Blix: US tried to discredit UN inspectors before the war
Chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix on Tuesday questioned the intelligence used by the United States and Britain to justify attacking Iraq for concealing weapons of mass destruction.
Blix also accused U.S. officials of deliberately seeking to discredit his team in the run-up to the Iraq war in an effort to win political support for military action.
"I think it's been one of the disturbing elements that so much of the intelligence on which the capitals built their case seemed to have been shaky," Blix told BBC radio in an interview, excerpts of which were broadcast on Tuesday.
Blix, who is due to address the U.N. Security Council later on Tuesday on his readiness to send inspectors back to Iraq, said he would not dream of accusing U.S. and British intelligence agencies of fabricating reports on illegal arms.
But he questioned their ability to spot "fakes" such as a report Iraq had imported tons of raw uranium.
"Is it not disturbing that the intelligence agencies that should have all the technical means at their disposal did not discover that this was falsified?" he said.
"I think that's very very disturbing. Who falsifies this?" he said .
Blix also said that allegations by U.S. officials that his team had deliberately suppressed information on an Iraqi unmanned drone plane and a cluster bomb in its report on Iraq's weapons were intended to discredit inspectors.
"At that time the U.S. was very eager to sway the votes of the Security Council and they felt that stories about these things would be useful to have and they let it out," Blix said. "Thereby they tried to hurt us a bit and say we'd suppressed this," he added.
Asked whether the U.S. had leaked information to sway U.N. votes, he said: "It looked like that."
Blix said, however, that he did not doubt the sincerity of Secretary of State Colin Powell, who presented a key report to the U.N. of Iraq's suspected banned weapons before the war. "If you sit at the top you can't check everything," he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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