Final report by chief U.S. arms inspector: Saddam had no WMD
Contradicting the Bush's administration's claims, the final report of the chief U.S. arms inspector concluded that Saddam Hussein did not pursue a program to develop weapons of mass destruction after international inspectors left Baghdad in 1998, an administration official said Wednesday.
In drafts, weapons hunter Charles Duelfer concluded that Iraq had no stockpiles of the banned weapons.
"It appears that he did not vigorously pursue those programs after the inspectors left," the official said, according to The AP.
Duelfer was providing his findings Wednesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Despite this, President Bush continued to maintain that the findings support the view that Saddam was a threat.
"We knew the dictator had a history of using weapons of mass destruction, a long record of aggression and hatred for America," President Bush said in a speech Wednesday. "There was a risk, a real risk, that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or materials or information to terrorist networks. In the world after Sept. 11, that was a risk we could not afford to take."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Duelfer report "will continue to show that he was a gathering threat that needed to be taken seriously, that it was a matter of time before he was going to begin pursuing those weapons of mass destruction."
On Wednesday, the White House also continued to assert that there were clear ties between Saddam before the invasion and the al-Qaeda linked activist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But a CIA report recently given to the White House found no conclusive evidence that Saddam harbored al-Zarqawi before the war. (albawaba.com)
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