Michael Saba, Special to Arab News
Publication Date: 
Sat, 2004-02-14 03:00

WASHINGTON, 14 February 2004 — Whatever you do David Kay, please don’t say that weapons of mass destruction in Iraq probably did not exist at the start of the war last March. It might cause terrible embarrassment to both your President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair. Bush and Blair might even have to appoint special commissions to look into intelligence failures in their own official information and intelligence gathering government organizations. And all because you blew the whistle, David Kay!

However, before we jump to the conclusion that David Kay is a real patriot and calls a spade a spade, let’s look into his background a little closer and ask some further questions about his possible motivation for “blowing the whistle”. In his current official biography Key is listed as a Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies with a concentration on country terrorism and homeland security issues.

Key previously worked at the Pentagon under President Reagan and served as section chief for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Administration of the UN) from 1983-1991.

After the first Iraq war in 1991, the Bush 1 administration looked for greater validation for their activities leading to the 1992 election. Kay was made chief nuclear inspector for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) on Iraq. Kay discovered all kinds of “evidence” that Iraq was a hotbed of WMD weaponry, with much of the information coming from “defectors”, many of whom were later discredited. Kay was eventually removed from his UNSCOM position for alleged “unethical behavior”. Though Bush 1 was defeated, the “information” that Key had gathered laid the stage for Gulf War II.

Kay, the Senior Fellow at Potomac and the “former UN Chief Weapons Inspector”, however, had a very interesting interim work period between those more neutral years. He was vice president of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a company with extremely close ties to the Pentagon and to the current Bush administration.

SAIC has had very good luck with the Pentagon. In March 2002 the Bush administration awarded SAIC a massive defense contract potentially worth at least $1 billion. SAIC also has a “revolving door” relationship with many of its associates coming in and out of the Pentagon. One of SAIC’s associates was Khidir Hamza, the Iraq defector who has consistently testified about WMD in his country. He was also consistently discredited. A senior SAIC associate was, of course, David Kay.

In October 2002, Kay left the SAIC to join the Potomac Institute where he was well positioned to become a more “objective” expert on nuclear weapons for the Bush administration. Kay was then engaged to find the WMD in Iraq after Gulf War II. He stated at the beginning of that mission that he was confident of finding them. Now he says they don’t exist.

So David Kay, long an employee of a major defense contractor friendly to the Pentagon says, “we were almost all wrong” about Iraq’s WMD stockpile and alleged reconstitution of a nuclear weapons program. He goes on to endorse the idea of creating a commission to examine the causes of the intelligence failures but says that the inquiry should be on the intelligence agencies (read CIA) and not on the administration and the offices that were

Created by the Pentagon to allegedly bypass the normal intelligence assessment process.

It has been reported by various sources including former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil that many in the Bush administration were looking for an excuse to attack Iraq and eliminate Saddam Hussein from the beginning of his term.

After 9/11 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld set up his own intelligence unit called the Office of Special Plans (OSP) run by Douglas Feith, third in command at the Pentagon. This organization, which appears to have been reabsorbed and renamed in the Pentagon, seems to have served a very good purpose for administration advocates calling for war with Iraq. According to many sources including Seymour Hersh writing in the New Yorker magazine, the OSP “stovepiped” or sent their own intelligence information directly to the President, often disregarding intelligence information from their traditional intelligence agencies such as the CIA. Additionally, Vice President Cheney and other Iraq war advocates allegedly traveled to CIA headquarters repeatedly to pressure the CIA for better results for advocating war with Iraq.

The US government already has investigations on 9/11 being conducted by both the Republican-controlled House and Senate Intelligence Committees. It also has a separate 9/11 commission investigating the background of the incident led by the former Republican governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean. However, the president took the advice of David Kay and established yet another commission to look into the American intelligence apparatus and its search for weapons of mass destruction. On Feb. 6, 2004, President Bush issued an executive order creating the “Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction” or CICUSRWMD or, better yet, Seek Us Our WMD.

President Bush named Republican neoconservative Judge Laurence Silberman and Former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb as cochairmen of the new commission. Silberman allegedly played a key role in the Reagan era in establishing secret contacts between the Reagan campaign in 1980 and the Islamic government in Tehran. This later became known as the “October Surprise” scenario. Robb is a conservative Democrat who has strong ties to the Democratic Leadership Council and has strong links with neoconservatives through that organization. Vice President Cheney reportedly had a hand in selecting the commission members. Of the commission’s seven members, five have already been named.

President Bush appeared to limit the mandate of the commission to studying only mistakes made by the intelligence communities in assessing the alleged Iraq weapons of mass destruction program. Bush did not ask the panel to take an unencumbered look at how his administration had presented the intelligence in making the case for the war. There is also no call to examine the role played by the Pentagon Office of Special Plans nor the office of the vice president. And the results are not to be presented until March 31, 2005 with the presidential elections to be held this November.

Editor’s Note: President Bush yesterday named Charles Vest, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1990, and Henry Rowen, a public policy and management professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as the final members of the commission investigating failures in intelligence used to justify the Iraq war. Dr. Michael Saba is the author of “The Armageddon Network” and is an international relations consultant.

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