A story in today’s Washington Post, Iraq Survey Fails to Find Nuclear Threat: No Evidence Uncovered Of Reconstituted Program, should put the final nail in the bogus aluminum tubes for uranium-enriching centrifuges claim. As the story makes clear, US experts opined before the war that the tubes were neither suitable for, nor intended for, use in such centrifuges.
According to records made available to The Washington Post and interviews with arms investigators from the United States, Britain and Australia, it did not require a comprehensive survey to find the central assertions of the Bush administration’s prewar nuclear case to be insubstantial or untrue. Although Hussein did not relinquish his nuclear ambitions or technical records, investigators said, it is now clear he had no active program to build a weapon, produce its key materials or obtain the technology he needed for either.
Among the closely held internal judgments of the Iraq Survey Group, overseen by David Kay as special representative of CIA Director George J. Tenet, are that Iraq’s nuclear weapons scientists did no significant arms-related work after 1991, that facilities with suspicious new construction proved benign, and that equipment of potential use to a nuclear program remained under seal or in civilian industrial use.
Throughout, the story is consistent with claims made by former State Department Director of the Office of Strategic Proliferation and Military Affairs Greg Thielmann on 60 Minutes II last week (which I excerpted here). The Post story is also a compelling addition to Sy Hersh’s in-depth piece last week for the New Yorker.
As numerous observers (most vigorously, Bob Somerby) point out, the primary bias in the media is laziness–it’s much easier to write a story that someone else has already written. So expect more articles similar to this one. In this case I think that the White House, by not releasing the Kay Report, is adding a layer of intrigue and thereby fueling the media flames.