(12 September 2004 2330)
This report is the product of the hundreds of individuals who participated in the efforts of Iraq Survey Group (ISG): The Australian, British, and American soldiers, analysts, and support personnel who filled its ranks. They carried out their roles with distinction, and their work reflects creditably on the commitment of Washington, London, and Canberra to firmly support the mission throughout a long and difficult period.
Two of our colleagues gave their lives during ISG’s field inspections. On April 26, Sgt. Sherwood R. Baker and Sgt. Lawrence A. Roukey died while providing security for one of the most critical ISG investigations when an explosion destroyed the facility being inspected. Their memory has been present throughout the creation of this report.
The analysts and case officers who came to Iraq, most for the first time, worked hard to develop the information to support this report. They labored long hours to develop intelligence reports and the text that became this report, a difficult task to which they responded with enthusiasm.
This report also builds upon the work of a broader universe of people who have striven to understand the role of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq during the past decade or more. United Nations inspectors and analysts around the world have wrestled with this issue trying to sort out reality and develop policies to mitigate suffering and avoid conflict. Hopefully this report will provide some answers or at least more data for constructive review.
Mention must be made of the Iraqis themselves. It is important for an outsider to understand fully the dilemmas encountered and choices made by individuals under the former Regime, many of them energetic and brilliant people who participated in the programs and decisions addressed here. ISG analysts have spoken with many of them—both in detention and free. Some have tried to help us understand what happened; others were too fearful to help. Still others had many reasons to reveal as little as possible. Nevertheless, I hope that the characterization of events offered here will be seen as a fair representation by those who are, after all, the real experts, the Iraqi participants.
The tragedy of Iraq is perhaps best seen on the individual level. I have known many of their most senior technocrats and political leaders for over a decade. I have spent hours with them in meetings trying to unravel circumstances and events. We have met in large government offices, the Untied Nations, in laboratories and now in jails or tents. They are some of the best and brightest the country has produced. How they dealt with the moral dilemmas of pursuing careers in a Regime like Saddam’s is difficult to understand. Some clearly did so with relish and happily reaped the rewards that were bestowed. Others, with better intentions, had limited options, given the nature of the Regime. Through the accident of birth, they were placed in circumstances most of us are never tested by.
The new Iraq could benefit from the talents of some of these technocrats. The new Iraq should seek recompense from some others who profited from the promotion of the worst deeds of the Regime. Readers of the procurement and finance section of the report will gain some appreciation of how rewards were dispensed.
Many Iraqis over many years tried hard to explain Iraq and these programs to me. This was not easy for them and carried substantial risk. I am grateful to them beyond words.
The intelligence services of three nations supported ISG, a long and demanding task. In the United Kingdom, mention must be made of SIS and the Defense Intelligence Service (especially the Rockingham group) for their long support. In the United States, both the Defense Intelligence Agency and Central Intelligence Agency sustained the process at substantial cost. Australia provided some of the best intelligence analysts anywhere. While these institutions expressed interest in the finding and certainly were curious where their pre-war assessments went wrong, they did not try to steer in any way the judgments included here.
In the end, this is not an Intelligence Community product. Rather, it is my independent judgment as the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraqi WMD. I have had the assistance of many people, but I chose the directions and methodologies, which are not typical of the intelligence community. Yet, in future decisions, I chose the frame of reference outlined. Where there were decisions to be made on interpretation or judgment, they are mine.
This will not be the last word on the Iraqi experience with WMD. Many may argue with the interpretation given here. To further that public debate, and in the interest of the historian to whom this subject is likely to be of considerable interest, I have been firmly committed to making this report unclassified. I have also opted on the side of inclusion of material – even if sensitive for one reason or another – rather than exclusion. The data can be interpreted by others, now and in the future, to form their own judgments.
Lastly, I offer my thanks to former DCI George Tenet who offered me the opportunity to pursue this endeavor. I was given neither guidance nor constraints, and tasked only to find the truth. I have tried to do that.
Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence