Well, Saddam was so dumb that he lied himself into war. And the U.S. figured he was telling the truth when he lied about ordering the use of chemical weapons.Report expected to confirm failure to find WMD in Iraq
By RUPERT CORNWELL
WASHINGTON - Already shaken by the furore over the leak of a CIA operative's identity, the Bush administration is bracing for more fall-out from the Iraq invasion from a report due tomorrow that will confirm the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction - the main justification advanced for the war last March.
David Kay, the head of the 1200-strong Iraq Survey group that is leading the hunt for the illegal weapons, is expected to tell the House and Senate Intelligence committees that Saddam Hussein may have been bluffing over whether he possessed chemical and biological arms.
In particular, Mr Kay is likely to highlight the instructions issued by Baghdad to Iraqi commanders in the field shortly before war, to use chemical weapons against the invaders. Mr Kay will probably say that these instructions, intercepted by US intelligence services, were fakes, intended by Saddam to make himself appear a greater threat that he in fact was.
Officially his report will be "inconclusive", and stress Saddam's skill at hiding his prohibited weapons. But it may also raise the possibility that he had them destroyed shortly after, or even before, the 1991 Gulf war which drove his forces from Kuwait.
At most, the report will say, the Iraqi dictator retained the wherewithal, in terms of precursor chemicals and "dual use" facilities, to quickly restart production once United Nations sanctions had been lifted.
Even though the findings of Mr Kay, a former UN weapons inspector and an adviser to the CIA, are being called "interim" - suggesting that the hunt may yet yield proof of illegal weapons - they can only generate new criticism of the administration and its use of pre-war intelligence: either that the intelligence was faulty, or that is was deliberately exaggerated by administration hawks to bolster the case for war.
It will come days after the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee delivered a stinging attack on the CIA, accusing the agency of using "outdated and piecemeal" data in compiling its assessment of the Iraqi threat.
That embarrassment moreover coincided with the launch by the Justice Department of a criminal investigation of allegations that the name of an undercover CIA operative was leaked by the White House - apparently in order to get back at the agent's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, a noted critic of the war.
Yesterday White House staffers began sifting their records and telephone logs for information relevant to the probe. But President Bush's spokesman said he knew of no-one who had gone to the Department with information about the case.
Nor, to the best of his knowledge, had any White House officials hired outside legal counsel - a routine procedure at the scandal-buffetted Clinton White House. The White House would agree to polygraph tests for staffers, if the FBI requested them.
Though Mr Bush has promised full co-operation with the inquiry, Democrats insist that career Justice Department officials cannot carry out an impartial investigation and are calling on John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, to name an outside prosecutor. But Republicans reject these demands.
Saddam thought the U.S. would never invade. He was convinced that the U.S. would leave him alone if he bragged about his weapons secretly
Saddam is unbelievably stupid.