Bush Administration Quotes on Iraq

Statements on or before Mar. 19, 2003 and statements on or after Mar. 20, 2003

[Editor's Note: The information on this page has not been updated as of the date of the last entry, Apr. 8, 2004.]

The "On or before Mar. 19, 2003" column lists key statements made before military operations began in Iraq. The "On or after Mar. 20, 2003" column lists statements made after the military operations in Iraq had been initiated on Mar. 19, 2003 at 09:34 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Richard L. Armitage
Former Deputy Secretary of State

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Feb. 6, 2003

Excerpt taken from Richard Armitage's interview on Al-Jazeera:

  • "I am not going to speak theoretically. I will speak practically. Here you have a leader, Saddam Hussein, and a regime in Iraq who has already been found guilty yet again in Resolution 1441 of violations of their agreements under successive resolutions. If there is a credibility gap, whether you look at the remarks of Dr. Blix or Dr. ElBaradei, the gap is in Baghdad, not in the Security Council."
    Feb. 6, 2003 Richard L. Armitage

Excerpts taken from Richard Armitage's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

  • "According to the United Nations Special Commission [UNSCOM], which carried out inspections in Iraq for the better part of a decade, Iraq possesses some 25,000 liters of anthrax. This is, for the record, more than 5 million teaspoons of anthrax. And we have no idea where any of it is. Saddam Hussein has never accounted for one grain of it."

  • "... Since the passage of the U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1441, Iraq's last chance to disarm, Iraq has refused to hand over or destroy its chemical and biological weapons; Iraq has refused to identify the location and fate of its considerable stocks of anthrax, botulinum toxin, VX, sarin, and mustard gas; Iraq has refused to surrender its mobile biological capabilities, which are essentially germ laboratories tucked into the back of a Mack truck; and Iraq had refused to account for tens of thousands of empty -- and full -- chemical and biological warheads. And, mind you, these are just the materials and the weapons we know about, just some of what UNSCOM catalogued in 1999 after inspectors were kicked out of Iraq in 1998. We do not know what Saddam Hussein may have amassed in the years since."

  • "The inspectors also found Iraq had developed effective means for dispersing these materials: unmanned aerial vehicles, spray devices, special munitions. We don't know where any of it is. And the last 60 days of new inspections have turned up no additional information that could allay any concerns about this military capability."

  • "There is no sign, not one sign, that the Iraqi regime has any intent to comply fully with the terms of Resolution 1441, just as it has failed to comply with previous U.N. Security Council resolutions. The international community gave Iraq one final opportunity to disarm peacefully, and that opportunity has run its course. Dr. Blix [Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector] told us on Monday that there has been no progress toward credible, verifiable disarmament."
    Jan. 30, 2003 Richard L. Armitage

Excerpts taken from Richard Armitage's remarks at the US Institute of Peace:

  • "The events of the past week can be hard to interpret. It is safe to say that the discovery of 16 chemical warheads and new documents about nuclear and missile programs is an important development. It signals that the inspectors are doing their best to do their jobs -- that they are beating in at least some small way the considerable odds Saddam Hussein has stacked against them.

    But finding these 16 warheads just raises a basic question: Where are the other 29,984? Because that is how many empty chemical warheads the U.N. Special Commission estimated he had -- and he has never accounted for.

    And where are the 550 artillery shells that are filled with mustard gas? And the 400 biological weapons-capable aerial bombs? And the 26,000 liters of anthrax? The botulinum, the VX, the Sarin gas the U.N. said he has?

    We don't know, because Saddam Hussein has never accounted for any of it. Instead, he gave us a three-foot stack of papers devoid of the most important information -- making this his third such declaration that has failed to be full, currently accurate and complete, as required by the U.N. Security Council."

  • "This is not about America -- and what we may or may not be prepared to do. This is about Saddam Hussein -- and what he is prepared to do -- and what he is not doing right now. He is not meeting the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, as Dr. Blix said over the weekend. He is not cooperating with the international community. And he certainly is not disarming his nation of the biological and chemical weapons and nuclear capabilities he continues to hold and to develop.

    Now, there are those who still call for some kind of 'smoking gun.' And I would understand if, over the past decade of work, the United Nations had only confirmed the existence of a total of a few dozen warheads -- that it might be time to breath a sigh of relief. But there are thousands of weapons -- tons of materials and precursors -- and hundreds of key documents, including a credible list of Iraqi scientists -- that remain unaccounted for.

    And not only had the United Nations documented their existence -- the Iraqi regime has, unfortunately, demonstrated it -- against Iran and against Iraqi Kurds in Halabja -- where the population continues to show severe ill effects of the use of chemical agents."

  • "As Secretary Powell noted last week, if Iraq wanted to get the truth and wanted to satisfy the mandate, the regime would not be waiting to have the information pulled out of them -- pried out of them -- dug out of holes. They would be putting it all forward. But they are not.

    Given all of these concerns -- are we, the United States, sincerely giving this situation a chance to work out some arrangement short of war? Yes, we are unlike Saddam Hussein -- who has sacrificed something like one million of his youth to a series of pointless wars for his own personal ambition -- we have to answer to the families of every one of those Midshipmen -- and I can assure you that they will hold us accountable."

  • "But finding these 16 warheads just raises a basic question: Where are the other 29,984? Because that is how many empty chemical warheads the U.N. Special Commission estimated he had -- and he has never accounted for."
    Jan. 21, 2003 Richard L. Armitage

Dec. 13, 2002

Excerpts taken from Richard Armitage's news conference in Australia with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer:

  • "On the question of Iraq you have someone who has in recent years, in the last decade, invaded two of his neighbors and sacrificed about a million of his youth in those wars. He has subjugated his own people. He has tortured his people. That's not Rich Armitage saying it, it's Amnesty International reports that record this. He has used weapons of mass destruction against his enemies in the Iran war, and he's used it against his own people. Finally, he has an affection for terrorism, and from our point of view and I think generally shared with many in the international community, an unrequited thirst for more weapons."
    Dec. 13, 2002 Richard L. Armitage

Nov. 18, 2002

Excerpts taken from Richard Armitage's interview with Four Arabic Language Media:

  • "Well, first of all, I have to say that Iraq has already used weapons of mass destruction against her own people and against Iranians during their long war, so we know that weapons of mass destruction are existent with the Iraqis."

  • "Well, the United States has said that the disarmament of Iraq is the top priority, but we have also noted that there are many other United Nations Security Council Resolutions which are on the books, including the necessity to respect the human rights of all the citizens of Iraq that we're very interested in."
    Nov. 18, 2002 Richard L. Armitage

Nov. 15, 2002

Excerpt taken from Richard Armitage's interview on Adu Dhabi TV:

  • "Our President feels, and apparently many in the United Nations Security Council feel, that it is necessary to disarm Iraq before Iraq can again use weapons of mass destruction on her neighbors or she makes some liaison with terrorists who will use these weapons either against Iraq's neighbors or ourselves."
    Nov. 15, 2002 Richard L. Armitage

Oct. 30, 2002

Excerpts taken from Richard Armitage's interview with Charlie Sykes of WTMJ Milwaukee:

  • "What we said publicly is that we know that Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons, he's used them; we know about his biological weapons programs; and in the nuclear equation, left to his own devices, with no fissile material, by the end of the decade, he'll have a nuclear weapon.

    But if fissile material is provided to Saddam Hussein, he'll have a nuclear weapon within a year, so I'd say the year is the outside timetable."
    Oct. 30, 2002 Richard L. Armitage

Oct. 18, 2002

Excerpts taken from Richard Armitage's remarks at Town Hall Meeting in Savannah, Georgia:

  • "Today, Iraq is an immediate danger to our nation. This time, we cannot wait. We cannot wait for Saddam Hussein to take a devastating action or to transfer a weapon of mass destruction to someone else who will. After September 11th, it is simply no longer an option to sit back and contemplate an enemy -- one with a stated intent to harm us, a track record and the means, and just wait for him to strike in order to protect ourselves."

  • "The CIA estimates that Iraq probably has a few hundred metric tons of chemical weapons agents, for mustard gas, sarin, and other deadly concoctions. This is addition to an extensive capacity to produce biological weapons, including anthrax and ricin, which is fatal within 24 to 36 hours of exposure."

  • "This is a very dangerous man. This is a dangerous man who has failed to abide by any of his commitments to the international community, to the nations that defeated him in war, to his own people. To act against him is not preemption. It is redemption -- redemption of our peace and our safety, of stability in a lynch pin region of the world, of the future.

    We have tried every means short of war. As the President told us, the world has tried inspecting his weapons facilities, and Saddam Hussein has misled and frustrated the inspectors and then finally barred them altogether. The world had tried economic sanctions, only to see Saddam Hussein earn billions of dollars from illegal oil sales. The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy his capability to build weapons of mass destruction, only to see them rebuilt while the regime denies they even exist."
    Oct. 18, 2002 Richard L. Armitage

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

Mar. 25, 2003

Excerpt taken from Richard Armitage's interview on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:

  • "Well, I think finding the weapons of mass destruction is going to be quite time consuming. I know we've uncovered some documents, we'll have to exploit them, and we're going to have to blanket a country the size of California and search, I think, quite rigorously, but we'll come up with them. "

  • "I think when I close my eyes what I think is 4,500 days or so, 4,250 I guess days, was long enough to give Iraq to come into compliance with the international order. And I think to myself how many Iraqi citizens died under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein during those 4,200 odd days, and I think to myself how many more citizens of how many nations, the United States, Israel, or any other neighbor would die if Saddam Hussein went unchecked, though I am just grieved by the sacrifice of our brave men and women, but I think ultimately the greater good is served."
    Mar. 25, 2003 Richard L. Armitage

Samuel R. Berger
Former National Security Advisor
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On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Sep. 25, 2002

Excerpts taken from Samuel R. Berger's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

  • "I believe the Iraqi regime does pose a serious potential threat to stability in a combustible and vital region of the world and, therefore, to the United States.

    It is important for us to be as sharply focused as we can in an uncertain world about the nature of the threat. We have focused a great deal on Saddam Hussein's capabilities, and properly so. But capability is not the same thing as threat, which also involves questions of intention and urgency. It is not just the 'what,' but also the 'why' and the 'when.' And threat is only half the equation for war. It must be balanced against the 'how' - the costs and risks - of proceeding."

  • "We know Saddam Hussein possesses chemical weapons -- he has for nearly 20 years as we know only so well from his use of them against his own people and the Iranians. He has deadly stockpiles of biological weapons."

  • "The possibility that Saddam Hussein will use his biological and chemical weapons to attack us, directly or in concert with terrorists, cannot be dismissed."

  • "I believe Saddam Hussein's strategic objective was, and remains, to assert dominance over the Gulf region."

  • "I believe that a nuclear Iraq can change its fundamental dynamic, affecting how others behave -- toward us and toward allies such as Israel -- and emboldening Saddam Hussein to believe, rightly or wrongly, that he can attack his neighbors and, because of his nuclear capability, we will hesitate."

  • "[Saddam] Hussein maintains an active and aggressive nuclear weapons program."
    Sep. 25, 2002 Samuel R. Berger

Dec. 23, 1998

Excerpts taken from Samuel R. Berger's remarks to National Press Club:

  • "For the last eight years, American policy toward Iraq has been based on the direct threat Saddam poses to international security. That threat is clear. Saddam's history of aggression leaves little doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination and his quest for weapons of mass destruction if he had the chance."
    Dec. 23, 1998 Samuel R. Berger

Feb. 20, 1998

Excerpts from Samuel R. Berger's remarks at Town Hall Meeting, Ohio State University:

  • "Dealing with the threat that Secretaries Albright and Cohen have described, the threat from Saddam Hussein, demands constant resolve by the United States and by the international community; and at times, action. As long as he remains in power, we must be prepared to respond firmly to reckless actions that threaten the region and our interests. We've done that successfully over this decade."

  • "But it must be a peaceful solution that establishes the right of the U.N. inspectors to go in the country wherever they believe they have to go to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction. Now, the alternatives -- some have suggested that we should basically turn away; we should close our eyes to this effort to create a safe haven for weapons of mass destruction. But imagine the consequences if Saddam fails to comply and we fail to act. Saddam will be emboldened, believing the international community has lost its will. He will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And some day, some way, I am certain, he will use that arsenal again, as he has ten times since 1983.

    Now, others suggest such that Saddam is the problem, the only effective solution is a ground invasion that would remove him from power"

  • "In the 21st Century, the community of nations may see more and more of this very kind of threat that Iraq poses now -- a rogue state with biological and chemical weapons. If we fail to respond, Saddam and all those who follow will believe that they can threaten the security of a vital region with impunity. But if we act now as one, we will send a clear message to would-be tyrants and terrorists that we will do what it takes to protect our security and our freedom in this new era."

  • "I believe that a nuclear Iraq can change its fundamental dynamic, affecting how others behave -- toward us and toward allies such as Israel -- and emboldening Saddam Hussein to believe, rightly or wrongly, that he can attack his neighbors and, because of his nuclear capability, we will hesitate."

  • "Hussein maintains an active and aggressive nuclear weapons program."
    Feb. 20, 1998 Samuel R. Berger

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

June 5, 2003

Excerpt taken from Samuel R. Berger's testimony presented before Carla Robbins of Wall Street Journal:

  • "First of all on Iraq, I do believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction programs in the '90s. I disagree with my friend, Tom Friedman, that it doesn't matter; I think it profoundly matters. We have to find out the answer to this. It's a mystery at this point; we don't know. Did he destroy the weapons, did he hide the weapons, did we overestimate what he had? Democracies cannot go to war on false pretenses, particularly democracies who now embrace a doctrine of preemption, which presumably is based upon being able to know what others have."

  • "... Let me say briefly, number one, I believe ... did have weapons of mass destruction and we'll account for them but we haven't yet and we should. Number two, I do believe there were mis-statements of fact. On March 16 when the vice president said that Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons, there's not anybody in the intelligence community who believes that true. Now that may simply have been an inaccurate characterization. He might have meant have a nuclear weapons program. I know nobody in the intelligence community who believed that Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons. So I do think that there was, with respect to the linkage between Al-Qaeda and Iraq some over statement. It doesn't go to the fundamental questions of whether what we did was justified, but I think it's true."
    June 5, 2003 Samuel R. Berger

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Richard B. Cheney Back to Contents
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Ari Fleischer Back to Contents
Former Press Secretary Prev: Richard B. Cheney | Next: Lowell Jacoby

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Jan. 9, 2003

Excerpts taken from Ari Fleischer's statements before a press briefing:

  • "We know for a fact that there are weapons there [Iraq]."

  • "So while they've [UN weapons inspectors] said that there's no smoking gun, they said the absence of it is not assured. And that's the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is Iraq is very good at hiding things."

  • "The President wants the inspectors to continue to do exactly want they are doing, which is to do their level best to carry out the search, given the fact that Iraq has thrown up hurdles and isn't complying in all aspects, continuing with what the inspectors have reported in New York.

    The cited a number of issues that are real causes for concern by the United States government. And among the things that the inspectors themselves have said are discrepancies and inconsistencies. These deal with special munitions, illegal imports on a relatively large number of missile engines, contradictions involving the chemical agent VX, inadequate response by Iraq to provide the names of all personnel who have been involved in weapons of mass destruction programs. Indeed, the inspectors found that the list that Iraq provided of who has been involved in the weapons of mass destruction programs left out known names of people who have been involved in the weapons of mass destruction programs."

  • "So it remains a cause for concern that they are pursuing acquisition of elements that are banned to them, that have purposes that still can be used for military purposes. And we do have concerns about their potential of developing nuclear programs. As you know, we have always been explicit on this topic. We have always said that we know that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction of a biological nature. We know they have weapons of mass destruction of a chemical nature. We have not said that conclusively about nuclear. We have concerns that they are seeking to acquire and develop them, of course."
    Jan. 9, 2003 Ari Fleischer

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

Mar. 21, 2003

Excerpts taken from Ari Fleischer's statements before a press briefing:

  • "Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly. This was the reason that the President felt so strongly that we needed to take military action to disarm Saddam Hussein, since he would not do it himself."

  • "There's no question [weapons will be found]. We have said that Saddam Hussein possesses biological and chemical weapons, and all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."
    Mar. 21, 2003 Ari Fleischer

June 10, 2003

Excerpts taken from Ari Fleischer's statements before a press briefing:

[QUESTION: One question on the weapons of mass destruction issue. The President yesterday said three times in a row "weapons programs," rather than "weapons." Did the President intend to shift the focus here or establish a new position to in any way suggest a change in what he alleged before -- ]

  • "No, as you know from listening to the President on this issue repeatedly, when the President talked about weapons programs, he includes weapons of mass destruction in that.."

[QUESTION: So he means by weapons, weapons programs, he means weapons, themselves?]

  • "That's correct."

[QUESTION: I mean, but he used "weapons programs" three times in a row. What should we make of that?]

  • "You know how the President has addressed this issue repeatedly over time. I'm telling you I don't think you should make anything of it, because I know what the President meant. When he said "weapons programs," he includes weapons of mass destruction, as you heard him say on numerous occasions."

[QUESTION: So he uses them interchangeably?]

  • "That's correct. He did yesterday."
    June 10, 2003 Ari Fleischer

July 14, 2003

Excerpts taken from Ari Fleischer's statements before a press briefing:

[QUESTION: Do we, independently, think that the British intelligence is right or wrong, or do we just not know?]

  • "I think this remains an issue about did Iraq seek uranium in Africa, an issue that very well may be true. We don't know if it's true -- but nobody, but nobody, can say it is wrong. And, therefore, the judgment the White House has made is that it should not have risen to the level of the Presidential State of the Union address."

[QUESTION: I don't quite understand why -- a couple of points -- why White House officials are clinging to the idea that it may not be wrong, we just can't prove that it's right. I mean, what's the burden of proof here? Does this information not have the kind of presumption of being not true until proven correct?]

  • "No, I think that when you look at Iraq's history, Iraq, of course, did pursue weapons of mass destruction, biological weapons. They had biological weapons prior to the war. Chemical weapons, same thing, they had chemical weapons prior to the war.

    The third piece of the weapons of mass destruction story is nuclear. There can be no doubt in anybody's mind that Iraq pursued nuclear weaponry prior to the war. We had never said Iraq had nuclear weapons the way we have said that they had biological and chemical weapons. They had two weapons of mass destruction in a general sense, biological and chemical, and we fear they were seeking to reconstitute their nuclear program. All in all, not the type of actions a nation that is seeking to comply with United Nations resolutions should undertake.

    On the nuclear issue, there is a long, documented piece of evidence, of history, showing Iraqi attempts to acquire the means to produce nuclear weapons. I remind you that Israel took military action to take out an Iraqi nuclear facility. Had they not done that, it's likely that Iraq would have had nuclear weapons by the 1991 Gulf War.

    Iraq, as you know, has uranium that could have been used to make nuclear weapons. Where did they get the uranium and when? Iraq possesses, currently under IAEA safeguards, under lock and key, at the Tuwaitha facility inside Iraq, uranium that they got from Africa, from Niger, in Africa, in the early 1980s.

    In 1991, after the Gulf War ended we realized that Iraq was much closer to getting nuclear weapons than any of the international community or experts thoughts. Flash forward then to the late 1990s, this, then, became the source of what the CIA concluded in their national intelligence estimate: there were reports that Iraq was continuing its bad behavior. They had done it before. It would not surprise people if they continued to do it again, or they sought to acquire nuclear weapons -- I'm sorry, or they sought to acquire uranium in the production of nuclear weapons.

    This is the history of Iraq. It is this history based on the reporting from 1990s that led the CIA to that conclusion that Iraq was seeking uranium. And that's how it made it into the speech."

[QUESTION: Let me follow-up on one point, this is a President who prides himself on straight talk and accountability, and, yet, he has yet to express that he is upset about the fact that this intelligence became unreliable, something that passed his lips in the State of the Union Address, nor has he said who or whether anybody should be held accountable. Instead, this White House, from the President to the National Security Advisor, have, in a rather nuanced way, blamed the CIA and let it go at that.]

  • "No, I assure you the President is not pleased. The President, of course, would not be pleased if he said something in the State of the Union that may or may not have been true and should not have risen to his level. There's no question about that. Everybody has acknowledged that.

    But this is also a President who keeps his eye on what really counts and on the bigger picture. Nobody, but nobody, thinks the United States went to war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein may or may not have pursued uranium from Africa. We went to war because Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons, had biological weapons and was, indeed, seeking to reconstitute a nuclear program -- whether it did or did not involve uranium coming from Africa. That's, in the scheme of things, a minor element in the judgment that was made in the events that led up to war. And that's why the President has approached it in the manner that he has."

[QUESTION: Ari, can I just come back to this idea of you saying it wasn't a central reason for the war -- which may be true, but it was certainly used to buttress the case and build a case that it was urgent that Saddam Hussein be dealt with as quickly as possible. Take it in the whole, when you look at the lack of discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the fact that the intelligence surrounding its alleged purchase of uranium in Africa was erroneous, does that not speak to the idea that there wasn't a sense of urgency to go after Iraq and you could have waited, you could have built a bigger coalition to go in?]

  • "No, I think again and again, the fact that the United Nations and the international community concluded that Saddam Hussein had unaccounted for botulin, VX, sarin, nerve agent, chemical and biological weapons that Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons to reconstitution if they could. I think if you look at all those factors in the post-9/11 world, the only conclusion a President can reach is that this country needs to be protected from the threats that Saddam Hussein presents to our country. And that's exactly what the President said in his repeated public statements.

[QUESTION: But taken in the whole, is it not true that there wasn't this sense of urgency to deal with Saddam Hussein that this White House presented?]

  • "Again, they were seeking to reconstitute their nuclear program whether they got the uranium from Africa or from somewhere else. The fact of the matter is whether they sought it from Africa or didn't seek it from Africa doesn't change the fact that they were seeking to reconstitute a nuclear program. The fact that they had biological weapons made them a threat. The fact that they had chemical weapons made them a threat. And that's why this President did the right thing and led our nation to war to remove the threat."

[QUESTION: Is this not a top priority, though, for the White House to get this information? This is the US's key ally on Iraq, and considering the fact that it's such a high profile question --]

  • "Well, given the fact that the Iraqi regime is no more and they are not going to be seeking uranium from anybody, no, it's not a high priority to find out who the source of the British government is, because the threat no longer exists."

[QUESTION: Well, if the threat no longer exists, then why are you worried about -- why are they worried about -- why are you worried about asking them to compromise sources that no longer matter?]

  • "I'm saying that that's often the reason that people give. But this administration has already dealt with the threat that comes from Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction, which, after all, is what this was all about. The notion that because Iraq may or may not have been seeking uranium from Africa undermines the case for going to war with Saddam Hussein, ignores the fact that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons, chemical weapons. And that was a threat to the United States. And that's why this President took that action -- whether or not he sought uranium from Africa."

[QUESTION: This is under dispute. What evidence is left, public evidence is left that the White House can point to that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program?]

  • "I'm glad you asked me that. Let me tell you. In addition to the long-standing ambitions that Iraq had to procure nuclear weapons, in addition to the fact that they had a nuclear facility that had to be destroyed by Israel before it was actually able to come onto line, in addition to the fact that the international community concluded that Iraq was much closer to possessing nuclear weapons during the Gulf War, in addition to the fact that we underestimated -- not overestimated, but underestimated -- how close they were in the early 1990s, we have seen, since the sanctions were imposed on Iraq, Iraq do the following events: they had an indigenous production overt and covert procurement of uranium compounds, they had development of multiple indigenous uranium enrichment capabilities, they had the intent to divert research reactor fuel and a crash program to produce a nuclear weapon, they had limited production and separation of plutonium for weapons research at their facilities, they had weaponization research and development of dedicated facilities aimed at producing a missile-deliverable weapon. And, of course, we all saw it on TV, how many meetings did Saddam Hussein have with his nuclear scientists? Why did he retain the group that he called the Nuclear Mujahideen if he did not have an intention of working on a nuclear program?

    So I turn it around: why would anybody think that a leader as brutal as Saddam Hussein would not pursue weapons of mass destruction, of biological and chemical, and then say, but I'm not interested in nuclear. That's not plausible, that's not credible."

[QUESTION: And you don't know -- you don't even know whether Saddam Hussein is dead or alive?]

  • "For the same reasons I answered the question when you asked it a week ago and two weeks and three weeks ago, because the regime no longer exists, we're confident the regime will no longer use those weapons."

[QUESTION: But another regime might use those weapons if they've been transferred --]

  • "And I've indicated to you that we have no concrete reporting about whether any of the weapons left the borders of Iraq."

[QUESTION: But you can't have a concrete saying that it's not a threat if you don't have a concrete reporting that weapons haven't been transferred --]

Lowell E. Jacoby Back to Contents
Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Prev: Ari Fleischer | Next: Scott McClellan

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Feb. 11, 2003

Excerpts taken from Lowell Jacoby's testimony before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the US Senate:

  • "Saddam Hussein appears determined to retain his WMD and missile programs, reassert his authority over all of Iraq, and become the dominant regional power. He recognizes the seriousness of the current situation, but may think he can 'outwit' the international community by feigning cooperation with UN weapons inspectors, hiding proscribed weapons and activities, playing on regional and global 'anti-American' sentiments, and aligning himself with the 'Palestinian cause. Saddam's penchant for brinkmanship and miscalculation increases the likelihood that he will continue to defy international will and refuse to relinquish his WMD and related programs."

  • "Saddam's conventional military option and capabilities are limited, but I expect him to preemptively attack the Kurds in the north, conduct missile and terrorist attacks against Israel and US regional or worldwide interests - perhaps using WMD and the regime's links with al-Qaida."

  • "If hostilities begin, Saddam is likely to employ a 'scorched earth' strategy, destroying food, transportation, energy, and other infrastructure, attempting to create a humanitarian disaster significant enough to stop a military advance. We should expect him to use WMD on his own people, to exacerbate humanitarian conditions, complicate allied operation, and shift world opinion away from his own transgression by blaming us."
    Feb. 11, 2003 Lowell E. Jacoby

Apr. 13, 2000


Excerpts taken from Lowell Jacoby's statement before the 106th Congress Committee on Armed Services on the Anthrax Biological Warfare Threat:

  • "Iraq admitted to weaponizing anthrax. They declared 10 Al-Husayn Missiles, 50 R-400 bombs. and 3 MIG-21 with spray tanks. They also acknowledged research on 155mm artillery shells, artillery rockets, and aerosol generators. Iraq claimed to have destroyed these munitions, but to date UN monitors have not been able to verify these claims. Iraq also declared 8,500 liters 92,245 gallons of concentrated anthrax, as well as several other biological warfare agents."

  • "Al Hakam, a confirmed biological warfare Anthrax and Botulinum toxin production facility in Iraq, was destroyed in 1996 by UNSCOM. Iraq had maintained that it was a legitimate civilian facility designed to produce single-cell proteins and bio-pesticides. Al Hakam's remote location and the security involved in its construction suggested that it was intended to be a biological warfare production facility from the outset."

  • "Experts conclude that Iraq retains sufficient technology components, data, and scientific expertise to resume development and production of biological weapons. Although the UNSCOM inspections severely curtailed Iraqi WMD programs, even a small residual force of operational biological warfare missiles would pose a serious threat to neighboring countries and US military forces in the region."
    Apr. 13, 2000 Lowell E. Jacoby

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

(No public statement found or available)

Scott McClellan Back to Contents
Former US Press Secretary Prev: Lowell Jacoby | Next: Robert Mueller

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

(No public statement found or available)

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

July 16, 2003

Excerpts taken from Scott McClellan's remarks before the press:

[QUESTION: Let me just follow-up on one other thing, hang on a second. You repeated something this morning that the President is fond of saying, and that is, when speaking to critics of both the war and the occupation, you said that they're focused on elections and possibly even revising history or rewriting history. What is it that they're revising or rewriting? What are you referring to?]

  • "Well, the case against Saddam Hussein and his regime was solid and compelling. There was never any discussion about whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or weapons of mass destruction programs until recently. That's only recently come into play.

    The debate was about how to confront these weapons of mass destruction. It was about how to confront a regime that was willing to use these weapons of mass destruction. And you do have to raise the question about certain members of Congress now who are trying to rewrite history. They're trying to revise history.

    The last thing anyone should do is politicize this issue by rewriting history. There are some where the present rhetoric does not match their past record. So look back at past comments. Look back at past voting records. Congress overwhelmingly, in a bipartisan way, passed a resolution supporting the steps that we are taking and approving the use of force if it was necessary, after 12 years of Saddam Hussein's deception and denial to confront that threat.

    But let me point out a couple of comments -- these are from 1998. In a letter to President Clinton, one member of Congress talked about -- well, talked about the President -- he urged the President to 'take necessary actions to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs. By its refusal to abandon its quest for weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, Iraq is directly defying and challenging the international community and directly violating the terms of the cease-fire between itself and the United States-led coalition.' That was Senator Levin, D-MI, back in 1998, well before the attacks of September 11th, which brought to light the new threats of the 21st century.

    Let me read one more and then we'll move on. 'Saddam Hussein has already used these weapons and has made it clear that he has the intent to continue to try, by virtue of his duplicity and secrecy, to continue to do so. That is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. It is a threat with respect to the potential of terrorist activities on a global basis.' Again, this was in 1998, and that was by Senator Kerry, D-MA.

    One other comment. 'If we do nothing, I promise you we will face this issue one way or the other again in the Gulf or with respect to Israel or in some form, and I think it is absolutely vital for us to recognize the enormous principle with respect to proliferation and the challenge that this represents in the long term for our country. If we don't face this today, we will face it at some point down the road.' This was 1998 and that was Senator Kerry."

[QUESTION: Do you think that -- the truth is there are facts on the ground right now that -- you can go back to statements from 1998 and such, but there are facts on the ground now that are raising questions about the situation as presented or laid out by the President, what we could expect, what you all believed would happen, what you believed you would find. Now we have facts on the ground that are undermining the quality and the credibility of those comments.]

  • "I differ. I think we're beginning to learn the truth and we've seen some of the evidence of Saddam Hussein's desire to seek nuclear weapons, going back quite a while. We've seen some of the evidence of his weapons of mass destruction program through two mobile biological weapon labs that have been discovered. And that's in -- we've only been there, what, 120 days."

[QUESTION: ...Does the White House have a credibility problem now?]

  • "Absolutely not. The President has been very straightforward about this from the beginning. He laid out a very compelling case, a very clear case. It was based on solid evidence and it was based on a number of factors. It was based on Saddam Hussein's past history of not only having chemical and biological weapons, but being willing to use those chemical and biological weapons. It was based on UNSCOM's report from 1999, it's final report to the United Nations Security Council, saying he has large stockpiles of unaccounted for biological and chemical weapons. It was based on his support for terrorists and his support for -- and his harboring of terrorists.

    So there are a number of compelling parts of this evidence that led to us confronting this threat. And the last thing the President wanted to do was go to war. But Saddam Hussein, for 12 years, was defying the international community, he was defying the United Nations and 17 resolutions. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, that final resolution made it very clear, this is a final opportunity to comply, final opportunity to disarm.

    And not only is America safer, the region is safer and the Iraqi people free, but the Middle East will be more peaceful and more stable because of the action that we have taken."

[QUESTION: Well, if you are that confident, then would the White House welcome or participate in an independent investigation of what happened in the pre-war intelligence? If you're as confident as you are of your --]

  • "It wasn't only the United States. This was the United Nations and intelligence from countries around the world that documented this, and I just read you some of the comments from some of these members. But I think Congress has already --"

[QUESTION: So wouldn't an independent investigation put this to rest?]

  • "-- Congress is already looking at some of this information. But the facts are very clear."

[QUESTION: Just quickly following up on Iraq, two quick questions. The first is on Iraq. You said that you talked about quotes from 1998, of Democrats saying that there were -- that Saddam Hussein perhaps had these weapons of mass destruction --]

  • "And I want to point out how long -- how far back this goes. I mean, there is a long, well documented trail of evidence here."

[QUESTION: But it's definitely fair to say that there was significant debate and a number of questions about how imminent the threat was and if it was imminent enough to actually go to war against Saddam Hussein, right before the war. And what Democrats are saying is that the evidence the President gave at the State of the Union and others gave elsewhere now doesn't really hold up, in terms of how imminent the threat was.]

  • "No, not at all. And, in fact, I'm glad you brought that up. Because I've talked about the large body of evidence relating to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and I won't go back through that. But it was something that was well documented by the United States and by the international community. And, remember, there was a congressional resolution passed last year stating very clearly in an overwhelming way the support for the steps that we were taking.

    We live in a post-September 11th world now. Those vivid and tragic events of September 11th brought to light the threats that we face in a very real way and we are going to address them. The President will not ignore growing threats, because we cannot afford to wait and see American lives lost because of the threats that exist."

[QUESTION: Just to shift gears. You just said that the President laid out a clear case for the weapons of mass destruction based on solid evidence and in all the talk about the State of the Union speech. Does the President believe he made a mistake, standing in front of the country, making the case for war, saying that Iraq was trying to get uranium from Africa? Was that a mistake?]

  • "Well, again, let me go back. We should not have included that in the State of the Union address."


  • "Well, we said it was a mistake to include it in the State of the Union address. But that was one piece of one part of an overall body of evidence that exists showing why we went --"

[QUESTION: But that's really alarming --]

  • "-- why we went to war in Iraq, why we addressed that threat."

[QUESTION: But that's pretty alarming. That may have been the most alarming thing that he said. And does he feel he misled the American people?]

  • "No, no, let me make clear. No one has shown that that is wrong, that that statement is wrong. The British have additional sources that they base their information on, and they believe very strongly that it is accurate and that they have strong reasons to believe that.

    But the bottom line is, we didn't feel, after learning some new information later -- and that's what happens sometimes with intelligence, you learn information later that you didn't know -- and we didn't feel it was specific enough to rise to the level of a Presidential speech.

[QUESTION: The national intelligence estimate we now know contained the reference to Niger and the rest of that was published on October 1st.]

  • "Aptly pointed out in your article today."

[QUESTION: Right. We now know that the DCI called Mr. Hadley on -- about four days later, to say, don't go ahead with that part of the speech because we're not certain of it.
What did you do at that point to alert Congress, which was getting ready to make a vote that -- take the vote that you referred to before, authorizing war? That, in fact, an element -- just one element, but an element of the classified document that they had received no longer was considered credible by the Director of Central Intelligence?]

  • "Well, let's back up. Yes, the national intelligence estimate did come out during the drafting of the Cincinnati speech toward -- just days before."

[QUESTION: A week before.]

  • "Yes, it's a lengthy document, let's keep that in mind, too; and there's a lot of information to look at.

    Now, the specific reference in that Cincinnati speech was relating to a specific amount on a specific source. So it was different from what we're talking about with the State of the Union address."

[QUESTION: But it was in the NIE.]

  • "That's correct. But it was different from what was in the State of the Union address. This one statement was by no means the reason we went to war. And I think it's nonsense and ludicrous to suggest otherwise. There was so much evidence there, the case was so strong that that one piece of information didn't change the overlying facts -- whether or not it is accurate. And, again, it hasn't been shown to be wrong."

[QUESTION: I think my question was what steps did you take to alert the recipients of this classified document that you no longer had confidence in this part of the piece of evidence?]

  • "Well, I'll let the intelligence community speak to those issues."

[QUESTION: Did you find the answer to Jeanne's question from yesterday, whether the President knew that this reference was taken out of the October speech?]

  • "These issues, this statement -- I mean, it's been addressed in a very straightforward way, the statement should not have been put in the State of the Union address. We've made that clear and we've been very straightforward with the American people about why we think that.

    Not to say that it's not accurate. And, in fact, again, the British maintain that it is an accurate statement based on the additional sourcing that they had. But you have to come back to the issue here, and the issue here related to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his regime. And the case for that was compelling and strong."

[QUESTION: If I could jump in on this, Scott. Clearly, one of the reasons there is so much talk about this one sentence in the State of the Union speech is that, to date, there obviously have been no significant discoveries of weapons of mass destruction. We have these two mobile trailers, which experts are divided upon. They think that they could have been intended for that, they could have been intended for other things.
In any event, it's certainly not the cache --]

  • "It sure does closely match what Secretary Powell outlined to the United Nations."

[QUESTION: Certainly it does, but it's certainly not the volume of weapons that everybody in the administration said we would find. Director Tenet was very clear on that in February, shortly after Secretary Powell's presentation, when he went up before the intelligence --]

  • "Can I stop you one second and let me just point out something. Saddam Hussein was someone who UNSCOM learned was deceiving and concealing programs, was deceiving them and concealing his weapons of mass destruction program. This was back in the '90s when he was supposed to be complying with everything after the Gulf war."

[QUESTION: -- answer my question.]

  • "And then when he kicked those -- when those inspectors were essentially kicked out of the country, you don't think he was taking additional steps to try to even be more deceiving and conceal his programs even more so? He was very sophisticated in what he did. And that's why we've got the Iraq survey group in there now, that's why we've got David Kay, an expert in this, looking at all these issues, looking at the documents. And he's talked about some of the documents.

    But we want to gather the full picture, see the full picture. But we are confident that we will uncover that full picture."

[QUESTION: But my question is, do we currently have enough human intelligence assets on the ground there, turning that country upside down? Is there talk about sending more? Because --]

  • "I think those decisions are --"

[QUESTION: How long -- how long is this --]

  • "I think those specific questions need to be discussed with the team over there and the Department of Defense, I think. But there is a large group over there doing their work and doing it well and continuing to interview people, talk to some of the people that we have captured, talk to scientists and go through a lot of documents. We're confident that we'll learn the full extent of it."
    July 16, 2003 Scott McClellan

Sep. 17, 2003

Excerpts taken from Scott McClellan's remarks before the press:

[QUESTION: Earlier today you said that the President made no connection between 9/11 and Iraq. You said that there was no indication that there was a linkage at all. Can you explain why the American people seem to know -- to believe, according to the polls, that there is a connection? Does the White House have anything to do with that, and are you going to do anything to disabuse the perception?]

  • "You're right, if you're talking specifically about the September 11th attacks, we never made that claim. We do know that there is a long history of Saddam Hussein and his regime and ties to terrorism, including al Qaeda. Secretary Powell went before the United Nations and outlined what we knew back in February. And we have long talked about --"

[QUESTION: What did you know -- that one person was treated in a hospital?

  • "Let me finish -- one other point here that's important to keep in perspective in light of September 11th is that one of the most dangerous new threats we face in the post- September 11th world is the nexus between outlaw regimes with weapons of mass destruction --"

[QUESTION: Where are they?]

  • "-- and terrorists. And the horrific attacks of September 11th vividly brought to light the importance of confronting these threats and confronting them before they reach our shores. There are some dangerous new threats out there, and the President is leading and acting to eliminate those threats so that the American people are more safe and secure from the kind of attacks that we have experienced."

[QUESTION: Are you -- but are you trying to tell the American people now the truth, that there is no linkage? ]

  • "We know, Helen -- I mean, this is reopening a debate that was never had because the whole entire -- the entire judgment of the international community was that Saddam Hussein was a threat. That's why there were a number of -- the United Nations."

[QUESTION: They never authorized an invasion.]

  • "The United Nations passed a number Security Council resolutions. You're correct on that point. But when you talk about the threat that Saddam Hussein posed, we know that this was a brutal regime that oppressed the Iraqi people. We know that this was a regime that had a long history of possessing chemical and biological weapons, and even using chemical weapons against his own people. We know that this was a regime that had invaded and attacked its neighbors. So the threat was --"

[QUESTION: I'm talking about linkage with al Qaeda.]

  • "Well, you jumped into the threat there. Secretary -- again, Secretary Powell went through this. We know that a leading collaborator and senior associate of al Qaeda was in Iraq, al Zarqawi, who was responsible for directing the cell that killed an American citizen in Jordan. He was responsible for the network that developed a -- poisons and toxics labs in northeastern Iraq. There are many things we know about the history of Saddam Hussein's regime and his ties to terrorism, including al Qaeda, and we have outlined all that previously."

[QUESTION: So no comment on that. And then just to close off the line of questioning Helen was pursuing, can you rule out at this point that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11, with the attacks on this country on September 11th?]

  • "Terry, I think I made it very clear that we have never made that claim and I'm not saying that now. What I am saying is that there is a long history between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorism, ties to terrorism and ties to al Qaeda. That's why I mentioned a little bit of that."

[QUESTION: So in the judgment of the White House there is still a possibility that evidence will develop showing that Saddam Hussein had a hand in 9/11? Or can you rule that out?]

  • "We have not made that claim, Terry. And I'm not making that claim. What I can do is tell you what we do know. And I've told you a little bit of that; Secretary Powell outlined some of what we knew previously, as the Vice President said on the Sunday show this weekend. He said that there is more and more that we are learning since we have gone into Baghdad, and we are learning more and more about the relationship between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorists, including al Qaeda. And he talked a little bit about that. But, no, I'm not at all making that claim, nor have we."

[QUESTION: On a related question about whether the President is concerned -- you made it clear that you didn't make any connection between September 11th and Saddam Hussein. But Americans are not quite -- they're a little bit more confused on that issue. Is the President at all worried that they aren't -- that they don't have as clear an idea of what happened as you do?]

  • "That they don't have a clear idea of what happened --"

[QUESTION: Well, in terms of the connection.]

  • "Well, I talked about September 11th bringing to light the need to address threats that we face, the new threats that we face. And I said one of the most important dangerous new threats that we face is that nexus between outlaw regimes with weapons of mass destruction and terrorists. And in terms of the specific question you asked, we have not made that claim and I'm not making that claim."
    Sep. 17, 2003 Scott McClellan




Jan. 8, 2004

Excerpts taken from Scott McClellan's remarks before the press:

[QUESTION: Scott, there are reports that the United States has quietly pulled out its team searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Is that correct, and does that amount to a concession that you don't expect to find --]

  • "Well, there was a report in one of the papers this morning that was talking about I think two separate things -- in the paper talking about some of the members who are responsible for disposing of weapons, and separate and apart from, I believe, the Iraq Survey Group. I mean, obviously, you talk to the military about how they're allocating our resources, but the Iraq Survey Group continues to do its work. We already know from their interim report that Saddam Hussein's regime was in serious violation of 1441, which called for serious consequences."

[QUESTION: Are our efforts to find weapons being scaled down in Iraq?]

  • "Again, you want to talk to our military in terms of the resources being allocated to all our different priorities in Iraq. But the Iraq Survey Group continues to do its work, continues to pursue its mission."
    July 8, 2004 Scott McClellan




Jan. 12, 2004

Excerpts taken from Scott McClellan's remarks before the press:

[QUESTION: I asked you, if you,(sic) if he made false accusations -- like on Iraq, he [Paul O'Neill, Former Secretary of Treasury] claims at the very first national security meeting, there was a discussion about targeting Saddam Hussein and that it was his impression and interpretation that, essentially, the President wanted to find a way to make that happen. Is that --]

  • "Well, let me remind you of a few of the facts. First of all, the President exhausted all possible means to resolve this -- resolve the situation in Iraq peacefully. You will recall that he went to the United Nations Security Council and they passed a 17th or 18th resolution giving Saddam Hussein one final opportunity to comply. He was given a final opportunity to comply. He continued to defy the international community and was in material breach of Security Council Resolution 1441, which called for serious consequences.

    And the President believes, in the aftermath of September 11th, that it's important to confront threats before it's too late. And, certainly, I think everyone recognizes that Saddam Hussein has been a dangerous man for a long time, and his regime -- the international community recognize that his regime was a threat for a long time."
    Jan. 12, 2004 Scott McClellan




Robert S. Mueller, III Back to Contents
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation Prev: Scott McClellan | Next: Richard Myers

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Feb. 11, 2003

Excerpts taken from Robert Mueller's testimony before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the US Senate:

  • "As we previously briefed this Committee, Iraq's WMD program poses a clear threat to our national security, a threat that will certainly increase in the event of future military action against Iraq. Baghdad has the capability and, we presume, the will to use biological, chemical, or radiological weapons against US domestic targets in the event of a US invasion. We are also concerned about terrorist organizations with direct ties to Iraq—such as the Iranian dissident group, Mujahidin-e Khalq, and the Palestinian Abu Nidal Organization."

  • "Our particular concern is that Saddam may supply al-Qaeda with biological, chemical, or radiological material before or during a war with the US to avenge the fall of his regime. Although divergent political goals limit al-Qaeda's cooperation with Iraq, northern Iraq has emerged as an increasingly important operational bases for al-Qaeda associates, and a US-Iraq war could prompt Baghdad to more directly engage al-Qaeda."
    Feb. 11, 2003 Robert S. Mueller,III

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

(No public statement found or available)

Richard B. Myers 
Back to Contents
Former Chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Prev: Robert Mueller | Next: Colin Powell

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Sep. 18, 2002

Excerpts taken from Richard Myers' statements before the US House Armed Services Committee on Iraq:

  • "Despite the presence of U.N. sanctions, Iraq has repaired and sustained key elements of its offensive, conventional forces. Iraq armed forces maintain over 2,000 main battle tanks, more than 3,500 armored personnel carriers and more than 2,000 pieces of artillery. Today, Iraqi ground forces have 23 divisions, to include 6 Republican Guard divisions. Its Air Force operates over 50 key air defense radars, and has about 300 jet aircraft, to include a limited number of Mirages F-1's and MIG-29 Fulcrum aircraft."

  • "When U.N. inspection teams were forced to leave Iraq in 1998, they documented that Iraq had failed to fulfill U.N. disarmament mandates and to accurately account for its most dangerous weapons"

  • "In the four years since, Iraq has continued to develop chemical weapons, primarily mustard agent, the nerve agent Sarin, and VX -- an extremely potent nerve agent. Prior to 1991, Iraq produced at least 28,000 filled chemical munitions and almost certainly many more."

  • "Iraq has also invested heavily into developing biological agents. In 1995, the Iraqi regime admitted to the U.N. that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of concentrated biological warfare agents. To put in comparison, a year ago, trace amounts of anthrax sickened 22 persons in the US and killed 5 Americans. UNSCOM estimated that Iraqi officials were misleading them and that Baghdad could have produced 2-4 times more agents. Moreover, the U.N. was unable to account for nearly 200 biological bombs and missile warheads Iraq claims it destroyed in 1991."

  • "Iraq retains the ability to deliver these chemical and biological weapons with aircraft, artillery shells or missiles. Two years ago, it displayed an array of new missiles and has begun fielding them with its military forces this year. These weapons, known as the Al Samoud and Ababil-100 missiles, violate U.N. resolutions because they are capable of reaching beyond the 150-kilometer range limit imposed on Iraq missiles and rockets."

  • "With regards to nuclear weapons, Iraq continues to vigorously pursue this capability. In 2000, the International Atomic Energy Agency estimated that Iraq could have a nuclear weapon within two years."

  • "Iraq has developed elaborate deception and dispersal efforts aimed at preventing us [the US] and the rest of the world from learning about its WMD capabilities. As a result, we do not know the exact location of many of Iraq's WMD resources."

  • "The regime has used WMD against the citizens of Iraq and Iran. It has used SCUD missiles against cities in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and tried to hit Bahrain. In fact, Iraq has used weapons of mass destruction more against civilians than against military forces."

  • "The Iraq regime has also allowed its country to be a haven for terrorists. Since the 1970's, organizations such as the Abu Nidal Organization, Palestinian Liberation Front and Mujahadeen-e-Khalq have found sanctuary within Iraq's borders. Over the past few months, with the demise of their safe haven in Afghanistan, some al Qaida operatives have relocated to Iraq. Baghdad's support for international terrorist organizations ranges from explicit to overt support to implicit and passive acquiescence."
    Sep. 18, 2002 Richard B. Myers

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

(No public statement found or available)

Colin Powell Back to Contents
Former US Secretary of State Prev: Richard Myers | Next: Condoleezza Rice

Due to Colin Powell's volume of statements concerning Iraq, these have been listed on a separate page.

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Condoleezza Rice
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US Secretary of State and former US National Security Advisor

Prev: Colin Powell | Next: Donald Rumsfeld

Due to large volume of comments, these have been listed on a separate page.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld
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Former US Secretary of Defense Prev: Condoleezza Rice | Next: George Tenet

Due to large volume of comments, these have been listed on a separate page.

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George J. Tenet
Back to Contents
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency Prev: Donald Rumsfeld | Next: Edward Walker

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Feb. 10, 2003

Excerpts taken from George Tenet's statement to the Select Committee on Intelligence, US Senate:

  • "Iraq has in place an active effort to deceive U.N. inspectors and deny them access. This effort is directed by the highest levels of the Iraqi regime. Baghdad has given clear directions to its operational forces to hide banned materials in their possession."

  • "Iraq's BW program includes mobile research and production facilities that will be difficult, if not impossible, for the inspectors to find. Baghdad began this program in the mid-1990s-during a time when the U.N. inspectors were in the country."

  • "Iraq has established a pattern of clandestine procurements designed to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program. These procurements include - but also go well beyond - the aluminum tubes you have heard so much about."

  • "Iraq has recently flight tested missiles that violate the U.N. range limit of 150 kilometers. It is developing missiles with ranges beyond 1,000 kilometers. And it retains- in violations of U.N. resolutions - a small number of SCUD missiles that it produced before the Gulf War."

  • "Iraq is harboring senior members of a terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a close associate of Usama Bin Ladin. We know Zarqawi's network was behind the poison plots in Europe that I discussed earlier as well as the assassination of a US State Department employee in Jordon."

  • "Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al-Qa'ida. It also provided training in poisons and gasses to two al-Qa'ida associates; one of these associates characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful."

  • "Mr. Chairman, this information is based on a solid foundation of intelligence. It comes to us from credible and reliable sources. Much of it is corroborated by multiple sources. And it is consistent with the patter of denial and deception exhibited by Saddam Hussein over the past 12 years."
    Feb. 10, 2003 George J. Tenet




Oct. 7, 2002

Excerpts taken from George Tenet's statement to the Select Committee on Intelligence, US Senate:

  • "Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States."

  • "Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qa'ida is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we received comes from detainees, including some of high rank."

  • "We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida going back a decade."

  • "Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qa'ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression."

  • "Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad."

  • "We have credible reporting that al-Qa'ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qa'ida members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."
    Oct. 7, 2002 George J. Tenet

Feb. 7, 2001

Excerpts taken from George Tenet's statement before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the "Worldwide Threat 2001: National Security in a Changing World":

  • "We continue to face ballistic missile threats from a variety of actors beyond Russia and China -- specifically, North Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq. In some case, their programs are the result of indigenous technological development, and in other cases, they are the beneficiaries of direct foreign assistance. And while these programs involve far fewer missiles with less accuracy, yield, survivability, and reliability than those we faced during the Cold War, they still pose a threat to US interests."

  • "Our most serious concern with Saddam Hussein must be the likelihood he will seek a renewed WMD capability both for credibility and because every other strong regime in the region either has it or is pursuing it. For example, the Iraqis have rebuilt key portions of their chemical production infrastructure for industrial and commercial use. The plants he is rebuilding were used to make chemical weapons precursors before the Gulf War and their capacity exceeds Iraq's needs to satisfy civilian requirements.

    We have similar concerns about other dual-use research, development, and production in the biological weapons and ballistic missile fields; indeed, Saddam has rebuilt several critical missile production complexes."
    Feb. 7, 2001 George J. Tenet




On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

May 3, 2003

Excerpt taken from George Tenet's statement in a press release:

  • "Our [CIA] role is to call it like we see it -- to tell policymakers what we know, what we don't know, what we think, and what we base it on. That's the code we live by and that is what policymakers expect from us. That is exactly what was done and continues to be done on intelligence issues related to Iraq.

    I am enormously proud of the work of our analysts. The integrity of our process was maintained throughout and any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong."
    May 3, 2003 George J. Tenet




Aug. 11, 2003

Excerpt taken from George Tenet's statement on the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's continuing programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction:

  • "The history of our judgments on Iraq's weapons programs is clear and consistent. On biological weapons and missiles our data got stronger in recent years. We have had a solid historical foundation and new data that have allowed us to make judgments and attribute high confidence in specific areas. And we had numerous credible sources, including many who provided information after 1998."

  • "The NIE points out that by 2002, all agencies assessed that Saddam did not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient fissile material to make any, but never abandoned his nuclear weapons ambitions. Moreover, most agencies believed that Iraq's attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors, magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools, as well as Iraq's efforts to enhance its cadre of weapons personnel and activities at several suspect nuclear sites indicated that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."

  • "All agencies of the intelligence Community since 1995 have judged that Iraq retained biological weapons (BW) and that the BW program continued. In 1999 we assessed Iraq had revitalized its program. New intelligence acquired in 2000 provided compelling information about Iraq's ongoing offensive BW activities, describing construction of mobile BW agent production plants—reportedly designed to evade detection—with the potential to turn out several hundred tons of unconcentrated BW agent per year. Thus, it was not a new story in 2002 when all agencies judged in the NIE that Iraq had biological weapons—that it had some lethal and incapacitating BW agents—and was capable of quickly producing and weaponizing a variety of such agents, including anthrax. We judged that most of the key aspects of Iraq's offensive BW program were more advanced that before the Gulf war."

  • "As early as 1994, all agencies assessed that Iraq could begin limited production of chemical agents almost immediately after UN sanctions, inspections and monitoring efforts were ended. By 1997, the Intelligence Community judged that Iraq was protecting a breakout capability to produce more weapons and agent quickly. We further assessed in 1997, that within months Iraq could restart full-scale production of sarin and that pre-Desert Storm agent production levels—including production of VX—could be achieved in two to three years. And so it was not a surprising story when all agencies judged in the NIE in 2002 that Baghdad possessed chemical weapons, had begun renewed production of mustard, sarin, cyclosarin, and VX and probably had at least 100 metric tons (MT) and possibly as much as 500 MT of CW agents, much of it added in the last year."

  • "The Intelligence Community's assessment on the possibility of Iraq having a few covert Scuds had been consistent since at least 1995. As Iraq continued to develop its short-range missiles, we collected more data and by 1999 were able to begin determining that both missiles were capable of flying over 150 km. Also by 1999 we had noted that according to multiple sources, Iraq was conducting a high-priority program to convert jet trainer aircraft to lethal UAVs, likely intended for delivering biological agents. Again, not a new story for the NIE to judge that Iraq maintained a small missile force and several development programs, including an UAV that could deliver a biological warfare agent."
    Aug. 11, 2003 George J. Tenet




Oct. 1, 2003

Excerpt taken from George Tenet's letter responding to House Committee's Criticism of Iraq War Data:

  • "Years before and after the Gulf War, we vigorously collected against the Iraqi target and analyzed its programs of weapons of mass destruction. When inspections ceased in 1998, the Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection conducted a thorough study of Iraq collection challenges and directed a sustained and intense collections effort to enable us to continue make the best possible assessments about compartmented activities in what had become a denied area."

  • "I emphatically disagree with the Committee's view that intelligence reports on Iraq's ties to Al-Qa'ida should have been 'screened out by a more rigorous vetting process' before they were provided to analysts. Reports in this area, as well as others, are carefully caveated. It is a central feature of analytic tradecraft to work through a variety of information, some solid, others fragmentary and inconclusive, in making assessments. Providing analysts less information on Iraq's connections to terrorists makes no sense to me."
    Oct. 1, 2003 George J. Tenet

Edward S. Walker, Jr. Back to Contents
Former Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Prev: George Tenet | Next: Thomas Wilson

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Mar. 10, 2003

Excerpts taken from Edward Walker's statement to the Pacific Council on International Policy:

  • "Where we are today is the product of two administrations and their failure to find viable alternatives to military action to stop Saddam Hussein."

  • "And from a military perspective, the sanctions had worked. By the end of the 90's, Tony Zinni, then running the Central Command, could demonstrate that the Iraqi Armed Forces were a shadow of their former selves and posed no significant military threat."

  • "While Saddam Hussein retained credible defensive forces, his ability to project force had been eliminated and it remains eliminated today."

  • "However, the sanctions regime came at a cost. It was constructed in such a way that the principle victims, other than the Iraqi military, were Iraqi civilians. This created enormous pressure in the region and in Europe to relieve the Iraqi population from the ill-effects of the sanctions."

  • "During the policy discussions I attended in the beginning of the new Administration, I heard repeatedly the fear expressed that Saddam Hussein would wake up and and understand that by complying with the UN Security Council's resolutions he could get a clean bill of health from a renewed inspection regime, which, ultimately, would allow him to get out from under sanctions.

    Once free of sanctions he could be confident, given his money and ability to win favor with the French and Russians, that the Security Council would never be able to reimpose sanctions. Then he could rebuild his offensive capabilities, missiles and weapons of mass destruction at will and with the benefit of massive oil revenues."

  • "On reason we have developed so little support has been that the Administration has been clumsy in making its arguments.

    --It has conspired with the British is putting out fabricated intelligence derived from newspaper articles and other unsourced information, which has been bluntly rejected by the inspectors.

    --It has exaggerated the nature of the immediate threat - comparing the threat of Saddam's army with Hitler's Wermacht.

    --It has belittled the dangers of military action and its aftermath. It has exagerated the ease with which Humpty Dumpty can be put back together.

    --It has minimized the cost in terms of coin and commitment - suggesting a US military occupation of less than two years and yet comparing it to our occupation of Germany, which lasted seven."
    Mar. 10, 2003 Edward S. Walker, Jr.

Mar. 29, 2001

Excerpts taken from Edward Walker's testimony at a hearing of the Sub-committee on Middle East and South Asia of the Committee on International Relations US House of Representatives:

  • "In previous testimony to Congress, Secretary Powell said that when he took office he found widespread agreement that the current Iraqi regime would pose a serious threat if it were given unrestricted freedom to develop its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and military, and if the United States was to abandon its military position in the Gulf. There is also broad support on the need to counter that threat by focusing international efforts on controlling Iraq's ability to reconstitute its WMD capabilities and rearm its military forces."

  • "What our friends in the region have been concerned about has been the economic sanctions on civilian goods. These are seen by many as punishing the Iraqi people and strengthening the regime's grip on power, while doing little to diminish Iraq's threat. The plight of the Iraqi people, particularly its poorer segments, is real. The responsibility for that plight is largely attributable to Saddam Hussein, who finds bribery and grand gestures to the poor of other countries to be more pressing that the needs of his own people."

  • "We are working with other nations to change the rules and procedures to give free access for the Iraqi people to humanitarian and civilian goods. At the same time, we hope to solidify a regional consensus on strengthening the controls over Iraq's access to military, WMD, and dangerous dual-use goods, and substantially reduce Saddam Hussein's access to uncontrolled revenues to use in supporting his security apparatus, in procuring weapons systems and WMD components, in bribing officials, and in blackmailing those who refuse to cooperate. To facilitate the support and cooperation of regional states, we are exploring ways to protect their economic interests in the event that they are confronted with Iraqi economic retaliation or blackmail."
    Mar. 29, 2001 Edward S. Walker, Jr.


Nov. 13, 2000

Excerpts taken from Edward Walker's statements at Juniata University in Huntingdon, PA:

  • "We are already paying a price for the breakdown in negotiations and resulting violence in terms of sanctions on Iraq. There is less and less interest in enforcing those sanctions by states in the region whose people sympathize with the Iraqi people. If those sanction further erode, however, we can expect a rearmed and nuclear capable Iraq in our future. As a corollary, there will be decreasing will to resist among Iraq's neighbors and the US military posture will be eroded."

  • "Oil price will be volatile and will affect the world economy — our included."
    Nov. 13, 2000  Edward S. Walker, Jr.

Sep. 18, 2000

Excerpts taken from Edward Walker's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

  • "Iraq under Saddam Hussein remains dangerous, unreconstructed, and defiant. Saddam's record makes clear that he will remain a threat to regional peace and security as long as he remains in power. He will not relinquish what remains of his WMD arsenal. He will not live in peace with his neighbors. He will not cease the repression of the Iraqi people. The regime of Saddam Hussein cannot be rehabilitated or reintegrated as a responsible member of the community of nations. Experience and objective judgment make this manifest. That is why the United States is committed to encouraging and supporting the forces of change in Iraq, and that is why we will contain Saddam Hussein as long as he remains in power. At the same time, we are committed to working to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, who are forced to live under a regime they did not choose and do not want. And we are also committed to efforts to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for his crimes against humanity and his war crimes."

  • "The regime of Saddam Hussein has used chemical weapons against the Iraqi people and Iraq's neighbors. It has launched ballistic missiles, developed biological weapons, and had an active nuclear program. It has obstructed weapons inspections for nine years in an effort to conceal these programs. This regime has the expertise and will produce weapons of mass destruction, and a long track record of repeatedly lying about them."
    Sep. 18, 2000 Edward S. Walker, Jr.

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

July 11, 2003

Excerpts taken from Edward Walker's interview on PBS's Frontline:Truth, War & Consequences:

  • "I think certainly chemical weapons are not a mass -- they're a battlefield weapon. They're not very practical anywhere else, or as a terrorist product."

  • "I would argue that the American people are pleased that Saddam Hussein is gone. While they may have not totally been aware of all the reasoning, or maybe the reasoning wasn't even the right reasoning, that the ultimate outcome will be the defining element as to whether this makes sense or not."

  • "Terrorism is an international phenomenon. It's not a rogue state phenomenon; it's all over the place ..."

    "Iraq is one of the elements of it. Maybe not, certainly not the only element of it. We have problems in a lot of other places -- everywhere that terrorists can hide with some impunity, even when the host state or the nominal sovereign state doesn't have sovereignty. Certainly places in Pakistan. Certainly in areas of Yemen. In places in Africa. You can even go up into the northern parts of Canada and sometimes find remote places where you could have training camps or something. We've had them here in our own country."

    "These guys who did 9/11 were trained in this country. So we shouldn't think that it's a simple matter to deal with this problem."
    July 11, 2003 Edward S. Walker, Jr.

Thomas R. Wilson Back to Contents
Former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Prev: Edward Walker | Next: Paul Wolfowitz

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Feb. 6, 2002


Excerpts taken from Thomas Wilson's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

  • "Iraq's ground forces continue to be one of the most formidable within the region. They can move rapidly and pose a threat to Iraq's neighbors. Baghdad's air and air defense forces retain only marginal defense capability. The Air Force cannot effectively project air power outside Iraq's borders. Still, Saddam continues to threaten Coalition forces in the No Fly Zones, and remains committed to interfering with Coalition military operations monitoring his military activities.

    Iraq retains a residual level of WMD and missile capabilities. The lack of intrusive inspection and disarmament mechanisms permits Baghdad to enhance these programs. Iraq probably retains limited numbers of SCUD-variant missiles, launchers, and warheads capable of delivering biological and chemical agents. Baghdad continues work on short-range (150kn) liquid and solid propellant missiles allowed by UNSCR 687 and can use this expertise for future long range missile development. Iraq may also have begun to reconstitute chemical and biological weapons programs.

    Despite the damage done to Iraq's missile infrastructure during the Gulf War and Operation Dessert Fox, Iraq may have ambitions for longer-range missiles, including an ICBM. Depending on the success of acquisition efforts and the degree of foreign support, it is possible that Iraq could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the US by 2015."

  • "Saddam is intent on acquiring a large inventory of WMD and modernizing and expanding his fleet of tanks, combat aircraft, and artillery guns. While Iraq would still have to grapple with shortcomings in training and military leadership, such a modernized and expanded force would allow Saddam to increasingly threaten regional stability and ultimately, the global economy."
    Feb. 6, 2002 Thomas R. Wilson

Feb. 7, 2001


Excerpts taken from Thomas Wilson's statement for the Record Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

  • "Beyond China and Russia, several states – especially North Korea and, later on, Iran and possibly Iraq – could field small numbers of long-range, WMD-equipped missiles capable of striking the United States. Again, we know very little about how these states think about strategic weapons, deterrance, and escalation."

  • "Despite the damage done to Iraq’s missile infrastructure during the Gulf War, Operation Desert Fox, and subsequent UNSCOM activities, Iraq may have ambitions for longer-range missiles, including an ICBM. Depending on the success of acquisition efforts and the degree of foreign support, it is possible that Iraq could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the US by 2015."

  • "So long as Saddam or someone of his ilk remains in power, Iraq will remain challenging and contentious. Saddam’s goals remain to reassert sovereignty over all of Iraq, end Baghdad’s international isolation, and, eventually, have Iraq reemerge as the dominant regional power. For the time being, however, his options are constrained. Years of UN sanctions, embargoes, and inspections, combined with US and Coalition military actions, have significantly degraded Iraq’s military capabilities. Manpower and materiel resource shortages, a problematic logistics system, and a relative inability to execute combined arms operations, remain major shortcomings. These are aggravated by intensive regime security requirements."

  • "Nevertheless, Iraq’s ground forces continue to be one of the most formidable within the region. They are able to protect the regime effectively, deploy rapidly, and threaten Iraq’s neighbors absent any external constraints. Iraq’s air and air defense forces retain only a marginal capability to protect Iraqi air space and project air power outside Iraq’s borders. Although the threat to Coalition Forces is limited, continued Iraqi confrontational actions underscore the regime’s determination to stay the course. Iraq has probably been able to retain a residual level of WMD and missile capabilities. The lack of intrusive inspection and disarmament mechanisms permits Baghdad to enhance these capabilities."

  • "Iraq probably retains limited numbers of SCUD-variant missiles, launchers, and warheads capable of delivering biological and chemical agents. Baghdad continues work on short-range (150 km) liquid and solid propellant missiles allowed by UNSCR 687 and can use this expertise for future long range missile development. Iraq may also have begun to reconstitute chemical and biological weapons programs."

  • "Should sanctions be formally removed, or become de facto ineffective, Iraq will move quickly to expand its WMD and missile capabilities, develop a more capable strategic air defense system, and improve other conventional force capabilities. Under this scenario, Baghdad could, by 2015, acquire a large inventory of WMD – including hundreds of theater ballistic and cruise missiles – expand its inventory of modern aircraft, and double its fleet of armored vehicles. While this force would be large and potent by regional standards, its prospects for success against a western opponent would depend ultimately on how successful Baghdad was in overcoming chronic weaknesses in military leadership, reconnaissance and intelligence, morale, readiness, logistics, and training."
    Feb. 7, 2001 Thomas R. Wilson

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

(No public statement found or available)

Paul D. Wolfowitz Back to Contents
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Prev: Thomas Wilson | First: Richard Armitage

On or before Mar. 19, 2003
[listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first]

Mar. 11, 2003

Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's remarks to Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC:

  • "The diplomatic debate centers on Iraqi non-compliance with 12 years of U.N. resolutions - 17 of them by now -- that have required Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass terror and abide by the agreements that concluded the Gulf War in 1991. In the years since, there has been no real compliance by Iraq and no genuine cooperation. Instead, we have had delay, dishonesty, and deception."

  • "We know what real disarmament looks like. In recent years, the United States had assisted other countries — including several former republics of the Soviet Union -- that wanted to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Those governments took the initiative. They were cooperative and helpful. That has never been the case with Iraq.

    Instead, U.N. weapons inspectors have been thwarted at every turn. They have been forced to play a game of hide and seek in a country the size of California, chasing after mobile biological lads that were designed to be hidden, and seeking weapons hidden in chicken farms and garages. The inspectors have been subjected to intimidation. And perhaps most important, they have been denied full and free access to Iraqi scientists, who know where the weapons are, but who have been threatened with death and worse, if they cooperate with the inspectors."

  • "Saddam Hussein heads a regime — to name one example -- that forces doctors to cut off the ears and sometimes even the tongues of people who have disobeyed the regime or spoken out against it. They don't merely punish individuals; they punish their families. There are credible reports that the families of Iraqi nuclear and chemical and biological scientists have been moved to special locations to ensure that their knowledgeable relatives are intimidated into silence."

  • "No doubt you have heard a great deal about governments that are NOT part of our coalition. We still have hopes that they too will finally realize what is at stake and that time is of the essence.

    But whether those countries join our coalition or not, they should understand one thing: The United States of America has the ultimate responsibility to act to ensure the peace and security of our country and our people."

  • "Of course, we would like to have the unanimous support of all nations of good will. And it is important for the United Nations to demonstrate that it means what it said when it passed Resolution 1441 — its 17th resolution on Iraq since the Gulf War. We do not want to see the credibility of the U.N. go the way of the League of Nations, which failed to act to stop the slide into World War II."

  • "Those very weapons are the source of our concern. The issue is not about Iraqi oil. If the United States had wanted access to Iraqi oil, we could have dropped our whole policy 12 years ago, lifted the sanctions, and let Saddam Hussein keep his weapons of mass destruction.

    No, if there is going to be war, it will be a war to disarm Saddam's weapons of mass terror. But it will also be like wars you've fought in, a war of liberation, a war to secure peace and freedom not only for ourselves, but for the Iraqi people who have suffered so long under one of the world's most brutal regimes."
    Mar. 11, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Feb. 19, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview with BBC TV and Radio:

  • "The attack that was broken up on London recently with terrorists planning to put ricin, one of the most deadly poisons known to man, into the London subway system is tied directly to that group of terrorists that are based in northeastern Iraq, and some of whose leaders have been sheltered in sanctuary in Baghdad."

  • "If it comes to the use of force, I guess this is my other message, this is not going to be a war for oil. If we wanted Iraqi oil we would have dropped the sanctions years ago. This is not a war for Israel. It is a war to liberate perhaps the most talented population in the Arab world, people who I think are ready to build a society and a government that could become a model for the future for others."

  • "First of all the risk is there, but the risk grows the longer we wait. If that means let's just keep waiting until he has more and more weapons and more and more connections to terrorist. The Zarqawi network which was involved in the operation in London has multiplied by many other networks and tentacles. It seems to me it's a formula for just having a bigger conflagration later."
    Feb. 19, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Jan. 23, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's address on Iraqi disarmament at the Council for Foreign Relations:

  • "The threat posed by the connection between terrorist networks and states that possess these weapons of mass terror presents us with the danger of a catastrophe that could be orders of magnitude worse than September 11th. Iraq's weapons of mass terror and the terror networks to which the Iraqi regime are linked are not two separate themes -- not two separate threats. They are part of the same threat. Disarming Iraq and the War on Terror are not merely related. Disarming Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons and dismantling its nuclear program is a crucial part of winning the War on Terror."

  • "So far, Iraq is blocking U-2 flights requested by the U.N. in direct violation of Resolution 1441, which states that inspectors shall have free and unrestricted use of manned and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles."

  • "There are also gaps in accounting for such deadly items as 1.5 tons of the nerve gas VX, 550 mustard-filled artillery shells, and 400 biological weapons-capable aerial bombs that the U.N. Special Commission concluded in 1999 -- and this is the U.N.'s conclusion -- Iraq had failed to account for."

  • "There is no mention of Iraqi efforts to procure uranium from abroad. Iraq fails to explain why it's producing missile fuel that seems designed for ballistic missiles it claims it does not have. There is no information on 13 recent Iraqi missile tests cited by Dr. Blix that exceeded the 150-kilometer limit. There is no explanation of the connection between Iraq's mobile biological-weapons production facilities. And, very disturbingly, Iraq has not accounted for some two tons of anthrax growth media."

  • "Today, we also anticipate that Iraq is likely to target U.N. computer systems through cyber intrusions to steal inspection, methods, criteria, and findings. And we know that Iraq had the capability to do that."

  • "Today, we know from multiple sources that Saddam has ordered that any scientist who cooperates during interviews will be killed, as well as their families. Furthermore, we know that scientists are being tutored on what to say to the U.N. inspectors and that Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as scientists to be interviewed by the inspectors."
    Jan. 23, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Oct. 16, 2002


Excerpts from Paul Wolfowitz address at the Fletcher School at Tufts University:

  • "The Iraqi regime's support for terrorism, within and outside its borders, its appetite for the world's most dangerous weapons, and its openly declared hostility to the United States form a combination that needs to be understood in a new light since the September 11th of last year.

    We cannot continue living safely with a regime, which as the President said, 'gathers the most serious dangers of our age in a single place.'

    President Bush has detailed Iraq's links to international terrorists, its training of al Qaeda members in bomb-making, poisons and deadly gases. The President spoke about Iraq's growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that could disburse its arsenal of biological and chemical weapons and about the ominous fact that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for mission targeting the United States. And, of course, as the President said, and I quote, 'Sophisticated delivery systems are not required for a chemical or biological attack. All that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.'"

  • "But it is not merely the rhetoric of the Iraqi regime that concerns us, but its actions. When we consider the actions of Iraq under the leadership of the present regime, and particularly since the invasion of Kuwait 12 years ago, there is no question that the Iraqi people are in the grips of an evil regime, a regime that threatens us all -- inside and outside the country."

  • "Few in this country at least would deny that the present Iraqi regime is an evil and dangerous one. It would be difficult to find Americans who would not agree that the world would be safer and the Iraqi people would be vastly better off if this regime no longer ruled."

  • "We know from 11 years of stubborn defiance that Saddam Hussein will not easily give up those horrible weapons that he has worked so hard to develop and retain. Eleven years of defiance of U.N. resolution has cost his country, and more important his regime which he really does care about, dearly. He has sacrificed tens of billions, perhaps even hundreds of billions of dollars, in lost oil revenues in order to retain the world's worst weapons. He has subjected his country to regular bombing by coalition aircraft. He has caused enormous suffering for his own people, which he turns and blames on the United States."

  • "It is hard to see how we can expect to be successful in the long run if we leave Iraq as a sanctuary for terrorists and its murderous dictator in defiant safety.

    Saddam Hussein supports and conspires with our terrorist enemies. He lends them both moral and material support. Disarming Saddam Hussein and fighting the war on terror are not merely related, they are one in the same.

    If we can defeat a terrorist regime in Iraq it will be a defeat for terrorist globally."

  • "Iraq is part of the global war on terrorism because Iraq represents one of the first and best opportunities to begin building what President Bush has referred to as a better world beyond the war on terrorism. If Saddam Hussein is a danger and a support to terrorists and an encouragement to terrorist regimes, conversely his demise will open opportunities for government and institutions to emerge in the Muslim world that are respectful of fundamental human dignity and freedom and that abhor the killing of innocents as an instrument of national policy."

  • "The more time passes the more time Saddam Hussein has to develop his deadly weapons and to acquire more. The more time he has to plant sleeper agents in the United States and other friendly countries or to supply deadly weapons to terrorists he can then disown, the greater the danger."

  • "We cannot afford to wait until Saddam Hussein or some terrorist supplied by him attacks us with a chemical or biological or, worst of all, a nuclear weapon, to recognize the danger that we face. If that terrible event happens and we look back to examine why we weren't warned, the answer will clearly be that we were. The dots are there for all to see. We must not wait for some terrible event that connects the dots for us."

  • "The most dangerous assumption of all, however, is the assumption that Saddam would not use terrorist as an instrument of revenge. That is the very danger that Secretary Powell warned of so eloquently in the quote I read you earlier. The use of terrorists as an undeterrable instrument for delivering weapons of mass destruction.

    As our President has said, Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction, and he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them or provide them to a terror network."
    Oct. 16, 2002 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Sep. 20, 2002


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview with NATO journalists:

  • "There is a lot that is unique about the case of Iraq. In the first place there are 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions that distinguish it from very other possible case of this kind. But secondly what is at the heart of the matter here, and people it seems to me, -- this is a dot I don't understand why it isn't connected more often, let me put it that way -- that it is the combination of those lethal capabilities with active consorting with terrorist and a declared hostility, indeed open threats that makes it so dangerous.

    When weapons of mass destruction can be delivered anonymously through terrorist networks, traditional notions of deterrence don't work. We're in a different world. That's the problem that we're dealing with is we're not talking about some general philosophy of any time you feel you have a problem you can preempt it militarily."

  • "This is not just an American problem. This is a worldwide problem. Unless we as a world say here and now that the world's most dangerous weapons can't be put in the hands of the world's most dangerous people, I think that's the phrase the President used some time ago, sooner or later one of us is going to get hit very very hard. It may not even be the United States."
    Sep. 20, 2002 Paul D. Wolfowitz

On or after Mar. 20, 2003
[listed in chronological order: oldest first]

Apr. 6, 2003

Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview on NBC's Meet the Press:

[QUESTION:Do we have any evidence yet of chemical or biological weapons on the ground?"]

  • "These young men and women are in the middle of fighting a very difficult war. I was visiting with some wounded Marines out at Bethesda, and it impresses you. They have their hands full defeating the enemy. When that's done we'll have time to look for those weapons of mass destruction. That's not our main focus right now."

[QUESTION: And you have no doubt that we will find them [WMD] in substantial numbers?]

  • "I've never seen the intelligence community as unified in their basic judgment here."

[QUESTION: Why did we have such a difficult time taking their television off the air?]

  • "Because they put enormous effort into developing that as one of the instruments of regime control, to convince people that they need to fear this man, no matter how bad things may seem to be. And it runs on fear. They try to keep fear alive, but fear is on its way out."

[QUESTION: Do you believe that Saddam's strategy to create a humanitarian disaster, turn off the power, turn off the water, have is own people die, and say to the world, Stop the United States invaders?]

  • "Not clear that he has a strategy, but it is clear he has no respect for human life -- least of all the lives of his own people -- that they have done all kinds of things to deliberately suck us into killing Iraqis. On the other hand, we are determined, to the extent it's possible, with the safety of our own troops in mind, to do everything possible to protect human life, even of the enemy."

  • "We arrived at the position we did on Iraq based on facts, and facts had changed over time. Iraq is a unique case. I mean, there is no other country that has defied the will of the international community as consistently and as deliberately and as long as Saddam Hussein. There is no other leader that I know of who glorified the events of September 11th and who actively supports terrorism the way he does."

[QUESTION: Do you believe the American people will be safer after the regime in Iraq is gone?]

  • "Absolutely. And that's why -- that's the only reason the president decided to risk American lives, to get rid of this regime. It was a danger to us. It doesn't mean we are going to be 100 percent safe afterwards, but it was a choice of what was the less dangerous choice. And I am absolutely sure we will be safer."
    Apr. 6, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Apr. 6, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview on CBS's Face the Nation:

  • "But it's also important, I think, to say that we would not be at war in Iraq if we didn't think there was a danger to the United States. But now that we are a war in Iraq, our goal needs to be more than just dismantling those weapons of mass destruction."
    Apr. 6, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

May 9, 2003

Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's phone interview with Sam Tannenhaus of Vanity Fair magazine:

[QUESTION: Was that one of the arguments that was raised early on by you and others that Iraq actually does connect, not to connect the dots too much, but the relationship between Saudi Arabia, our troops being there, and bin Ladens's rage about that, which he's built on so many years, also connects the World Trade Center attacks, that there's a logic of motive or something like that? Or does that read too much into --]

  • "No, I think it happens to be correct. The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason but -- hold on one second --

    -- there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. Sorry, hold on again.

    To wrap it up.

    The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there's most disagreement within the bureaucracy, even though I think everyone agrees that we killed 100 or so of an al Qaeda group in northern Iraq in this recent go-around, that we've arrested that al Qaeda guy in Baghdad who was connected to this guy Zarqawi whom Powell spoke about in his UN presentation."
    May 9, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz




May 28, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview with Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post:

  • "There has been a tendency to emphasize the weapons of mass destruction issue. But, as I said in the fuller quote, the real thing that has concerned the President from the beginning and which I think is even the 'axis' that's referred to in the 'axis of evil' is the connection between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. So in a way, that's always been the main thing. But if you look at where the intelligence community tends to go, the issue about weapons of mass destruction has never been in controversy. Whereas there's been a lot of arguing back and forth about how much Iraq is involved in terrorism. At the end of the day, it's actually the connection between the two that was seen as completely different in the light of September 11th."

  • "By the way, I've never - you know, apropos of the WMD thing--I can't recall (m)any intelligence assessments that have been as unanimous as the judgment about Iraqi chemical and biological weapons. And even the terrorism one at the end of the day, Tenet spoke to it in that letter he sent to the SASC last fall and obviously Powell spoke to it quite clearly in his talk at the UN, but there have been times when we seem like we're ... or people say, I don't think it's fair actually, but people say that we shouldn't focus so much on WMD. I rally do think we've always had all three reasons, together."

  • "There's been very little dispute about the WMD, except for some of the borderline issues."

[QUESTION: But do you think that you might have oversold the whole WMD thing last fall? With the sort of, not only do they have production facilities, they actually have weapons that are ready to be used?]

  • "I don't think so. I mean, I think we were working from, as I told you, one of the most widely shared intelligence assessments I know of."

  • "No, there was no oversell. I mean, let's go back and remember what changed the whole world, which 3,000 Americans were killed on September 11th by commercial airliners. And a couple of weeks later we got a warning of what somebody could do with envelopes filled with anthrax. And the question is, in the face of an understanding of a threat of that kind, and the kinds of intelligence assessments that we had, and the kind of determined efforts by this hostile regime to frustrate the whole effort to uncover their weapons, I don't think we were overselling at all."
    May 28, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Aug. 1, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview with Michael Dwyer of the Australian Broadcasting Company:

  • "We have found those biological vans that the defector in Germany told us about. They seem to be exactly what he said they would be. And I would think that would pretty well corroborate the rest of his story which is they were for the production of biological weapons"

  • "Well, let me say first of all nobody distorted intelligence or said what it would take. In my experience in government there have few issues on which the intelligence community was as unanimous as they were on the existence of Iraqi chemical weapons and biological weapons, and the intention to develop nuclear weapons. Look, intelligence is an art, it's not a science."

  • "There's no question in my mind that there was something there [WMD]. There are just too many pieces of evidence and we'll get to the bottom of it."
    Aug. 1, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Aug. 1, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview on The Laura Ingraham Show:

[The following is Wolfowitz's response when asked when he first came to believe that Iraq was behind the 9-11 terrorist attacks.]

  • "I'm not sure even now that I would say Iraq had something to do with it. I think what the realization to me is -- the fundamental point was that terrorism had reached the scale completely different from what we had thought of it up until then. And that it would only get worse when these people got access to weapons of mass destruction which would be only a matter of time."

  • "... And even retaliation doesn't work against that kind of threat that what you really got to do is, eliminate terrorist networks and eliminate terrorism as a problem. And clearly Iraq was one of the country -- you know top of the list of countries actively using terrorism as an instrument of national policy."
    Aug. 1, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Sep. 11, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview on FOX and Friends:

  • "The only way we're going to make our country safe is to go on offense; to go after terrorists where they live, where they have sanctuary. Of course you have to go after them here, that's absolutely essential and that's a law enforcement function. But the kinds of things that our military have done with the CIA and other agencies of government in Afghanistan and Iraq today and Pakistan and elsewhere have really out the terrorists on the run. and that's where you want them."
    Sep. 11, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Sep. 11, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview on ABC's Good Morning America:

  • "I mean, Saddam was an advocate of terrorism, a financier of terrorism, a harborer of terrorists before -- the things that we told you about before that George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee, the things that Secretary Powell told the U.N. Security Council. Secretary Powell spoke about this man Zarqawi, who was in Iraq, clearly sheltered by Baghdad. Everything we've learned since then only deepens our understanding. The one bomber still at-large from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was sheltered in Iraq for 10 years, and we've learned more about him. The ties were there."
    Sep. 11, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz

Sep. 11, 2003


Excerpts taken from Paul Wolfowitz's interview with the BBC:

  • "They've [al Qaeda] been in Iraq before the war, they were there during the war, they're there now, and they see any opportunity to kill Americans, to defeat Americans, as part of their war."
    Sep. 11, 2003 Paul D. Wolfowitz