that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) had been sent to Iraq several times between 1997 and 2000 for help in acquiring poisons and gases. Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.
As I said at the outset, none of this should come as a surprise to any of us. Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades. Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a name. And this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new. The nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal.
With this track record, Iraqi denials of supporting terrorism take the place alongside the other Iraqi denials of weapons of mass destruction. It is all a web of lies.
When we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.
My friends, this has been a long and a detailed presentation. And I thank you for your patience. But there is one more subject that I would like to touch on briefly. And it should be a subject of deep and continuing concern to this council, Saddam Hussein's violations of human rights.
Underlying all that I have said, underlying all the facts and the patterns of behavior that I have identified as Saddam Hussein's contempt for the will of this council, his contempt for the truth and most damning of all, his utter contempt for human life. Saddam Hussein's use of mustard and nerve gas against the Kurds in 1988 was one of the 20th century's most horrible atrocities; 5,000 men, women and children died.
His campaign against the Kurds from 1987 to '89 included mass summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary jailing, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of some 2,000 villages. He has also conducted ethnic cleansing against the Shi'a Iraqis and the Marsh Arabs whose culture has flourished for more than a millennium. Saddam Hussein's police state ruthlessly eliminates anyone who dares to dissent. Iraq has more forced disappearance cases than any other country, tens of thousands of people reported missing in the past decade.
Nothing points more clearly to Saddam Hussein's dangerous intentions and the threat he poses to all of us than his calculated cruelty to his own citizens and to his neighbors. Clearly, Saddam Hussein and his regime will stop at nothing until something stops him.
For more than 20 years, by word and by deed Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate Iraq and the broader Middle East using the only means he knows, intimidation, coercion and annihilation of all those who might stand in his way. For Saddam Hussein, possession of the world's most deadly weapons is the ultimate trump card, the one he most hold to fulfill his ambition.
We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he's determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein's history of aggression, given what we know of his grandiose plans, given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond?
The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11th world.
My colleagues, over three months ago this council recognized that Iraq continued to pose a threat to international peace and security, and that Iraq had been and remained in material breach of its disarmament obligations. Today Iraq still poses a threat and Iraq still remains in material breach.
Indeed, by its failure to seize on its one last opportunity to come clean and disarm, Iraq has put itself in deeper material breach and closer to the day when it will face serious consequences for its continued defiance of this council.
My colleagues, we have an obligation to our citizens, we have an obligation to this body to see that our resolutions are complied with. We wrote 1441 not in order to go to war, we wrote 1441 to try to preserve the peace. We wrote 1441 to give Iraq one last chance. Iraq is not so far taking that one last chance.
We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibility to the citizens of the countries that are represented by this body.
Thank you, Mr. President.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished secretary of state of the United States of America for his statement. I call now on the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of China, his excellency, Mr. Tang Jiaxuan.
TANG JIAXUAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Mr. President, I would like to begin by congratulating Germany on its assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. It's a great pleasure to see Foreign Minister Fischer chair today's meeting.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my deep condolences for the tragic deaths of astronaut aboard space shuttle Columbia and convey my heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved families.
I wish to thank Secretary Powell for his presentation.
Now I would like to share the following views on Iraq.
First, the fact that foreign ministers from most of the council members are present at today's meeting shows the importance all parties attach to the authority and role of the Security Council and to their support for the resolution of the Iraqi issue within the framework of this world body.
The Security Council has basically maintained unity and cooperation on this issue. This is of crucial importance to its appropriate resolution and represents the desire of the international community.
Secondly, China welcomes the U.S. move to provide the United Nations with this information and evidence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which we believe is consistent with the spirit of Resolution 1441 and could help increase transparency.
We hope that various parties will hand over their information and evidence to the UNMOVIC and the IAEA. This will help them with more effective inspections, and through their on-the-spot inspections, this information and evidence can also be evaluated. The two agencies should report their findings to the Security Council in a timely way.
Thirdly, the inspections have been going on for more than two months now. The two agencies have been working very hard and their work deserves our recognition. It is their view that now they are not in the position to draw conclusions, and they suggested continuing the inspections. We should respect the views of the two agencies and support the continuation of their work. We hope that the upcoming trip to Iraq by Chairman Blix and Director General ElBaradei on the 8th would yield positive results.
The two agencies pointed out not long ago some problems in the inspections. We urge Iraq to adopt a more proactive approach, make further explanations and clarification as soon as possible, and cooperate with the inspection process.
Fourthly, the Security Council has a common stand on the elimination of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This is fully reflected in relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly the unanimously adopted Resolution 1441.
The most important aspect at present remains the full implementation of this resolution. As for what would be the next step, the Security Council should decide through discussions by all members on the basis of the results of the inspections.
Fifthly, it is the universal desire of the international community to see a political settlement to the issue of Iraq within the U.N. framework and avoid any war. This is something the Security Council must attach (UNINTELLIGIBLE) importance to. As long as there is even the slightest hope for political settlement, we should exert our utmost effort to achieve that. China is ready to join others in working towards this direction.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of China for his statement, and for his kind words addressed to me.
I call on the distinguished secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the right honorable Jack Straw, member of Parliament.
JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Mr. President, may I, like the foreign minister for China, congratulate Germany on taking the presidency of the Security Council and congratulate you personally on assuming the chair this morning.
Mr. President, we've just heard a most powerful and authoritative case against the Iraqi regime set out by United States Secretary of State Powell. The international community owes him its thanks for laying bare the deceit practiced by the regime of Saddam Hussein, and worse, the very great danger which that regime represents.
Three months ago, we united to send Iraq an uncompromising message: Cooperate fully with weapons inspectors or face disarmament by force.
After years of Iraqi deception, when resolutions were consistently flouted, Resolution 1441 was a powerful reminder of the importance of international law and of the authority of the Security Council itself.
United and determined, we gave Iraq a final opportunity to rid itself of its weapons of mass terror; of gasses which can poison thousands in one go; of bacilli and viruses like anthrax and smallpox, which can disable and kill by the tens of thousands; of the means to make nuclear weapons, which can kill by the million.
By Resolution 1441, we strengthened inspections massively. The only missing ingredient was full Iraqi compliance -- immediate, full and active cooperation.
And the truth is, and we all know this, without that full and active cooperation, however strong the inspectors' powers, however good the inspectors, inspections in a country as huge as Iraq could never be sure of finding all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Now, Mr. President, sadly, the inspectors' reports last week and Secretary Powell's presentation today can leave us under no illusions about Saddam Hussein's response. Saddam Hussein holds United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 in the same contempt as all previous resolutions in respect of Iraq.
And let us reflect on what that means: That Saddam is defying every one of us, every nation here represented. He questions our resolve and is gambling that we will lose our nerve rather than enforce our will.
Paragraph 1 of 1441 said that Saddam was and remained in material breach of Security Council resolutions. Paragraph 4 of 1441 then set two clear tests for a further material breach by Iraq.
First, that Iraq must not make false statements or omissions in its declaration. But the Iraqi document submitted to us on the 7th of December, as we've heard from Secretary Powell, was long on repetition but short on fact. It was neither full nor accurate nor complete. And by anyone's definition, it was a false statement. Its central premise, that Iraq possesses no weapons of mass destruction, is a lie.
This outright lie was repeated yesterday on television by Saddam Hussein.
And the declaration also has obvious omissions, not least in the failure to explain what has happened to the large quantities of chemical and biological weapons material and munitions unaccounted for by U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998.
And there is no admission of Iraq's extensive efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction since the last round of UNSCOM inspections ended in December 1998.
Mr. President, paragraph 4 goes on to set a second test for a further material breach; namely, and I quote, "a failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and to cooperate fully in the implementation of Resolution 1441."
Following the presentation by the inspectors last week and today's briefing by Secretary Powell, it is clear that Iraq has failed this test. These briefings have confirmed our worst fears: that Iraq has no intention of relinquishing its weapons of mass destruction, no intention of following the path of peaceful disarmament set out in Security Council Resolution 1441.
Instead of open admissions and transparency, we have a charade where a veneer of superficial cooperation masks willful concealment, the extent of which has been devastatingly revealed this morning by Secretary Powell.
Mr. President, in his report last week, Dr. Blix set out a number of instances where Iraqi behavior reveals a determination to avoid compliance.
Why is Iraq refusing to allow UNMOVIC to use a U-2 plane to conduct aerial imagery and surveillance operations? When will Iraq account for the 6,500 bombs which could carry up to 1,000 tons of chemical agent? How will Iraq justify having a prohibited chemical precursor for mustard gas. But how will Iraq explain the concealment of nuclear documents and the development of a missile program in clear contravention of United Nations resolutions?
And there is, Mr. President, only one possible conclusion from all of this, which is that Iraq is in further material breach as set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. And I believe that all colleagues here, all members will share our deep sense of frustration that Iraq is choosing to spurn this final opportunity to achieve a peaceful outcome.
Mr. President, given what has to follow and the difficult choice now facing us, it would be easy to turn a blind eye to the wording of Resolution 1441 and hope for a change of heart by Iraq. Easy but wrong, because if we did so, we would be repeating the mistakes of the past 12 years and empowering a dictator who believes that his diseases and poison gases are essential weapons to suppress his own people and to threaten his neighbors and that by defiance of the United Nations he can indefinitely hoodwink the world.
Mr. President, under the French presidency two weeks ago, we had a special session on the dangers of international terrorism, which I greatly welcomed, that session, of the grave danger to the world of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction through the connivance of rogue states.
Secretary Powell has today set out deeply worrying reports about the presence in Iraq of one of Osama bin Laden's lieutenants, Al- Zarqawi, and other members of al Qaeda and their efforts to develop poisons.
It defies imagination that all of this could be going on without the knowledge of Saddam Hussein. And the recent discovery of the poison ricin in London has underlined again that this is a threat which all of us face.
Mr. President, Saddam must be left in no doubt as to the serious consequences and the serious situation which he now faces. The United Kingdom does not want war. What we want is for the United Nations system to be upheld.
But the logic of Resolution 1441 is inescapable. Time is now very short. This council will have further reports from the inspectors on Friday week, the 14th of February. If noncooperation continues, this council must meet its responsibilities.
Mr. President, our world faces many threats, from poverty and disease to civil war and terrorism. Working through this great institution, we have the capacity to tackle these challenges together. But if we are to do so, then the decisions we have to take must have a force beyond mere words.
This is a moment of choice for Saddam and for the Iraqi regime, but it is also a moment of choice for this institution, the United Nations.
The United Nations' pre-war predecessor, the League of Nations, had the same fine ideals as the United Nations, but the league failed because it could not create actions from its words. It could not back diplomacy with a credible threat and where necessary, the use of force.
So small evils went unchecked. Tyrants became emboldened. Then greater evils were unleashed.
At each stage good men said, "Wait, the evil is not big enough to challenge." Then before their eyes, the evil became too big to challenge. We slipped slowly down a slope, never noticing how far we had gone until it was too late.
Mr. President, we owe it to our history, as well as to our future, not to make the same mistake again.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for his statement, and for his nice words addressed to me. I call now on the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, his excellency, Mr. Igor Ivanov.
IGOR IVANOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you very much.
Mr. President, while I am in the United States I should like, first of all, on behalf of the leadership and people of Russia, to express profound condolences to the government and people of the United States of America following the tragic death of the crew of the spaceship Columbia. We share the grief of our American partners with whom we are actively cooperating in outer space and primarily in implementing the program of the International Space Station.
The work of the astronauts is probably the best demonstration of the shared fundamental interests of mankind and the need bring together its intellectual, creative efforts in the name of the progress of civilization.
Mr. President, Russia views this meeting today through the prism of the consistent efforts of the Security Council of the United Nations to find a political settlement to the situation surrounding Iraq on the basis of complete, scrupulous compliance with the resolutions on it.
The unanimous adoption of Resolution 1441 of the U.N. Security Council and the deployment of international inspectors in Iraq have demonstrated the ability of the international community to act together in the interest of attaining a common goal.
We are convinced that maintaining the unity of the world community, primarily within the context of the U.N. Security Council, and our concerted action in strict compliance with United Nations Charter and Security Council resolutions, are the most reliable way to resolve the problem of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq through political means. The fact that we all want to resolve this problem, that is something that nobody should doubt. It was with that in mind that we have listened very closely to the presentation given by Secretary of State Powell.
Russia believed and continues to believe that the Security Council, and through it the entire international community, must have all of the necessary information it needs in order to answer the question of whether or not there are remaining weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The information that was given to us today definitely will require very serious and thorough study. Experts in our countries must immediately get down to analyzing it and drawing the appropriate conclusions (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
The main point is, is that this information has to be immediately handed over for processing by UNMOVIC and the IAEA, including through direct on-site verification during the inspections in Iraq.
Baghdad must give the inspectors answers to the questions that we have heard in the presentation given by the U.S. secretary of state. At the same time, we must once again appeal to all states immediately to hand over to the international inspectors any information that can help them discharge their responsible mandate.
The information provided today by U.S. secretary of state once again convincingly indicates the fact that the activities of the international inspectors in Iraq must be continued. They alone can provide an answer to the question, to what extent is Iraq complying with the demands of the Security Council? They alone can help the Security Council work out and adopt carefully balanced, the best possible decisions.
The statements made by Dr. Blix and by Dr. ElBaradei in this very chamber on the 27th of January show that Iraq has deployed a unique inspection mechanism which has everything it needs in order to ensure compliance with Resolution 1441 and other Security Council decisions. This powerful potential must be used fully.
The Security Council of the U.N., all of its members must do everything they can to support the inspection process.
For its part, Russia intends to continue actively to promote the creation of the best possible conditions for the work of the international inspectors in Iraq.
In particular, we are prepared to provide an airplane for aerial monitoring, and if need be, additional inspectors, too.
Russia welcomes the continuation of dialogue between the chairman of UNMOVIC and the director general of the IAEA with Iraq on outstanding unresolved issues. We hope that this dialogue will be extremely concrete and productive.
Inter alia, this is being facilitated by the fact that work has been moved to the timetable set out in Resolution 1284, which should make the international inspectors and the monitoring even more systematic and effective, primarily when it comes to clarifying key disarmament tasks by the end of March of this year.
It is perfectly obvious that the work of UNMOVIC and the IAEA can be effective only if there is full cooperation in good faith by Iraq. Iraq should be the first to be concerned about providing final clarity about the question of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. That is the only way leading to a political settlement, including the lifting of sanctions on Iraq.
Baghdad should clearly realize how crucial this is and do everything in its power so that the international inspectors can discharge their mandate.
Recently, when it comes to the Iraqi settlement, we often hear the phrase that time is running out. Of course, Resolution 1441 is geared to speedily achieving practical results, but any concrete time frames are absent from it. The inspectors alone can recommend to the Security Council how much time they need to carry out the tasks entrusted to them.
In this connection, we must not -- we cannot rule out the possibility of the Security Council that at some stage it may need to adopt a new resolution and, perhaps, more than one resolution.
The main point is that our efforts continue to be geared to doing everything possible to facilitate the inspection process, which has proven its effectiveness and makes it possible to implement the decisions of the Security Council through peaceful means.
Mr. President, the current situation around Iraq, unfortunately, is far from the last problem whose solution we still all have to work on. The international community in the 21st century is confronting new global threats and challenges requiring a unified response from all states.
A graphic example of this approach was the creation of the broad coalition which is combating the main, the most dangerous threat of our time -- international terrorism. It is precisely because of the unity of the world community that initial success has been achieved in combating this scourge.
However, it is perfectly obvious that we are just at the beginning of a very difficult battle with terrorism, and the information provided by U.S. secretary of state about the activities of al Qaeda is further corroboration of this fact.
The unity of the world community will continue to be the main guarantee for the effectiveness of its action. It is precisely unity that has to be pivotal in our approach to any problems, however complicated they may be.
True, tactical differences may arise, and probably there will be quite a few of them, given the complexity of the tasks we need to resolve, but they must not overshadow the strategic goals which are in the interests of our common security and stability.
Thank you, sir.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of the Russian Federation for his statement.
ZAHN: We're going to stay with this picture for a moment and dip out of the Cameroon foreign minister's remarks to the U.N. to alert you that in a couple of minutes we're expecting to see General Amer Al-Saadi, who is the scientific adviser to Saddam Hussein, along with Hossam Amin, who is head of the Iraqi directorate to take to some microphones for their reaction to Secretary of State Powell's speech.
In the meantime, I'm sitting here with Terry Taylor, a former U.N. weapons inspector. We have just seen the secretary of state lay out a substantial list of concrete evidence of Iraqi plans to conceal their weapons of mass destruction, their prohibited missiles programs directed by a very high-level -- or high-ranking members of the Iraqi government, including their vice president, and I guess my question to you is how difficult will it be, even for America's harshest critics, to dismiss what they heard here earlier this morning?
TERENCE TAYLOR, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Well, I think it will be extraordinarily difficult to contradict this evidence. When you connect it all together, it's a whole body of evidence. And then you add to that the evidence that was attained before that by the U.N. special commission and the IAEA, and by the inspectors themselves much more recently. So I think Colin Powell has demonstrated, I think, very clearly that Iraq has not met its obligations under the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.
ZAHN: How effective was the combination of satellite photos, the intercepted radio communications, the pictures or drawings that we saw that were the result, I guess, of human information, sourcing information to the CIA?
TAYLOR: Well, I think it was an extraordinary and unprecedented way that intelligence information was presented to -- in a public forum. You've got to remember, this was an open meeting. And to connect radio intercepts and other forms of electronic intercept with photographs in this way, I think was a very powerful combination. I think very effectively supporting the case that the United States wanted to make.
ZAHN: Now, I know some of what you heard today you were very familiar with from your own inspections in the mid '90s. Walk us through what was the most important thing we should learn about chemical weapons today and then we'll move on to each category the secretary of state touched upon.
TAYLOR: Well, I think an overall point, before getting to a specific weapons thing, is that how difficult it is for the inspectors to do their job against a deliberate concealment plan. But on chemical weapons, I think, we had clear evidence of sites at which there was activity where chemical weapons were clearly removed. We saw photographs of the special decontamination, other vehicles, so a site was cleaned up before the U.N. inspectors got there. This is very recent intelligence information. Most of the information that Colin Powell presented was over the last few months, and I think that's what made it more powerful.
ZAHN: You were very impressed by that?
TAYLOR: I was very impressed.
ZAHN: Let's move on to biological weapons.
TAYLOR: Indeed. Well, I think he also convincingly demonstrated the Iraqi capability through the mobile laboratories, for example. Very detailed information from human intelligence resources. Some people may contend that, but it was very detailed. We saw the types of systems that were put together that clearly could work in this regard. There is a history of Iraq using trucks to move equipment around from the 1990s. So this is not new that they're doing things like that, but not in this elaborate way inside container vehicles.
ZAHN: Finally, Secretary of State Powell made it very clear that he thought Iraq was in material breach of U.N. Resolution 1441 several times, and he implored the U.N., basically to take action. He said, when is this body going to say enough is enough?
TAYLOR: Well, I think that was pretty clear, and I think that resonated -- was also resonated by the U.N. -- by the U.K. foreign secretary, Mr. Straw, when he said, Well, we have to think about this hard body of evidence, concrete evidence that's laid out, and we must reconsider again what we must do about that on the 14th of February. So he laid down a timeline for consideration of what to do next.
ZAHN: Before we let you go, we know you're familiar with all of this material. Is there anything you heard today that shocked you?
TAYLOR: Well, I think the evidence, or the information put out about the trials on human beings with chemical weapons, I think that was pretty shocking information. It's obviously come from human intelligence sources, but I find that pretty frightening, and I'm sure that will resonate with the public. But people will challenge that. We'll just have to wait and see how that goes over.
ZAHN: Terence Taylor, former U.N. weapons inspector. Thank you for your perspective here this morning, and afternoon as we have headed into that afternoon time zone. Let's go back to Wolf Blitzer. He's standing by in Washington.
BLITZER: Thanks, Paula, and as we continue to watch the foreign minister of Cameroon address the U.N. Security Council, let's bring in Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institute -- Institution here in Washington, a former CIA analyst and an official at the National Security Council. When you were watching the release of this classified information, what was the most compelling evidence that the secretary of state had? KEN POLLACK, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, I think the most compelling and also for me the most surprising that they would be willing to actually release it were the imagery of the various chemical weapons sites, and in particular the fact that they had both that signature security vehicle that Secretary Powell mentioned and the decontamination trucks. That is clear, unmistakable evidence that that's what's going on there. It also is burning a very important intelligence source. The Iraqis now know how we fix on where their chemical weaponry is, and we are never going to see either those signature trucks or those decontamination vehicles at another Iraqi site ever again is my guess.
BLITZER: What about the audiotapes that we heard, the intercepted conversations, the communications from the Iraqi officers talking about removing prohibited weapons?
POLLACK: Absolutely. I think the first cut that they played and also the third one, where they talk about removing it, cleaning the site before the inspectors get there, I think that that demonstrates both that the Iraqis have something to hide, and also that they have advance warning of where the inspectors are going well ahead of time, 24 hours ahead of time. And finally, the idea that they were saying no more talking about nerve gas, no more talking about nerve agent on wireless because we know the Americans are listening to our wireless communications.
Makes it clear nerve gas is something still in their vocabulary, it is still in their arsenal, and they want us to make sure -- they want to make sure that we don't find out they've got it.
BLITZER: Wireless communications relatively easy to intercept. Listen to this one key excerpt from what the secretary of state said. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we know they had. They have never accounted for all the organic material used to make them, and they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these agents, such as there are 400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true. This is all well documented.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The next step, presumably, will be for the U.N. inspectors to take this information now released, made public, and do what? What is Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei -- they're going to be going back to Iraq in the next few days, what are they going to do with all this?
POLLACK: Well, I think that that's part of the big debate that's going to come because you heard the Chinese foreign minister, and to some extent the Russian foreign minister also saying that's what should happen, hand all this information over to the inspectors, and let the inspectors get to the bottom of it. I think it's very clear that the United States and Great Britain have something else in mind, and my expectation is that they will basically demand that the Iraqis account for all of this, something that they should have done back in 1991. So for 12 years they've been avoiding doing so. Account for all of it, otherwise the secretary -- the Security Council should take action.
BLITZER: You once worked in the CIA. How upset will analysts and officers at the CIA be -- and the NSA, the National Security Agency, which is charged with electronic intercepting of communications, that the secretary of state and George Tenet, who was visibly sitting right behind him, the director of Central Intelligence, how upset will they be that the U.S. went ahead and effectively burned these sources?
POLLACK: Well, I don't know if I'd say upset, because they all work for the president of the United States, and I think they all understand that this was important enough for U.S. policy that it was necessary to do that.
But that said, yes, they're going to be very disappointed because we burned some very important sources to try to make this case, some of the SigInt sources, the communications intercepts, and again, some of the most important signatures that we use to track Iraqi weapons of mass destruction through imagery.
BLITZER: And finally, before I let you go, was this the best stuff that the U.S. government has, or was it merely the tip of the iceberg based on your experience?
POLLACK: Yes, we've had a lot of icebergs, and this is the tip of another iceberg. I was actually struck by both how conservative they were. I think Colin Powell picked the evidence that he showed to make sure that it could really be substantiated, it wasn't open charges, and also to make sure that it was stuff that could be shown without really jeopardizing the most important evidence we have. That said, there is far, far more evidence out there. I think that the great success of Colin Powell's presentation is I think he made an incredibly compelling case using just the limited amount that he actually showed.
BLITZER: But -- he said the other day in the "Wall Street Journal" no smoking gun. Did he bring a smoking gun?
POLLACK: Well, I think that there was actually a lot of smoke out there. I think the imagery showing some of these sites, demonstrating that the Iraqis clearly have chemical weapons in them, the decontamination vehicles, the signature vehicles. I think that the SigInt cuts also make clear, without a shadow of a doubt, the Iraqis are concealing. And as he was suggesting in that last piece, they're concealing a lot. We are not talking about 12 shells. We're talking of thousands of tons and hundreds if not thousands of munitions.
BLITZER: OK. Ken Pollack. Thanks for joining us.
POLLACK: Thank you, Wolf, for having me.
BLITZER: Paula, as we continue to watch the foreign minister of Cameroon wrap up his presentation, let me throw it back to you.
ZAHN: OK, Wolf. And I just want to give you a warning ahead of time that next up is the foreign minister of France, Dominique de Villepin, and if he speaks in the middle of my next interview, I am going to have to interrupt my next guest, which brings us to Jamie Rubin, who was a former assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration.
I know it is very difficult to distill this deliberate and dense speech into several elements, but what I want to start with were the various audiences that Secretary of State Powell was addressing today. First of all, the members of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. leaders, world leaders, and then of course the American public. Do you think he built a convincing case that Iraq is clearly deceiving weapons inspectors and hiding many of their weapons of mass destruction?
JAMIE RUBIN, FMR. STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Well, I think for the American people, they will believe everything they saw. They have no reason to doubt any of the sources, any of the references to human sources, any of the pictures, or any of the intercepts. So they will conclude the Iraqis are cheating, they're violating the resolution, they have chemical weapons, they have biological weapons, and someday they might have nuclear weapons.
I think for the European audiences and the Security Council audiences, there was one very important thing. I would call it a smoking intercept. The first intercept that was played would convince all but the unconvincible that Iraq has the intention to violate the resolution of the Security Council, that they are hiding information from the inspectors, they are cleaning out sites, and all but the unconvincible, including countries like France and Russia, will have to accept after playing that intercept, and I believe they will believe the intercept, that the Iraqis are violating the resolution and in material breach.
That doesn't answer the question of whether France and Russia will agree to the use of force, but they can no longer hide behind the fig leaf that the inspectors have more work to do, and they haven't received noncooperation. That smoking intercept proves noncooperation, and now the French and the Russians and other wavering countries will have to explain what is their real opposition to the use of force, which is they believe the risks of war outweigh the risks of the use of force.
So we've stripped away some of the phony arguments through this extremely compelling presentation.
ZAHN: When are we likely to hear the French and Germans say these things publicly?
RUBIN: Well, I think you saw the Russians say they were going to study this very carefully. I think the French response will be identical. And I think when the secretary of state meets with the Russian foreign minister and the French...
ZAHN: Jamie, back to the French foreign minister.
DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN, FOREIGN MINISTER OF FRANCE (through translator): First of all, France wishes to reiterate condolences to our American friends after the terrible tragedy that occurred with the space shuttle Columbia.
I'd like to congratulate the German government for having organized this meeting, and I'd like to thank Secretary of State Colin Powell for having taken the initiative of convening it.
I listened very carefully to the elements that he gave to us. They contained information, indications, questions, which deserve further exploration. It will be up to the inspectors to assess the facts as is stated in Resolution 1441.
Already his presentation has provided further justification for the approach chosen by the United Nations. It must strengthen our common determination.
By unanimously adopting Resolution 1441, we chose to act through the inspections. This policy rests on three fundamental points: a clear objection on which we cannot compromise, the disarmament of Iraq, an effort, a rigorous system of inspections, requiring of Iraq active cooperation and which affirms at each stage the central role of the Security Council, a requirement, finally, that of our unity, it gave full force to the message that we unanimously addressed to Baghdad.
I hope that today's meeting will make it possible to strengthen this unity. Important results have already achieved. UNMOVIC and IAEA are working. Deployment on the ground of more than 100 inspectors have occurred; 300 visits a month on average, increase in the number of sites inspected, complete access to the presidential sites in particular. These are all major achievements.
In the nuclear area, these two first months have enabled the IAEA to make, as Dr. ElBaradei has said, to make good progress in its knowledge of Iraq's capacity, and this is a key element.
In the areas covered by UNMOVIC, the inspections have provided us with useful information. Mr. Blix, for example, has indicated that no trace of biological or chemical agents has been, to date, detected by the inspectors, either in the analysis of samples taken on the inspected sites nor in the 12 empty warheads discovered on the 16th of January in Ukhaider (ph).
However, this cooperation still contains some gray areas. The inspectors have reported real difficulties. In their report of 27th January, Mr. Blix gave several examples of unresolved questions in the ballistic, chemical and biological areas.
These uncertainties are not acceptable. France will continue to transmit all of the information we have in order to define it better.
Right now, our attention must be focused, as a matter of priority, on the biological and chemical areas. This is where are presumptions vis-a-vis Iraq are the most significant.
Regarding the chemical area, we have indications about a capacity to produce VX and mustard gas. In the biological area, our evidence suggests -- the evidence suggests that there are significant stocks -- there is the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxins and the possible -- possibly a production capacity today.
The absence of long-range delivery systems reduces the potential threat of these weapons, but we have disturbing indications about the continued determination of Iraq to acquire ballistic missiles with a range exceeding the authorized range of 150 kilometers.
In the nuclear area, we need to fully clarify any attempt by Iraq to acquire aluminum tubes.
This is a demarche which is difficult, but it is anchored in Resolution 1441, which we should conduct together. If this approach fails and leads us to an impasse, we will not rule out any option, including, as a last resort, the use of force, as we have said all along.
But in this kind of scenario, several responses must be clearly given to all governments and all peoples of the world in order to limit uncertainty.
To what extent do the nature and scope of the threat justify use of force? How can we see to it that the considerable risks of this kind of intervention can truly be kept under control?
This clearly requires a collective demarche of responsibility by the international community.
It should, however, be clear that, in the context of this option, the United Nations must be at the center of the action to guarantee the unity of Iraq, to guarantee the stability of the region, to protect civilians and preserve the unity of the international community.
For now, the inspections regime favored by Resolution 1441 must be strengthened, since it has not been completely explored. The use of force can only be a final recourse.
Why go to war if there still exists some unused space in Resolution 1441?
Consistent with the logic of this resolution, we must move on to a new stage and further strengthen the inspections. Given the choice between military intervention and an inspections regime that is inadequate because of a failure to operate on Iraq's part, we must choose the decisive reinforcement of the means of inspection. And this is today what France is proposing. For this, we need to define, with Mr. Blix and with Dr. ElBaradei, the tools necessary to increase the operational capacity. Let us double, let us triple the number of inspectors. Let us open more regional offices. Let us go further than this.
Could we not, for example, put up -- set up a specialized body to keep under surveillance the sites and areas that have already been inspected? Let us very significantly reinforced the capacity for monitoring and collecting information in Iraq.
France is prepared to provide full support for this. It is ready to deploy observation aircraft of the Mirage-4 (ph) kind.
Let us establish, collectively, a coordination center, an information processing center that will provide in real time and in a coordinated manner to Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei all the intelligence resources that they may require.
Let us list and rank, in importance, unresolved disarmament questions.
With the consent of the leaders of the inspections teams, let us lay down the time frame that is strict and realistic.
In order to move forward in evaluating (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we need to have regular follow up of progress made in the disarmament of Iraq.
This enhanced regime of inspections and monitoring could usefully be supplemented by a permanent U.N. coordinator for the disarmament of Iraq, stationed in Iraq and working under the authority of Mr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei.
But Iraq must cooperate actively. This country must completely, immediately meet the requirements of Mr. Blix and ElBaradei, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by committing the holding, without witnesses, of meetings between Iraqi scientists; by agreeing to the use of U-2 observation flights, by adopting legislation prohibiting the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction; by handing over, immediately, to the inspectors any relevant documents about unresolved disarmament issues, in particular, in the biological and chemical areas.
Those that were handed over on the 20th of January was a step in the right direction, but 3,000 pages of documents discovered in the home of a researcher that Baghdad must do more.
Failing in these documents, Iraq must be able to present credible testimony.
The Iraqi authorities must also provide to the inspectors answers to the new information presented by Colin Powell. Between now and the inspectors next report of the 14th of February, Iraq must provide new elements.
The next visit to Baghdad by the leader of the inspectors must be an opportunity to provide concrete -- to achieve concrete results. Sir, this is a demanding demarche that we need to conduct together to move onto a new stage. Its success presupposes today, as it did yesterday, unity and the mobilization of the international community.
Our moral and political duty is first to direct all of our energy to the disarmament of Iraq in peace. Complying with the rule of law and justice, France is convinced that we can succeed on this demanding path if we maintain our unity and our cohesion. This is the choice of our collective responsibility.
Thank you, sir.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished minister of foreign affairs of France for his statement, and I call now on the distinguished minister of foreign affairs of Mexico...
ZAHN: The next foreign minister's remarks, who will be the foreign minister of Mexico, to check back in with Jamie Rubin, who was the former assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration.
Jamie, I don't know how much of Mr. de Villepin's statements you could hear, but he repeated something we've heard the French say repeatedly, that the use of force is a last resort. He suggests that you triple the number of inspectors on duty, go further than the inspectors are going now, and he said, why don't we use, in his words, the open, unused space of resolution 1441? Does that mean he didn't hear much of what Secretary of State Colin Powell had to say today?
RUBIN: Exactly. I think the Russian foreign minister and the French foreign minister wrote their speeches before they listened to Secretary Powell's presentation, and that's the way this sort of set piece orchestrated meeting would take place. The French and the Russians, not by accident, came up with ideas to build up the inspectors, provide them planes from Russia, provide them planes from France, double the number of inspectors, increase their work, all designed to give inspections more time.
What will happen now is the Russian foreign ministry and the French foreign ministry will have to take this rather compelling presentation that Secretary Powell made and absorb it before responding. Their responses will come in the private lunch that they'll probably have shortly.
These were set pieces. The Russians and the French are trying to sell their approach, which is essentially containment, that the risks of war are so great that we should be happy with inspections to contain the threat from Saddam Hussein, while Powell made clear the U.S. position is that containment isn't good enough; so long as we've now proven that he has this material, that he's hiding it from the inspectors, the only choice is force.
ZAHN: Well, let me ask you this, Jamie, take us behind what you would perceive to be going on, behind the door closed meetings of French and German officials after hearing this speech. How can they not question the legitimacy of the ongoing inspections?
RUBIN: Well, I think you're absolutely right. I think when the Germans and the French leave the room. You know, the Germans are quite taken by intelligence. I remember sitting in a similar meeting behind closed doors, and the German ambassador was quite taken by what he had seen. So I suspect what he's saying is, boy, we have a tough case to make that these inspections are going to disarm Iraq; we have to be honest and start talking about containment, and the risks of war being too great despite the risks of Saddam having some weapons of mass destruction. So I think what you're going to see now is a shearing away of all the phony arguments. No more about, are inspectors disarming Iraq, but whether a containment package with beefed-up inspections, beefed-up planes, more U2s, giving Blix additional powers, is sufficient to protect the world, rather than a claim by France and Germany, which is no longer credible, that the inspectors are disarming Iraq.
I think they know that those intercepts are real, that Saddam is purposefully, willfully, deliberately concealing information and is now in material breach of that resolution. That was the smoking intercept Colin Powell played. I think there's no longer any question about that. The only question is so what do you do now? Do you immediately go to war? Do you have that debate about the use of force through the Security Council? Or do you accept the French and German view, which is some sort of containment? The president is not going to accept that, and I think what I heard today suggests that the second resolution is a little farther away than some people might have hoped yesterday and the day before.
ZAHN: Well, Jamie, let's talk about the potential timeframe here. February 14 is of course the date Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei have to come back and report to the U.N. You heard the urgency in Secretary of State Powell's speech earlier this morning when he says this isn't something we can waste time on. He said, "The nexus of poison and terror is new. The nexus of Iraq and terror is old."
Walk us through the timeframe here.
RUBIN: Well, exactly. I think what will happen now is that Hans Blix will go to Baghdad, and my guess, he'll get pretty much everything he wants from the Iraqis, in terms of strengthening the inspection regime. But he won't get what Secretary Powell proved the Iraqis are never going to provide, which is real cooperation, answering the questions, giving up these mobile labs, giving up the chemical shells, giving up the anthrax production, all of this material that's compelling beyond any reasonable doubt that they have, they're not going to give that up.
So February 14 comes, there's another meeting, and I think the U.S. puts one more level of pressure on the French, the Russians, and if they don't move at that point, and they don't see that time is running out, they consider using force without a second resolution.
What the French and the Russians will say at that meeting is, look, it's working, we've got new powers for Blix, the inspectors are stronger than they were two weeks ago, the inspections system is getting better, we're better able to contain Iraq, and that fundamental difference of view, between containment on the one hand and disarmament on the other, has not been resolved and can only be resolved by really the heads of state of government in the case of France changing their position, and in the case of Russia going along with what I think they see as inevitable.
ZAHN: What do you think the Iraqis in the end will be willing to do? I know Terence Taylor, a former U.N. weapons inspector, just told me that he believes they're holding in their pocket right now, the U-2 surveillance flights. He said they held those back before when he was an inspector and they finally allowed them to do those. What else are the Iraqis ready to give up?
RUBIN: I suspect they will provide the U-2 inspectors, the helicopter flights, the UNMOVIC, the inspectors have wanted. They'll also probably come up with procedures for interviewing scientists that UNMOVIC wants, probably things like that. They'll go very far. They might find a few more chemical warheads after doing their search through this commission that Secretary Powell and Hans Blix mentioned. So they might find a few more of those chemical warheads.
But what they won't do unless Saddam Hussein surprises us all, and capitulates to the extreme is show us the mobile laboratories that Secretary Powell provided, the imported equipment for ballistic missiles that Secretary Powell talked about, the biological weapons that exist and the decontamination vehicles that are obvious signatures of those weapons that Secretary Powell showed. If he does that, it will be the biggest surprise that's ever occurred in modern foreign affairs.
ZAHN: And, Jamie, if he doesn't do that, is there any way you see this playing out without war?
RUBIN: Well, you know, if you put that chance of Saddam completely capitulating at the less than 1 percent, the only other possibility is that having surrounded Iraq with forces, now probably in Turkey and Kuwait, having perhaps luckily getting another second resolution by diplomatic pressure, on the verge of an invasion or perhaps after the air war begins, it is conceivable, but again, just a couple of percentage points chance, that Saddam Hussein's military will realize that they're about to be destroyed and engage in some coup that allows him to escape or get sanctuary in another country. I wouldn't put that very high, either, maybe 3, 4, 5 percent.
So 95 percent, the United States appears determined to use force, and Saddam Hussein doesn't appear willing to cooperate in the way that resolution 1441 provided. Whether we'll have the resolution we want, whether we'll have France sitting this one out and making a real mockery of the United Nations Security Council system remains to be seen. But it looks pretty clear we're at 95 percent.
ZAHN: Jamie Rubin, joining us from London today, of course the assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration. Thanks so much. On the right-hand side of your screen you are seeing the Bulgarian foreign minister addressing the U.N. Next up is the Pakistani foreign minister.
And, Wolf, one of the more interesting things that Terry Taylor and I heard was the statement by Secretary of State Powell until the 1990s into the year 2001 that the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan, in his words, played the role of liaison to the Al Qaeda terrorist network, something that we're all going to be following up with in the days and weeks to come.
Let's go back, Wolf, now in Washington.
BLITZER: I suspect, Paula, we won't be hearing anything about that from the Pakistani foreign minister, Mr. Kasuri. We'll monitor what he has to say, one of the Islamic representatives of course on the U.N. Security Council.
Let's get some additional insight into the secretary of state's presentation. Joining me now is David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector himself, currently the president of the Institute for Science and International Security here in Washington.
David, thanks for joining us.
How compelling was the evidence that the secretary of state brought before the world?
DAVID ALBRIGHT, FMR. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: I think it was very important. It was a very coherent statement. I think we do have to scrutinize everything he said very carefully. Certainly, I know the nuclear areas better. And I think some of the things I heard in the nuclear areas would make me raise questions about whether they fully understand what's going on.
But that being said, I think they laid out -- or Secretary Powell laid out very convincingly that Iraq is hide things from the inspectors, and it doesn't look like Saddam ever intended to comply with the resolution.
BLITZER: Well, we saw in some of the pictures, and we'll put some of them up on the screen, for example, this munitions facility the secretary of state brought with him, they showed, according to his statement, where some of the prohibited weapons were, but then they disappeared, and they left. Is it your understanding, the U.S. presumably might know where they went, and if they do, why not just tell the inspectors so the inspectors might find the so-called smoking gun?
ALBRIGHT: Yes, I hope the U.S. Knows. It's often, once things move, it's hard to find those. It could be moving into caves or tunnels or whatever.
But certainly the U.S. would not want to reveal that information to anybody, because they would want it in the case of war. First things they're going to hit with bombs or by special forces would be where they think weapons of mass destruction are. And one of the problems all along has been you have to assume -- OK, sorry.
BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a minute, David. We're going to pick up this conversation, but let's listen in to what the Pakistani foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, is saying.
KHURSHID KASURI, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: ... Resolution 1441. Other states possessing such information should also share this fully with the council. The extensive and effective presentation made by Secretary Powell has provided the council considerable additional information.
It will add to the knowledge base of the council members and even more importantly to the effectiveness of UNMOVIC and IAEA in carrying out their mandate.
This information will enhance the ability of the inspectors to address areas of concerns and to pursue more specific lines of action in the inspection process.
We, therefore, believe that this is a significant step forward in responding to the challenge the council faces in securing the full implementation of its resolution regarding the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
We hope that these concerns by Secretary Powell -- we hope that these concerns raised by Secretary Powell will receive credible answers from Iraq in the inspections process.
The Security Council has already held detailed discussions on the reports of Dr. Blix and Dr. Baradei presented to the council on the 27th of January.
We agree with Dr. Blix that Security Council Resolutions 687, 1284 and 1441 impose a clear obligation on Iraq to declare its weapons of mass destruction and allow unhindered verification that these have been destroyed and eliminated.
Following the last briefing of the Security Council by Dr. Baradei and Dr. Blix, the head of UNMOVIC, the majority of the Security Council was of the view that full verification of the Iraqi declaration would require more active cooperation from Iraq.
We share this view. In this context Dr. Blix has asked the Iraqi government to take three steps in the context of his forthcoming visit to Baghdad.
One, allow free and unrestricted aerial surveillance, including unmanned -- and including manned and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles.
Two, agree to private interviews of Iraqi scientists without the presence of minders.
Three, adopt legislation prohibiting the acquisition and local production of weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq should more swiftly move toward meeting these requirements and respond to the specific concerns on substantive issues raised by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei.
Mr. President, Resolution 1441 envisages that the UNMOVIC and IAEA will submit reports to the council on Iraq's cooperation. The briefings by Dr. Blix and Dr. Baradei to the council on the 27th of January were not meant to be conclusive.
We believe that we should await their conclusions, positive or negative, under Resolution 1441. What the inspectors' report is to constitute, what the inspectors' report is to constitute is essential basis for a judgment which the Security Council is supposed to make regarding Iraqi compliance.
Mr. President, the international community is justified in seeking to bring about the earliest possible compliance by Iraq with the council's resolutions prescribing the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time, as the primary organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security the Security Council must bear in my mind other imperatives.
One, ameliorating the suffering and ensuring the welfare of the Iraqi people. They have suffered too long and too much. They should not suffer any more.
Two, preserving the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq. Any erosion of Iraq's integrity would have devastating effects for regional and global peace and stability.
Three, preserving the political and economic stability of the region, including through the resolution of other outstanding issues and conflicts in the area, including the dispute in South Asia over Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr. President, in a statement issues this morning in Islamabad, the prime minister of Pakistan, Mir Zafarullah Jamali, stated, and I quote, "The Muslim Uuma, from the shores of the Atlantic to the Pacific, is deeply worried that war may break out, and its implications not only for the people of Iraq but for the future stability and polity of the Islamic countries. At this time, the need for inter-civilizational harmony has never been greater."
The prime minister went on to say, "A heavy burden has been placed on the international community, particularly on the Security Council members and on Iraq to take timely, effective and adequate steps to surmount this challenge to peace and stability.
"To avert a disaster and tragedy for the Iraqi people, Pakistan calls upon President Saddam Hussein to do his utmost and to put the Iraqi people first. It is imperative that President Saddam weigh all options to save the people of Iraq from death and destruction on an unprecedented scale," unquote.
Mr. President, I would like to conclude by saying that at this critical moment Pakistan wishes to reaffirm its determination to act within and outside the council on the basis of the principles of the United Nations Charter.
One, the pacific resolution of disputes.
Two, full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Three, promotion and well-being of the people.
Four, the preservation of international peace and stability.
I thank you, Mr. President for the opportunity.
BLITZER: A strong statement from Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, a statement calling on Saddam Hussein to go ahead and comply with U.N. Security Council resolution 1441 and disarm, get rid of any potential capability of weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan, of course, one Islamic member of the U.N. Security Council.
We're going to continue to monitor what's unfolding right now. The foreign minister of Spain about to speak, beginning to speak right now.
Let's bring in our senior United Nations correspondent Richard Roth.
Richard, for our viewers who may just be tuning in right now, give us a brief summary of the very historic and dramatic developments that have unfolded over the past couple of hours.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Secretary of State Colin Powell, using satellite photos and radio intercepts and transcripts laid out a very strong case against Baghdad, charging Iraq with a systematic invasion of weapons inspections and hoarding, and moving and still possessing weapons of mass destruction.
Secretary Powell says, once again, what Iraq is doing is a major violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution unanimously passed last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: Today, Iraq still poses a threat, and Iraq still remains in material breach. Indeed, by its failure to seize on its one last opportunity to come clean and disarm, Iraq has put itself in deeper material breach and closer to the day when it will face serious consequences for its continued defiance of this council.
My colleagues, we have an obligation to our citizens, we have an obligation to this body to see that our resolutions are complied with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: At one point, Secretary Powell said enough is enough, and he implored his fellow Security Council foreign ministers, foreign secretaries and ambassadors to back up and put the teeth into that resolution passed unanimously by the council.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: We wrote 1441 not in order to go to war; we wrote 1441 to try to preserve the peace, we wrote 1441 to give Iraq one last chance -- Iraq is not so far taking that one last chance. We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibility to the citizens of the countries that are represented by this body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: Powell said the Security Council now risks placing itself in danger of irrelevance if it allows Iraq -- quote -- to "defy its will without responding immediately and effectively."
Iraq's ambassador, Mohammed Al Douri, still to come at the end of all the other Security Council speakers, Wolf.
He did say, when asked by a reporter on his way into the council, that he will present a message of peace -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Richard, walk us through what happened after ambassador Al Douri, the Iraqi representative at the U.N. speaks? What happens in the coming days? We know the two chief inspectors are heading back to Baghdad.
ROTH: The leading inspectors are in the security chamber listening to Powell, sort of explain how the U.S. believes the U.N. inspectors are being hoodwinked by Iraq. And tonight, Blix in Elbaradei leave in Europe, stop in London, talks with British Prime Minister Blair, and then they'll make their way to Cyprus and then on to Baghdad for two days of talks, that even Russia's foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, said this is a critical time, that there must be concrete results provided by Baghdad, because there are still a lot of questions, whether it's interviews private with Iraqi scientists, who Colin Powell said are being moved around to the avoid the scientists and under the threat of death, plus U2 reconnaissance flights that have been barred by Iraq and a lot of other issues -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Richard, the secretary of state all but said that UNMOVIC, the U.N. inspection team, has been penetrated by Iraqi intelligence. They seem to know precisely where the inspectors are going at any particular moment. That's obviously a source of considerable embarrassment, if true, to the inspectors.
ROTH: Yes, though they have slowly gotten up to speed there. Hans Blix has told reporters as recently as yesterday that he's heard reports of Iraqi maneuvers and shipments of weapons of mass destruction right before inspectors arrive on a scene, but was not willing to publicly confirm this. So far, no response of inspectors still in the chamber there. Many of the other speakers on the council are saying Powell has given the inspectors good information, and they should be allowed the proper time to follow through, which is not what Washington wants to hear.
ZAHN: Richard Roth, who will be standing by monitoring all of these developments for us in the course of today and the days to come. Richard, thanks very much.
Let's listen in now to the foreign minister of Spain, Ana Palacio. She's continuing to make her presentation, Spain being one of the European countries strongly supportive of the U.S.
ANA PALACIO, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): ... has become the most valuable instrument for the maintenance of peace and the key of our system of collective security.
Nonetheless, for 12 years now, we have been witnessing systematic noncompliance by Saddam Hussein's regime, with the resolutions of the Security Council. And Spain, therefore, reiterates that it is imperative to send to send to Saddam Hussein's regime an unequivocal message that noncompliance with the Security Council's resolutions and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of long range missiles are a threat to the peace and, consequently, the preservation of international peace and security means the immediate and complete disarmament of Iraq.
Spain continues to maintain, as a fundamental principal of its actions regarding the Iraqi situation, compliance with the resolutions of the Security Council, strict compliance. And we believe that in spite of continued noncompliance by Iraq, from which we see compellingly in the information provided us by Secretary of State Powell, there still is a chance for peace, if Iraq radically modifies its lack of compliance.
Saddam Hussein's regime must understand that it -- if it does not comply with its obligations, it must confront the grave consequences that are announced in Resolution 1441, but the full responsibility resides in him. And Saddam Hussein, thus far, has not shown the will to comply with the resolutions, and demands of the international community. The international community is offering him that last chance under Resolution 1441, and with the view to the peace of the world, we hope that Saddam Hussein's regime will not miss that opportunity.
Thank you, Mr. President.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished minister for foreign affairs of Spain for her statement, and I call now on the distinguished minister for foreign minister of Chile, her excellency...
BLITZER: As we listen to Joschka Fischer introduce the foreign minister of Joschka Fischer the German foreign minister, the acting president of the U.N. Security Council, let's bring in David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector.
You and I were talking about perhaps some the weaknesses in the secretary's presentation today. What specifically, one or two points, stood out in your mind?
ALBRIGHT: Well one, involving these aluminum tubes that have become infamous.
BLITZER: Aluminum tubes being used supposedly being used to develop a nuclear bomb.
ALBRIGHT: That's right. And the administration has made the case, particularly in the fall, that it was the only use for these tubes were for gas centrifuge. I think that's been challenged by many gas centrifuge experts.
And Secretary Powell mentioned this phenomena called anodizing the aluminum tubes, which is a way of preventing it from corroding. And Iraq had bought a couple of hundred thousand of these tubes in the 1980s for rockets, and it didn't anodize them, and they corroded away. And they said they bought new ones that were anodized to protect them.
Now, we did work with centrifuge experts who actually built aluminum centrifuge rotors in the '50s and '60s, and they've been consistent in telling us that you don't want to anodized tubes used in centrifuges. You have to remove the tubing and deal with it in some way. So I think it challenge the idea that the anodization proves.
BLITZER: Because as you know, even in the face of some of the questions raised by IAEA experts, International Atomic Energy Agency experts, the president of the United States repeated the assertion in the State of Union Address, and today the secretary of state insisted there was only one purpose for those aluminum tubes, namely, to try to build a nuclear bomb.
ALBRIGHT: And he mentioned that there's disagreement. I would say there's more disagreement than he's mentioning, particularly on the technical level.
Another case in point, he said these rockets would never be built based on what the U.S. has done. Well, in fact, Iraq reverse- engineered a European market fired from a helicopter that we think was designed to high tolerances. And so they may be mixing apples and oranges in their assessment about how good the aluminum tubes needed to be for the Iraqi rockets.
BLITZER: When the secretary suggested that UNMOVIC, the U.N. inspection team, had been penetrated by Iraqi intelligence, you were once an inspector, did you assume the Iraqis knew everything you were about to do, where you were going, all the conversations you were having?
ALBRIGHT: You always had to be conscious of that. But there was a secure room in Baghdad, for example, that I think was constructed by the United States, and we felt secure in, and felt we could have conversations that the Iraqis wouldn't hear. Other than that, you have to assume they know what you're doing.
But there's another point here. I mean, these results and information conveyed by Secretary Powell is wonderful ammunition to empower the inspectors to confront Iraq this weekend.
I mean, the inspectors shouldn't go to Baghdad and say, oh, we want U2 flights, we want to access to Iraqis without minders. They should make it clear that they -- that Iraq has not complied, the United States has presented compelling evidence of that, and give Iraq the final chance that either -- come clean in a big way, or else the -- the inspection process probably should end.
BLITZER: Because the secretary mentioned specific sites, plants, munitions dumps, all sorts of facilities, with the maps, detailing where they are. Why not have the U.N. inspectors simply go there with the Iraqis and say, look, this is what the secretary of state alleged, and yes, there is still some residual evidence...
ALBRIGHT: That's right.
BLITZER: ... that what he said is true.
ALBRIGHT: And I think one would hope Iraq have an epiphany and take the inspectors there. The site that was disguised, the chemical weapons storage site, may still have traces of chemical weapons if you dig into the ground.
But the bottom line has to be that Iraq has got to decide to comply. The inspectors should not be expected to do a poor job. I mean, inspections are important in many situations, and you don't want to erode the credibility of inspections in order to satisfy a political desire of some members of the Security Council.
BLITZER: David Albright, a former U.N. inspector, thanks for your expertise.
ALBRIGHT: Thank you.
BLITZER: Paula, back to you.
ZAHN: Thanks, Wolf.
While the bulk of Secretary of State Powell's speech had to do with disarmament, he certainly touched briefly on ties between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. He pointed out, from the 1990s to the year 2001 that the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan, in his words, played the role of Liaison to Al Qaeda. He also alleged in his speech a little bit earlier this morning that members of a group associated with Al Qaeda had been operating freely in Baghdad for some eight months.
Now Iraqi officials deny those allegations. He says those denials are simply not credible. Let's get a better perspective on this now from Sheila MacVicar, who join us from our London bureau.
Good afternoon, Sheila.
SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Paula.
The secretary of state made the turn to talking about terrorism by talking about the use that terrorists groups could put those illicit weapons, the chemical and biological weapons to. And as you said, he began to describe what he said was a sinister nexus between Baghdad and Al Qaeda. And that nexus, in the words of the secretary of state, focused around an individual who has become familiar to us over the course of the last number of months. His name is Abu Musab Zarqawi. He is a Jordanian-born Palestinian, an Al Qaeda operative who we heard some months ago from Bush administration officials had shown up in Baghdad, where he had had medical treatment beginning in the spring of the year 2002, after having fled Afghanistan.
Now, where the secretary of state went further today, on the question of Abu Musab Zarqawi and his connections to Iraq, is that he had alleged he cannot operate in Iraq without the knowledge, and indeed, the acquiescence of the Iraqi officials and the Iraqi regime. He said he was involved in not just going to a camp in northeastern Iraq and territory, which is in fact not controlled by Saddam Hussein's government, but that he was involved in setting this camp up, a camp which the secretary of state said was engaged in the production of and in training people to make poisons like the toxin ricin.
Now, Abu Musab Zarqawi is someone who is also known to have spent time in other parts of the Middle East. And in fact, other coalition intelligence agencies do not share the same view as the American intelligence establishment about the role played by Abu Musab Zarqawi, or indeed the relationship between Baghdad and Al Qaeda.
As a matter of fact, there was a British military document leaked this morning to the BBC, a top secret, classified document, which was written apparently by British defense intelligence staff, within the last three weeks, which said -- quote -- "his" -- meaning bin Laden's aims -- "are an ideological conflict with present-day Iraq." Although the secretary of state sought to lay out a series of relationships and intelligence contacts, some of them intelligence contacts, some of these the relationships this man, Abu Musab Zarqawi, who, the secretary of state said, Iraq was harboring along with his deadly network in Iraq. There were other people who simply believe that those -- that that is going too far, and that they have seen no evidence to suggest those kinds of links between Al Qaeda and Baghdad -- Paula.
BLITZER: Let me ask you this, we know that the administration was widely debating just how much of this information to put into the speech because of so many of the questions you raise here. Ultimately, do you have any way of gauging how much of this will really, truly, be accepted?
MACVICAR: I think a large measure. There is a tremendous amount of detail here. As I said, some of it we've already known. Some of it we've been reporting on for months.
The question is, in large measure, one of interpretation. The secretary of state's interpretation is, as he put forward today, is that there can be no way that Abu Musab Zarqawi and what are described as his operatives can be in Baghdad or be in Iraq, doing the things that the secretary of state says that they are doing, moving people, money, supplies, back and forth, without the knowledge and acquiescence of the Iraqi regime.
Other coalition intelligence partners tell us they do not have that information, and that what information they do have does not lead them to believe that he is necessarily working with the acquiescence of the Iraqi regime.
As a matter of fact, the kinds of trips that we know Abu Musab Zarqawi has made over the last couple of months, we know he was most recently spotted in Iran, where Al Qaeda is known to be operating a training camp in northern Iran, on the shares of Caspian Sea. That's with the knowledge of the Irani regime. He has been known to be in Syria, to have been in Lebanon, and we also know he's been in the lawless area of the Kampesi Gorge in Georgia, near Chechnya, where it is believed he is working with people later sent to Europe to try to carry out poison or chemical plots in Europe.
So the notion that he is tied now to Iraq is one that I think a number of people will dispute. Again, we're dealing with intelligence information. Intelligence information can have very many interpretations. And it seems until we have more information, it will be open to interpretation.
ZAHN: Sheila MacVicar, reporting from London, thank you.
As I send it back to Wolf, I guess, Wolf, we haven't had a chance to talk about this today being but our latest Gallup/CNN/"Usa Today" poll suggested that nine out of 10 Americans will make up their mind whether an attack on Iraq is, in fact, a necessary thing, based on what they heard from the secretary of state today. So that was a very high bar indeed for the secretary of state to meet.
BLITZER: Paula, I think, as you know, I think all the major television networks broadcast, and cable of course, carried the secretary's remark live, so a pretty dramatic development, very historic day unfolding.
Amid all this, we're now getting important some breaking news from our Justice correspondent Kelli Arena. Very significant development, at least potentially. U.S. counterterrorism officials telling Kelli Arena they now believe there is a heightened threat of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, partly due to concern persons may use a potential conflict with Iraq as a pretext.
Let me quote, according to Kelli Arena, one senior counterterrorism official saying this -- and I'll quote specifically -- "The threat level is definitely up. Our guys have been told to act as if we have already bombed Iraq." That from a senior U.S. counterterrorism official. Government officials also tell Kelli they are concerned about an attack being carried out, either by Al Qaeda, to coincide with official -- with a potential war with Iraq, or by others sympathetic to the Iraqi government.
Sources say a handful of persons are already -- believed to be Iraqi intelligence officers in the United States are being closely watched by the FBI, as part of the bureau's efforts to question as many of the tens of thousands of Iraqi nationals living in the United States. There is already surveillance, we're told, of up to 1,000 Iraqi nationals who live in the United States and are thought to be supporters of Saddam Hussein's regime, although that number is said to fluctuate constantly.
Some historic perspective: Since the September 11th attack, the U.S. has received constant intelligence about another potential, major attack by Al Qaeda, including some continued fear of Al Qaeda obtaining weapons of mass destruction. Officials insist, though, there's no proof that they have this kind of information -- no proof that Al Qaeda has obtained such weapons yet.
One senior official adding -- quote -- "If they get their hand on them, no doubt they will use them." Senior counterterrorism official also telling our Kelli Arena he's as concerned as he has been since the September 11th attacks about another attack in the United States. Quote -- let me be specific -- "We're holding our breath, this official says, when it comes to Iraq." And because of all this heightened concern, FBI agents have now been told to be ready with three days of clothes and personal items and to pack a bag for at least a one-month deployment.
Government officials have debated whether to put an alert warning about an increased chance of an attack -- whether to raise the national threat level that is right now, the threat level remains at yellow, or an elevated status.
Apparently, there's a debate going on whether to increase that threat level, now, as the U.S. potentially gets closer to a war with Iraq.
So significant developments right now. Let me bring in our national security correspondent, David Ensor, who is here with me in Washington, and you hear what Kelli is reporting. It does sound pretty significant.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it could be, although U.S. intelligence officials say that basically since 9/11, they've been concerned about a possible attack by al Qaeda. They believe that some of the arrests have disrupted those attempts. They expect an attempt to be carried off -- they do believe that Iraq could be used, if there's a war with Iraq, it could be used as a pretext for an attack. But at the same time, basically, they think this group is trying to attack the United States with or without a war with Iraq. So a heightened level of concern. And yes, the threat level is definitely up, officials say.
BLITZER: But they still have it at yellow. It's still not been moved up to orange, certainly not red, the highest states of alert. Presumably if that threat -- if there's a better intelligence from whatever source is out there, they're going to increase that threat level. You can see it is at elevated, or yellow, not yet at high, which is orange, not yet at severe, which, of course, is red.
ENSOR: Right. Well, this -- the decision of where to put that is a decision made, basically, by Tom Ridge's people and the White House, and it's to send a message to the American people. What I can tell you is that the amount of intelligence that the U.S. is gathering about people trying to plot attacks against the United States is up right now. It fluctuates. It goes up and down every month. Right now, it's at a high level.
BLITZER: But right now, I just want to reiterate to our viewers out there, the U.S. is still at yellow, that elevated threat level.
ENSOR: Right. That is right.
BLITZER: That midrange level that you see in the middle of your screen right now. We're going to continue to monitor Kelli Arena's information, very important information. Officials believe the threat of a terror attack has increased, presumably as a result of the U.S. getting closer to war with Iraq.
But David, while I have you, let's talk about the secretary of state's presentation. You've been carefully assessing what exactly he said -- how much classified information, in effect, he voluntarily compromised. What's the bottom line?
ENSOR: Well, it was a very dramatic presentation, I think most would agree. One senior intelligence official said it was the broadest and deepest exposure in public of -- for example, interception, signals intelligence, that has ever been made by the United States.
The last example anyone can remember was, of course, the intercept of Russian pilots who fired on that Korean airliner. This time, they were putting out multiple intercepts. The actual language of Iraqi officers talking to each other, and officials tell me they understand this may close off some intelligence that they may wish to gather in the future. But they think it's worth it to show the world that this pattern of deception is going on.
Again, perhaps the most dramatic testimony, though, from Secretary Powell, concerned Abu Musab Zarqawi, who my colleague Sheila MacVicar was talking about. And she was saying that there will be skepticism in some quarters about how much of a tie there is between al Qaeda and Iraq. I've just been talking to intelligence officials, and many of them who I've spoken to in the past have expressed skepticism, too.
Now they are saying, with the amount of effort that's been put in to try to collect intelligence on this, they really do feel that there is a lot more evidence that this Zarqawi group, and Zarqawi is associated with al Qaeda by multiple pieces of evidence, that this Zarqawi group is tied to Iraq, that it's operating, in fact, out of Baghdad.
Here's how the secretary put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: During the stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network. And they've now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months. Iraqi officials deny accusations of ties with al Qaeda. These denials are simply not credible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENSOR: So there you have it, and you saw George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence, sitting behind Colin Powell as he made those statements. In the past, intelligence officers in the U.S. have expressed some skepticism about the ties. I am now talking to them. They're saying the evidence is stronger and stronger, and you see this group, they say, still operating in Baghdad, still moving money, supplies, and personnel in and out of Iraq that is loyal to Zarqawi and al Qaeda.
BLITZER: And those kinds of things don't happen in Baghdad accidentally or coincidentally. There has obviously got to have the highest authority -- permission from the highest authorities for someone like Zarqawi to be moving around Baghdad.
ENSOR: That's right. Now -- there wasn't any -- there weren't any tapes or pictures presented to back up this tie with terrorism. There was some pretty dramatic stuff on the weapons of mass destruction, nothing on this. But these assertions go further than the U.S. has ever gone before, and they will build a case, no question.
BLITZER: We've heard before about bin Laden meeting with Iraqi officials. The secretary today specifically said 1996, Osama bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi operative in Khartoum, and met with the director of Iraqi intelligence as well. He said that Saddam Hussein -- that detainees, al Qaeda detainees, said Saddam Hussein began to appreciate al Qaeda much more after the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
So it looks like, even though al Qaeda was a very fundamentalist, Islamic organization, the Baath regime in Baghdad very secular, the enemy of my enemy is my friend -- that old notion could have brought al Qaeda and Iraq together. At least that's the thrust of what the secretary of state is alleging.
ENSOR: That's right. And I should stress U.S. intelligence officials have been highly skeptical, for the reason you just mentioned. Skeptical about this idea of ties. They are becoming distinctly less skeptical as they accumulate more evidence. They're now asserting that this group loyal to Zarqawi is operating out of Iraq.
BLITZER: But I think we should also point out one ominous thing, one thunderous notion that had earlier been reported was missing from the secretary of state's presentation. There was no suggestion -- at least I didn't hear it -- that any Iraqi intelligence official had met with Mohammad Atta, the ringleader of 9/11, in Prague in the Czech Republic in the months before the 9/11 attacks, which of course had been widely reported as effectively the smoking gun linking al Qaeda and Iraq.
ENSOR: That's right. There's no assertion of ties between Iraq and 9/11 itself, and that suggestion that there might have been a meeting in Prague, U.S. officials now say they just -- they don't think the evidence is there. They don't, in fact, believe such a meeting occurred.
BLITZER: They're not necessarily ruling it out, but they're not convinced that it happened.
ENSOR: They don't think it happened.
BLITZER: Well, at least some of the officials -- they say, show me the evidence. It's possible, but they're not yet convinced, at least some senior U.S. officials. Obviously still a debate going on in the U.S. government, but it wasn't included in the secretary of state's presentation today.
ENSOR: Well, that is right, and I think what officials felt -- the ones I've been talking to who worked on the presentation, was that they should leave out things that might be questioned by some. They should put their strongest evidence forward. And there are -- I am told there are many other intercepts, for example, that illustrate the points that were made, but these were the ones they felt would make the case best briefly.
BLITZER: David, the Syrian ambassador Mikhail Wehbe is speaking over at the Security Council. Syria an important Arab country and neighbor of Iraq. Let's listen in.
MIKHAIL WEHBE, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): ... because it was impossible for him to participate in person in our important deliberations," I quote (ph).
It gives me pleasure to congratulate you on your country's presiding over the Security Council during the month of February.
I would like to express my confidence that leading our deliberations would probably lead us to arrive at a just settlement to the questions on our agenda, particularly arriving at a peaceful settlement of the Iraqi question on the basis of implementing Security Council Resolution 1441, which is our common objective.
It also gives me pleasure to thank France, a friend of Syria, for successfully leading the deliberations of the Security Council during last month. We'd like to thank France for the efforts they made to give precedence to the option of peace, not that of war.
We listened attentively, sir, to the information and opinions presented by Mr. Colin Powell, the secretary of state of the United States of America. And since the time would not allow me to discuss the contents of his statement, we believe that the way to ascertain the facts and arrive at a conclusion with regards to the irrefutable (sic) evidence would be to refer such facts to UNMOVIC and to IAEA.
We urge all member states that have accurate information on Iraq's WMD to submit such information to the inspectors so that they can assess the information, its accuracy and inform our council accordingly, hoping that we will not inundate them with information or opinions that do not stand up to the facts, so that we will not confuse them and cause a derailment from the tasks entrusted to them by the Security Council.
Our council adopted unanimously Resolution 1441. It is no secret for us to say that Syria joined the consensus on the draft resolution after receiving guarantees and clarifications from permanent members in the council that voting in favor of the resolution will mean seriously proceeding toward a peaceful settlement of Iraq's disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction and not using this resolution as a pretext to wage war against Iraq.
The fact that some of the members of the council are talking about the need to adopt a second resolution is, in our view, yet a second confirmation of such explanations and guarantees. Nevertheless, and two months after the adoption of this resolution and after the resumption of the inspections and the fact that it has realized some reasonable progress that has not yet been met with any insurmountable obstacles.
Our region is at a grave crossroads teetering between peace and war. Thinking that war could be one of the options before the Security Council is, by itself, a proof of our collective failure to implement peacefully Resolution 1441 while our council, we believe, can still make a lot of effort to arrive at a peaceful solution to the Iraq question compatible with the authority and a mandate of the Security Council in preserving international peace and security.
Syria also believes that the option of war is not only a proof of the failure by the council to undertake its duties, but it is also a proof of the failure of the international system that should, in this stage, depend. more than in any other time before. on the charter of the United Nations as a reference to bring peace to prevail all over the world.
Syria, sir, still believes in the possibility of arriving at a peaceful settlement that spares Iraq war and spares the region the dangerous repercussions of such war, a solution that will guarantee the implementation of 1441 and probably save the lives of thousands of the potential innocent victims in Iraq, as well as the lives of those who have crossed the continents and would probably bring those soldiers back safely to their families.
Our peaceful conviction is compatible with the approach of the Security Council that adopted a couple of days ago a presidential statement on protecting civilians in armed conflicts and a resolution on the protection of children in armed conflicts, as well.
And at a time when our council adopts one statement after the other to save innocents in many parts of the world, it is truly questionable how can we talk about going to war against Iraq which no longer occupies the territories of others, not alone threatens its neighbors, at a time when Israel still occupies Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian territories in violation of the United Nations Charter and its resolutions and it threatens its neighbors every now and then?
Syria was kept abreast of the efforts made by the inspectors and also of the Iraqi cooperation with these inspectors. Those who believe that the inspections in any part of the world can be free from a problem here or an obstacle there are totally wrong.
Nevertheless, and after listening to the reports of Messrs. Blix and ElBaradei, we ask are the obstacles to which we are referred unsurmountable and do they truly deserve that a destruction war against Iraq be waged for their sake?
This is an important question.
Iraq expressed, through statements by senior officials, its readiness to continue to cooperate, to enhance the cooperation and to make the extra efforts to arrive at a solution that is acceptable for the problems in a way that will guarantee that the inspectors would undertake their tasks as defined by the Security Council.
This requires that both parties, Iraq and the inspectors, should build a common denominator of trust on the basis of the cooperation by Iraq with the inspectors so that they can undertake their tasks as soon as possible, and understand that this will contribute to the interests of all parties concerned.
In return, the continuation by the inspectors to undertake their work objectively and in a way that will respect the sensitivities of the Iraqi people would definitely lead to building confidence, which is a desired goal between the two parties.
Therefore Syria is calling on the Security Council to continue to support the work of the inspectors and to give them sufficient time to undertake their tasks. Syria points to the Iraqi commitment to continue to cooperate actively with the inspectors and to present all that is required under 1441.
In parallel, the Security Council must undertake the measures necessary to lift the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people, under 22 of 687 as well as activate Article 14 of the resolution, which is calling for the declaration of the Middle East region as a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, bacteriological and chemical, with no exception of any state, including Israel, which solely acquires all of these lethal weapons.
Mr. President, Syria made strenuous efforts and it went ahead and held contacts on the regional and the international level and at the highest echelons so that we can arrive at a peaceful solution to the Iraqi question on the basis of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1441. Syria also worked with Iraq's neighboring countries that expressed readiness to cooperate with the Security Council in the efforts to arrive at a peaceful settlement of the Iraqi question.
The deliberations that were held in Istanbul proved that Iraq does not constitute a threat to its neighbors. The message of the neighbors of Iraq to the world is, "No to war; yes to peaceful solutions based on the implementation of Security Council resolutions."
This message is extremely significant, because it comes from a region that has suffered from the scourge of many wars. And it is still suffering from the continued policy of occupation and destruction against the defenseless Palestinian people and against its property and the different rites (ph).
The people of the world look forward to our deliberations, hoping that a peaceful settlement to the Iraqi question will be reached, a settlement that would save the lives of thousands of the Iraqis and other people, should the military option, outside the framework of international diligence (ph), be exercised.
Let us all work for peace, because we are capable of realizing peace if we have the good faith, the determination and the political will. And such are available among most of the members of this council, which was entrusted by the charter to preserve the world peace and security.
This is what Syria and the Arab countries are trying to achieve. And this is what we hope the Security Council and the international community would be working toward also.
FISCHER: ... permanent representative of the Syrian Arab Republic for his statement, and call now on the distinguished permanent representative of Guinea, his excellency...
ZAHN: We have finished listening to the Syrian ambassador to the U.N., basically implore any country that had any information at all that would be helpful to the inspection teams to turn it over to the U.N., he said at a time when the world is teetering between peace and war. He also spent a fair amount of time attacking Israel for some of its policies.
Before we take a quick break here, I just wanted to quickly bring you up to date on what some of the Iraqis are saying so far. A senior Iraqi member of parliament reacting to Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech, dismissing it as lies. His quote to Reuters is, "These are lies and fabrications which have no material proof. They are aimed at creating a pretext for military aggression against Iraq."
Right after this short break, we're going to catch up with Nic Robertson, on duty in Baghdad, to hear more of the official Iraqi reaction to the very important speech that we heard just about an hour and a half ago at the U.N.
We'll be right back.
ZAHN: You're looking at a live picture of U.N. headquarters now. It's been a little over an hour and a half that Secretary of State Powell wrapped up his very important speech. It is widely believed by many that his appearance before the U.N. is probably the most important appearance of a U.N. official since Adlai Stevenson back in 1961 when he tried to convince everybody the Russians had missiles in Cuba. It didn't take long for the Iraqis to react to Secretary of State Powell's speech. Let's check in with Nic Robertson, who joins us from Baghdad right now with what he can tell us so far.
Good afternoon, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Paula. An Iraqi analyst here telling us he thinks this type of information can be easily fabricated. He said, where is the evidence? Now, that's something we've heard in the past from Iraqi officials, prior to the secretary of state's announcements.
One of the points, very interesting, perhaps from an Iraqi perspective that Colin Powell laid out at the very beginning, was not only was he going to give this information to the U.N. Security Council, but that he would pass the information to the U.N. weapons inspectors. That was something Iraqi officials had been calling for here, that the information he had should have gone to the weapons inspectors and not to the Security Council.
Now, Iraqi officials have been saying for last week that everything they would hear is lies. We're waiting for them to hold a news conference here shortly. Some the sites that Colin Powell addressed there with satellite images, very interesting. He talked about Al Taji (ph). This was a satellite photograph he used to show how there were chemical contamination vehicles outside some of the bunker of that ammunition storage facility. He said that that showed that there were chemical munitions stored there.
Now very interestingly, just yesterday U.N. weapons inspectors here discovered another chemical warhead at that facility, the same type of warhead they discovered about three weeks ago in a storage facility south of Baghdad.
Ibn Al Haytham (ph) was another facility Powell used a picture of. This was a facility associates with the weapons inspectors here, with missiles, storage and production. This is a site that Colin Powell said just before inspectors had visited, Iraqis had moved by trucks many of the items stored at that facility.
From what we've seen here on the ground over the past couple of months, the inspectors have made multiple return visits to the Ibn Al Haytham site. They haven't pointed us in the direction that they've been duped, if you will, or led along.
Also, very interestingly, Colin Powell laying out information there is a high-level commission here led by the Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan, that its sole aim is to frustrate the work of the inspectors, to penetrate theirs communications, and he said somebody on the committee, one of the top members, was a gentleman called Al- Saadi, President Hussein's top scientific adviser. General Amer Al- Saadi is often briefing journalists here, and has told us on many occasions he and all his colleagues had been giving weapons inspectors here full cooperation. So the reaction here in advance of this has been lies. The reaction from analysts now, is where is the evidence? All this is a fabrication -- Paula.
ZAHN: Nic Robertson, I know we have to let you go, because you'll be covering that joint news conference of General Amer Al- Saadi, who is the scientific adviser to Saddam Hussein, as well as Hossam Amin, who is the head of the Iraqi Directorate. Thanks for that live report. We all talked about the very high stakes of this speech today by Secretary of State Powell. And according to a Gallup poll just out, nine out of 10 Americans say that Powell's briefing will be very important in their deciding their views on potentially attacking Iraq.
Now here's another statistic that's very interesting to look at. They went on to say -- or 63 percent of them, that they trust Colin Powell to make Iraq policy to the 24 percent who said they trust the president.
Nevertheless, as we've just said, the stakes were very high. Let's check with John King, who joins us from the White House Lawn, to talk about some of the risks of the speech the White House was concerned about.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Let me start by saying the White House is quite satisfied with the presentation that Secretary Powell made. We are told that President Bush watched the last 45 minutes of it in his private dining room here at the White House, along with Rice, his national security adviser, Steve Hadley, her deputy, Ari Fleischer. The White House press secretary said he went and watched for a bit with the president and his two top national security aides. The president didn't say much. The president knew the entire details in advance. He said the president didn't say all that much, but that the president believes -- quote -- "The facts are powerful." And the administration laying out what the White House says is a strong case Iraq is, on a daily basis, defying the will and resolution of the U.N.
As for the risks, what the White House officials say is they're not so interested in what we're hearing now, the prepared statements being given by other governments, after Secretary Powell's speech. They say they are much more interested in what those foreign ministers say later today when they meet privately with Secretary Powell, and what they say 24 and 48 hour from now, after they have a chance to check back with their various heads of states.
White House officials say no timetable on action here, but by the time Dr. Blix briefs the Security Council on February 14, the White House believes it will have a good sense as to whether there is support for a strong resolution, a second resolution in the Security Council, or whether the president will have to operate outside the United Nations.
ZAHN: John, I'd love to have you stand by. You just mentioned some of the foreign ministers and what they might say behind closed doors later on today with Colin Powell.
Let's listen to what the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, has to say, who is the acting president of the Security Council.
FISCHER: ... the unresolved questions quickly and fully. And Iraq has to answer the elements which were provided today by our colleague, Colin Powell, to the Security Council. The more expert information the inspection teams have at their disposal the more targeted their work can be. Thus, from the outset Germany, too, passed on the information it had to Hans Blix, Mohammed ElBaradei and their teams.
The Security Council has been dealing with Iraq for 12 years. As a matter of principle, the unity of the council is of central importance in this context.
Baghdad has time and again violated the obligations laid down in the relevant council resolutions.
Nor do we hold any illusions on the inhumane and brutal nature of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. Under his rule Iraq has attacked its neighbors, Kuwait and Iran, fired missiles at Israel and deployed poison gas against Iran and its own Kurdish population.
The regime is terrible for the Iraqi people. This is why a policy of containment, sanctions and effective military control of the no-fly zones have been implemented since the Gulf War.
Iraq must comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions in their entirety, and completely disarm its weapons of mass destruction potential.
The presence of the inspectors in Iraq has already effectively reduced the danger of this potential. Nevertheless, the aim of Resolution 1441 is the full and lasting disarmament of Iraq.
In his last report, Hans Blix listed many open questions. The regime in Baghdad must give clear answers to all these concrete questions without delay.
In spite all the difficulties, U.N. efforts to disarm Iraq in the past were not without success. In the 1990s the inspectors were able to destroy more WMD capacities than the Gulf War. The threat potential of Iraq for the region was thus clearly reduced.
The current basis for the inspection is laid down in Resolution 1284 and 1441. The weapons inspectors from UNMOVIC and IAEA have further-reaching powers than ever before. They have to be given a real chance and the time they need to fully exhaust their possibilities.
Chief Inspector Blix and IAEA head ElBaradei will travel to Iraq again next weekend, and thereafter update us. The success of this trip will be of paramount importance. It depends crucially on the full cooperation of Baghdad.
Quite a few states suspect that Saddam Hussein's regime is withholding relevant information and concealing military capabilities. This strong suspicion had to be dispelled beyond any doubt. This is exactly why Resolution 1441 provides for the instrument of inspections in Iraq by UNMOVIC and the IAEA.
The dangers of a military action and its consequences are plain to see. Precisely because of the effectiveness of the work of the inspectors we must continue to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Dear colleagues, in the world of the 21st century the U.N. is key to conflict prevention, crisis management and peace-building. On the basis of Resolution 1441 and in the light of practical experience, we need to enhance the instruments of inspection and control.
We need a tough regime of intensive inspections that can guarantee the full and lasting disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. By tightening inspections we are creating an opportunity for a peaceful solution.
Such a tough system of inspections could also be effectively applied by the Security Council in other cases. Our French colleague made some very interesting proposals on this matter which deserve our further consideration.
Moreover, we ought to support all endeavors of states in the region that are currently engaging in considerable diplomatic efforts to bring the Iraqi government to fully implement the resolutions.
Iraq must disarm, openly, peacefully and in full cooperation with the inspectors without any delay. I thank you.
I resume now my function as president of the Security Council. I call on the distinguished permanent representative of Iraq, his excellency Mr. Mohammed Aldouri.
MOHAMMED ALDOURI, IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, thank you, Mr. President.
My delegation should like to extend its congratulations to you on your assumption of the presidency of the council for this month, and we wish you success in your work amid these very difficult international circumstances.
We had wished we were granted sufficient time commensurate with the gravity of the statements made by the U.S. secretary of state in his presentation and not just a few minutes to rebut a statement that lasted over an hour.
Nevertheless, Iraq will provide detailed and technical responses to the allegations made in that statement.
Mr. President, I shall be polite and brief.
The pronouncements in Mr. Powell's statement on weapons of mass destruction are utterly unrelated to the truth. No new information was provided, mere sound recordings that cannot be ascertained as genuine. Perhaps you saw me smile when I heard some of these recordings. They contain some words that I will not attempt to translate here. However, there are incorrect allegations, unnamed sources, unknown sources. There are assumptions and presumptions which all fall in line with the American policy toward one known objective. His excellency, President Saddam Hussein, reiterated in his interview granted yesterday to former British minister Tony Benn that Iraq is totally free of weapons of mass destruction, a statement written by numerous Iraqi officials for over a decade.
Mr. Powell could have spared himself, his team and the Security Council the effort by presenting these allegations directly to UNMOVIC and the IAEA, in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 10 of Security Council resolution 1441. He could've left the inspectors to work in peace and quiet to ascertain without media pressure.
At any rate, the forthcoming visit of Messrs. Blix and ElBaradei on the 8th and 9th of this month will be a further opportunity to verify and ascertain the validity of these allegations. Ongoing inspections have showed that previous allegations and reports from the United States and Britain were false.
Mr. President, Iraq submitted an accurate, comprehensive and updated declaration of 12,000 pages, including detailed information on previous Iraq programs, as well as updated information on Iraqi industries in various fields. The inspectors began their activities intensively in Iraq on November 27 of 2002, with more than 250 of UNMOVIC and IAEA staff, including more than 100 inspectors.
As of February 4 of this year, the inspection teams had conducted 575 inspections all over Iraq, covering 321 sites. The sites indicted (ph) by President Bush in his report of September 12th, 2002, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his report of September 2002, and the U.S. CIA report of October 2002, topped the list of sites inspected by the inspection teams. Inspectors ascertained that all the allegations made in those reports were not true. This confirms Iraq's declaration that it is free from weapons of mass destruction and that its declaration is truthful and accurate, as documented by the two technical agencies entrusted by the council to undertake that task.
Mr. President, it is well known that inspection teams took samples of water, soil, plants, air, factory remnants, as well as production remnants from vast areas in cities, villages, on highways, farms, factories and universities throughout Iraq, north, south, east and west. Analyses conducted by UNMOVIC and IAEA of these samples concluded the absence of any indication of proscribed chemical, biological or radiological agent, or indeed of any other proscribed activities in any part of Iraq.
Mr. Blix confirmed in his statement to the New York Times on January 30 of this year that the inspectors did not ascertain any of the scenarios alleged by Mr. Colin Powell, that Iraqi officials were moving proscribed material inside or outside Iraq aiming at concealment. He confirmed that he did not find enough reasons to believe that Iraq was sending its scientists outside Iraq to prevent them from being interviewed and that he had no reason to believe that President Bush was correct in his State of the Union address in saying that Iraqi intelligence agents were posing as scientists for the interviews.
We would like to reiterate that Iraq encourages its scientists to submit to interviews requested by UNMOVIC and IAEA.
As for the mobile laboratories alleged by Secretary Powell this morning, Dr. Blix just yesterday stated that UNMOVIC to date had found no proof of the presence of such mobile units.
As regards the U-2 overflights and the controversy that has been raised around them, Iraq does not object to these overflight to conduct inspection activities. Rather, the obstruction is that U.S. and British warplanes impose illegal no-fly zones contrary to Security Council resolutions. It is enough for these warplanes to suspend their flights during U-2 overflights to overcome this obstacle, and Iraq cannot be responsible for these warplanes.
The allegations that trucks leave sites prior to the arrival of inspection teams is a false accusation. Inspections occur suddenly and instantaneously, without prior notification to the Iraqi side. Furthermore, UNMOVIC and IAEA have their own sources for satellite imagery, and they use helicopters as well for surveillance and inspection activities. Therefore, we believe those two agencies are very well informed of what takes place on the ground in Iraq.
It is important for me to remind that programs for weapons of mass destructions are not like an aspirin pill, easily hidden. They require huge production facilities, starting from research and development facilities, to factories, to weaponization, then deployment. Such things cannot be concealed. Inspectors have crisscrossed all of Iraq and have found none of that.
As regards sound recordings, suffice it to say that scientific and technical progress has reached such a level that would allow the fabrication of such allegations and would allow for them to be offered in the way Mr. Powell has presented. It would allow any person, at any time and anywhere, to be recorded.
As for the supposed relationship between Iraq and the al Qaeda organization, I would note what his excellency, President Saddam Hussein, said. I quote: "If we had a relationship with al Qaeda and we believe in that relationship, we would not be ashamed to admit it. We have no relationship with al Qaeda," end of quote.
Mr. President, I would like to refer to a statement by a U.S. official in the New York Times lately, three days ago specifically, and I quote: "Analysts at the CIA have complained that administration officials have exaggerated reports on WMD in Iraq and particularly its presumed relation with al Qaeda in order to bolster their case for war."
I would add that Mr. Jack Straw has set aside intelligence report from his own government asserting that there is no relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.
Mr. Powell's assertion that Iraq used chemical weapons against its own people in particular surprised me. When a CIA official unmasked the truth on the 31st of last month, just a few days ago, in the New York Times, stating that the U.S. administration has known since 1988 that Iraq did not use chemical weapons against its own people, for a simple reason: it does not have the very (UNINTELLIGIBLE) weapon used in the Halabja incident.
Mr. President, in conclusion, I should like to say that the clear goal behind holding this meeting, behind the presentation of the secretary of state of the United States of false allegations before this council today, is to sell the idea of war and aggression against my country, Iraq, without any legal, moral or political justification. It is an attempt to convince American public opinion first and world public opinion in general to launch a hostile war against Iraq.
In return, Iraq offers security and peace and reiterates on this occasion, before the members of the Security Council, its commitment to continue proactive cooperation with the inspector teams so as to allow them to finish their tasks as soon as possible and verify that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction in order to lift the unjust sanctions imposed upon it and ensure respect of its national security and ensure regional security by disarming weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, including the huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in Israel, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 14 of Security Council resolution 687 of 1991.
Thank you, Mr. President.
FISCHER: I thank the distinguished permanent representative of Iraq for his statement. There are no further speakers inscribed on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.
For adjourning, may I remind council members of the lunch, which my delegation has the pleasure of hosting, at the delegates dining room. The meeting is adjourned.
ZAHN: And there you have it, almost, I guess, is it 3 1/2 hours -- actually 4 hours since our special coverage began, about 3 1/2 since Colin Powell made his address to the U.N. I guess Colin Powell shouldn't have been too surprised by what he just heard from the Iraqi ambassador to the U.N., Mohammed Aldouri, basically refuting every part of his speech point by point, saying it was utterly unrelated to the truth. He actually went on to say, you make me smile when I heard some of your references to the recordings. He accused him of having unnamed sources, unknown sources, making assumptions and presumptions.
He denied that Iraq is using cargo trucks in carting off weapons of mass destruction before inspectors arrive. He denies that there is any Al Qaeda link to Saddam Hussein. He actually quoted Saddam Hussein and says, "If we have a relationship and believed in it, we would not be ashamed to admit it." And he also denied using chemical -- Iraq denied using chemical weapons on its own people.
Let's quickly go to John King, who's standing by on the White House lawn.
John, I expect the administration did expect to hear this kind of tirade from the Iraqi ambassador to the U.N. Any reaction so far?
KING: Well, Paula, what the white house says is, yes, just as you said, that this is completely expected, and the White House also believes that over time, this could help the administration make its case at the United Nations. Even as you have heard, the governments of Russia, France and Germany after Secretary Powell's presentation say they think the inspectors deserve more time, but they do not think it is a time to go to war. Those governments are on the record saying they do believe Saddam Hussein does have significant stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. So when you hear Iraq's ambassador say they have no weapons of mass destruction, the White House thinks, in time, that helps it make its case, that essentially in the end the administration will pose this choice to the Security Council, side with the United States or side with Saddam Hussein. That will be one of the debates in the days ahead.
And now, as you watch the delegates head off to that private lunch, white house officials also say that the key debate now is what secretary Powell hears in private from the other foreign ministers. You heard the president of the security council, the German foreign minister saying he believed the inspectors needed more time. The White House uses that as a key debate between now and the time they come back on the 14th. You have governments like France, Russia and Germany saying, let the inspectors have more time, even if you believe the evidence that Saddam Hussein is interfering with them, let them have more time to do their work.
The White House says no, that that is not what is explicitly laid out in resolution 1441. The White House position is, if you sign 1441, which was unanimously adopted by the Security Council, you are on the record saying, if there is any interference, it is time to go to serious consequences. That will be the debate over the next 10 days, should it be containment, or should the council move on and invoke the serious consequences clause, which of course means military action?
ZAHN: John, I just wanted to alert you that we're going to be going to Baghdad in a moment where Uday Altay (ph), who is the minister of information, will be providing more Iraqi reaction for us.
Before we do that, once again, realistically then, who is the administration expecting to move when you talk about the reticence of Germany, France, Russia and China?
KING: France, Russia and China are the key because they have veto powers. The White House believes if it goes for a second resolution, it can get the nine votes from other members. The question is, would France, Russia or China use veto power. The administration will not seek a second resolution, authorizing military action or setting any final deadline if it believes it will be vetoed in the council. So those three governments are key.
President Bush spoke to President Putin of Russia yesterday. U.S. officials believe in time that Russia will be on board, still more diplomacy to be done. Secretary Powell met with the Chinese foreign minister last night in New York. France is viewed as the key right now. France has been most in the forefront, if you will, in making the case to give the inspectors more time.
In the remarks by the French foreign minister today, on the hand, he said, beef up the inspectors, let them have more time, give them more resources. But he did also say on the other hand, that if Iraq does not start complying in a more proactive way, the council might have to consider other consequences, so the French certainly are leaving the door open for coming toward the U.S. position. The White House would say that is the government where the White House needs to do the most work over the next seven to 10 days, the government of France.
ZAHN: John, before we let you go, we know the speech was very much a collaborative effort on the administration's part. David Ensor reporting just an hour ago that some very specific passages were stricken because there was great concern that even the simple sharing of the intelligence information might compromise the lives of some Americans on duty in the region. Help us understand who exactly was involved in crafting the message, and at what point did the president get involved?
KING: Well, the president was involved throughout the process. His deputy national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, was the point person. Secretary Powell said he wanted a specific item in the presentation, it would come to Steve Hadley, who would then go to the CIA and the National Security Agency and other intelligence gatherers, and say, what do you think, can we release this, can we release all of it, should we only release part of it?
So it was coordinated here at the White House. The president has been kept advised throughout the policy, and saw, obviously, the finished product in advance of presentation by Secretary Powell.
And on that point, one of the reasons the CIA director George Tenet is with Secretary Powell in New York, sitting behind him during the presentation is to make clear that he supports everything the secretary is saying, and also to be available as they now go behind closed doors in private to answer any questions any other government ministers might have. What the White House message in the presence of Director Tenet is to say, you heard a little bit today, there is a lot more of it, we simply couldn't release it, but Director Tenet is here to talk to you about it.
ZAHN: John, we've got 10 seconds. left. We know everyone comes back to the U.N. on Valentine's Day, February 14. When is it, do you think, the American public will know whether we'll be at war or not?
KING: The administration officials say there is no hard deadline, but they say here at the White House they want clarity within a few days of that February 14 briefing by Dr. Blix as to whether the council is ready to move, as the president thinks it should, toward serious consequences, which of course is war. So by the end of the month, most people at the White House would say you'll have clarity of this situation.
ZAHN: John King, we've got to get you go.
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