Online Special Reports:
Jan. 31, 2003:
ambassador to the U.N. Mohammed Aldouri responds to the accusations
against his country.
Jan. 30, 2003:
Four Europeans provide
perspectives on the growing division in Europe over a possible
U.S.-led war with Iraq.
Jan. 29, 2003:
to President Bush's warning that war may be inevitable
Jan. 24, 2003:
Two senators debate whether more
time is needed for U.N. inspectors in Iraq.
Jan. 22, 2003:
Secretary of State Colin Powell discusses
the U.S. position on Iraq.
Jan. 21, 2003:
Experts discuss France's suggestion it may veto
any new U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Iraq
Sept. 30, 2002:
of State Colin Powell discusses the U.N. negotiations with
the Iraqis to readmit weapons inspectors.
Dec. 17, 2001:
U.S. Secretary of State comments on the Afghan war, and outlines
steps for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
More NewsHour coverage of the White
House, the Middle
East and United
POWELL: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished colleagues,
I would like to begin by expressing my thanks for the special effort that
each of you made to be here today. This is important day for us all as
we review the situation with respect to Iraq and its disarmament obligations
under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.
Last November 8th, this council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous
vote. The purpose of that resolution was to disarm Iraq of its weapons
of mass destruction. Iraq had already been found guilty of material breach
of its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12
years. Resolution 1441 was not dealing with an innocent party but a regime
this council has repeatedly convicted over the years. Resolution 1441
gave Iraq one last chance, one last chance, to come into compliance or
to face serious consequences. No council member present and voting on
that day had any illusions about the nature and intent of the resolution
or what "serious consequences" meant if Iraq did not comply.
And to assist its disarmament, we called on Iraq to cooperate with returning
inspectors from UNMOVIC and IAEA. We laid down tough standards for Iraq
to meet, to allow the inspectors to do their job.
This council placed the burden on Iraq to comply and disarm, and not on
the inspectors to find that which Iraq has gone out of its way to conceal
for so long. Inspectors are inspectors; they are not detectives.
I asked for this session today for two purposes. First, to support
the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei. As Dr. Blix
reported to this council on January 27th, quote, "Iraq appears
not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament
which was demanded of it," unquote. And as Dr. ElBaradei reported,
Iraq's declaration of December 7th, quote, "did not provide any
new information relevant to certain questions that have been outstanding
My second purpose today is to provide you with additional information,
to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction as well as Iraq's involvement in terrorism, which
is also the subject of Resolution 1441 and other
I might add at this point that we are providing all relevant information
we can to the inspection teams for them to do their work.
The material I will present to you comes from a variety of sources.
Some are U.S. sources and some are those of other countries. Some of
the sources are technical, such as intercepted telephone conversations
and photos taken by satellites. Other sources are people who have risked
their lives to let the world know what Saddam Hussein is really up to.
I cannot tell you everything that we know, but what I can share with
you, when combined with what all of us have learned over the years,
is deeply troubling. What you will see is an accumulation of facts and
disturbing patterns of behavior. The facts on Iraqis'behavior -- Iraq's
behavior demonstrate that Saddam Hussein and his regime have made no
effort -- no effort -- to disarm as required by the international community.
Indeed, the facts on Iraq's behavior show that Saddam Hussein and his
regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass
Let me begin by playing a tape for you.
What you're about to hear is a conversation that my government monitored.
It takes place on November 26th of last year, on the day before United
Nations teams resumed inspections in Iraq. The conversation involves
two senior officers, a colonel and a brigadier general, from Iraq's
elite military unit, the Republican Guard.
(Audiotape is played.)
Let me pause and review some of the key elements of this conversation
that you've just heard between these two officers.
First, they acknowledge that our colleague Mohamed ElBaradei is coming,
and they know what he's coming, and they know he's coming the next day.
He's coming to look for things that are prohibited. He is expecting
these gentlemen to cooperate with thim and not hide things.
But they're worried. "We have this modified vehicle. What do we
say if one of them sees it?" What is their concern? Their concern
is that it's something they should not have, something that should not
The general is incredulous. "You didn't get a modified. You don't
have one of those, do you?"
"I have one."
"Which? From where?"
"From the workshop, from the Al-Kindi Company."
"I'll come to see you in the morning. I'm worried you all have
"We evacuated everything. We don't have anything left."
Note what he says: "We evacuated everything." We didn't destroy
it. We didn't line it up for inspection. We didn't turn it in to the
inspectors. We evacuated it, to make sure it was not around when the
inspectors showed up.
"I will come to you tomorrow."
The Al-Kindi Company. This is a company that is well-known to have
been involved in prohibited weapons system activity.
We know that Saddam Hussein has what is called, quote, "a higher
committee for monitoring the inspection teams," unquote. Think
about that. Iraq has a high-level committee to monitor the inspectors
who were sent in to monitor Iraq's disarmament; not to cooperate with
them, not to assist them, but to spy on them and to keep them from
doing their jobs.
The committee reports directly to Saddam Hussein. It is headed by Iraq's
vice president, Taha Yasin Ramadan. Its members include Saddam Hussein's
This committee also includes Lieutenant General Amir al-Saadi, an adviser
to Saddam. In case that name isn't immediately familiar to you, General
Saadi has been the Iraqi regime's primary point of contact for Dr. Blix
and Dr. ElBaradei. It was General Saadi who,last fall, publicly pledged
that Iraq was prepared to cooperate unconditionally with inspectors.
Quite the contrary: Saadi's job is not to cooperate, it is to deceive;
not to disarm, but to undermine the inspectors; not to support them,
but to frustrate them and to make sure they learn nothing.
We have learned a lot about the work of this special committee. We learned
that just prior to the return of inspectors last November, the regime
had decided to resume what we heard called, quote, "the old game
of cat and mouse," unquote.
For example, let me focus on the now-famous declaration that Iraq submitted
to this council on December 7th. Iraq never had any intention of complying
with this council's mandate. Instead, Iraq planned to use the declaration
to overwhelm us and to overwhelm the inspectors with useless information
about Iraq's permitted weapons so that we would not have time to pursue
Iraq's prohibited weapons.
Iraq's goal was to give us in this room, to give those of us on this
council the false impression that the inspection process was working.
You saw the result. Dr. Blix pronounced the 12,200-page declaration
rich in volume but poor in information, and practically devoid of new
evidence. Could any member of this council honestly rise in defense
of this false declaration?
Everything we have seen and heard indicates that instead of cooperating
actively with the inspectors to ensure the success of their mission,
Saddam Hussein and his regime are busy doing all they possibly can to
ensure that inspectors succeed in finding absolutely nothing.
My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources,
solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts
and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples,
and these are from human sources.
Orders were issued to Iraq's security organizations as well as to Saddam
Hussein's own office to hide all correspondence with the Organization
of Military Industrialization. This is the organization that oversees
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction activities. Make sure there are no
documents left which would connect you to the OMI.
We noted Saddam's son, Qusay, ordered the removal of all prohibited
weapons from Saddam's numerous palace complexes. We know that Iraqi
government officials, members of the ruling Ba'ath party and scientists
have hidden prohibited items in their homes. Other key files from military
and scientific establishments have been placed in cars that are being
driven around the countryside by Iraqi intelligence agents to avoid
Thanks to intelligence they were provided, the inspectors recently found
dramatic confirmation of these reports. When they searched the home
of an Iraqi nuclear scientist, they uncovered roughly 2,000 pages of
documents. You see them here being brought out of the home and placed
in U.N. hands. Some of the material is classified and related to Iraq's
Tell me, answer me. Are the inspectors to search the house of every
government official, every Ba'ath party member, and every scientist
in the country to find the truth, to get the information they need to
satisfy the demands of our council?
Our sources tell us that in some cases, the hard drives of computers
at Iraqi weapons facilities were replaced. Who took the hard drives?
Where did they go? What's being hidden? Why? There's only one answer
to the why -- to deceive; to hide; to keep from the inspectors.
Numerous human sources tell us that the Iraqis are moving not just documents
and hard drives, but weapons of mass destruction to keep them from being
found by inspectors. While we were here in this council chamber debating
Resolution 1441 last fall, we know -- we know from sources that a missile
brigade outside Baghdad was disbursing rocket-launchers and warheads
containing biological warfare agent to various locations, distributing
them to various locations in Western Iraq.
Most of the launchers and warheads had been hidden in large groves of
palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to escape detection.
We also have satellite photos that indicate that banned materials have
recently been moved from a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The
photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average
person to interpret -- hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis
takes experts with years and years of experience, pouring for hours
and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will
try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate to our
Let's look at one. This one is about a weapons munition facility, a
facility that holds ammunition at a place called Taji. This is one of
about 65 such facilities in Iraq. We know that this one has housed chemical
munitions. In fact, this is where the Iraqis recently came up with the
additional four chemical weapon shells.
Here, you see 15 munitions bunkers in yellow and red outlines. The four
that are in red squares represent active chemical munitions bunkers.
How do I know that? How can I say that? Let me give you a closer look.
Look at the image on the left. On the left is a close-up of one of the
four chemical bunkers. The two arrows indicate the presence of sure
signs that the bunkers are storing chemical munitions. The arrow at
the top that says, "Security," points to a facility that is
a signature item for this kind of bunker. Inside that facility are special
guards and special equipment to monitor any leakage that might come
out of the bunker. The truck you also see is a signature item; it's
a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong. This is characteristic
of those four bunkers. The special security facility and the decontamination
vehicle will be in the area; if not at any one of them or one of the
other, it is moving around those four, and it moves as it is needed
to move as people are working in the different bunkers.
Now look at the picture on the right. You are now looking at two of
those sanitized bunkers. The signature vehicles are gone. The tents
are gone. It's been cleaned up. And it was done on the 22nd of December,
as the U.N. inspection team is arriving. And you can see the inspection
vehicles arriving in the lower portion of the picture
on the right. The bunkers are clean when the inspectors get there.
They found nothing.
This sequence of events raises the worrisome suspicion that Iraq had
been tipped off to the forthcoming inspections at Taji. As it did throughout
the 1990s, we know that Iraq today is actively using its considerable
intelligence capabilities to hide its illicit activities.
From our sources, we know that inspectors are under constant surveillance
by an army of Iraqi intelligence operatives. Iraq is relentlessly attempting
to tap all of their communications, both voice and electronics. I would
call my colleagues' attention to the fine paper that the United Kingdom
distributed yesterday, which describes
in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.
In this next example, you will see the type of concealment activity
Iraq has undertaken in response to the resumption of inspections. Indeed,
in November 2002, just when the inspections were about to resume, this
type of activity spiked. Here are three examples.
At this ballistic missile site, on November 10th, we saw a cargo truck
preparing to move ballistic missile components.
At this biological weapons-related facility, on November 25th,just
two days before inspections resumed, this truck caravan appeared, something
we almost never see at this facility, and we monitor it carefully and
At this ballistic missile facility, again, two days before inspections
began, five large cargo trucks appeared, along with a truck-mounted
crane to move missiles.
We saw this kind of housecleaning at close to 30 sites. Days after this
activity, the vehicles and the equipment that I have just highlighted
disappear, and the site returns to patterns of normalcy.
We don't know precisely what Iraq was moving, but the inspectors already
knew about these sites, so Iraq knew that they would be coming.
We must ask ourselves: Why would Iraq suddenly move equipment of this
nature before inspections if they were anxious to demonstrate what they
had or did not have?
Remember the first intercept, in which two Iraqis talked about the need
to hide a modified vehicle from the inspectors. Where did Iraq take
all of this equipment? Why wasn't it presented to the inspectors?
Iraq also has refused to permit any U-2 reconnaissance flights that
would give the inspectors a better sense of what's being moved before,
during and after inspections. This refusal to allow this kind of reconnaissance
is in direct, specific violation of Operative Paragraph 7 of our Resolution
Saddam Hussein and his regime are not just trying to conceal weapons,
they're also trying to hide people. You know the basic facts. Iraq has
not complied with its obligation to allow immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted
and private access to all officials and other persons, as required by
Resolution 1441. The regime only allows interviews with inspectors in
the presence of an Iraqi official, a minder. The official Iraqi organization
charged with facilitating inspections announced -- announced publicly
and announced ominously that, quote, "nobody is ready to leave
Iraq to be interviewed."
Iraqi Vice President Ramadan accused the inspectors of conducting espionage
-- a veiled threat that anyone cooperating with U.N. inspectors was
Iraq did not meet its obligations under 1441 to provide a comprehensive
list of cientists associated with its weapons of mass destruction programs.
Iraq's list was out of date and contained only about 500 names, despite
the fact that UNSCOM had earlier put together a list of about 3,500
Let me just tell you what a number of human sources have told us. Saddam
Hussein has directly participated in the effort to prevent interviews.
In early December, Saddam Hussein had all Iraqi scientists warned of
the serious consequences that they and their families would face if
they revealed any sensitive information to the inspectors. They were
forced to sign documents acknowledging that divulging information is
punishable by death.
Saddam Hussein also said that scientists should be told not to agree
to leave Iraq;anyone who agreed to be interviewed outside Iraq would
be treated as a spy. This violates 1441.
In mid-November, just before the inspectors returned, Iraqi experts
were ordered to report to the headquarters of the special security organization
to receive ounterintelligence training. The training focused on evasion
methods, interrogation resistance techniques, and how to mislead inspectors.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions, these are facts, corroborated
by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of
For example, in mid-December, weapons experts at one facility were replaced
by Iraqi ntelligence agents who were to deceive inspectors about the
work that was being done there.
On orders from Saddam Hussein, Iraqi officials issued a false death
certificate for one scientist, and he was sent into hiding.
In the middle of January, experts at one facility that was related to
weapons of mass destruction, those experts had been ordered to stay
home from work to avoid the inspectors. Workers from other Iraqi military
facilities not engaged in illicit weapons projects were to replace the
workers who had been sent home.
A dozen experts have been placed under house arrest, not in their own
houses, but as a group at one of Saddam Hussein's guest houses.
It goes on and on and on.
As the examples I have just presented show, the information and intelligence
we have gathered point to an active and systematic effort on the part
of the Iraqi regime to keep key materials and people from the inspectors,
in direct violation of Resolution 1441. The pattern is not just one
of reluctant cooperation, nor is it merely a lack of cooperation. What
we see is a deliberate campaign to prevent any meaningful inspection
My colleagues, operative paragraph 4 of U.N. Resolution 1441, which
we lingered over so long last fall, clearly states that false statements
and omissions in the declaration and a failure by Iraq at any time to
comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution
shall constitute -- the facts speak for themselves -- shall constitute
a further material breach of its obligation.
We wrote it this way to give Iraq an early test, to give Iraq an early
test -- would they give an honest declaration, and would they early
on indicate a willingness to ooperate with the inspectors? It was designed
to be an early test. They failed that test.
By this standard, the standard of this operative paragraph, I believe
that Iraq is now in further material breach of its obligations. I believe
this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable.
Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences called
for in U.N. Resolution 1441. And this body places itself in danger of
irrelevance if it allows Iraq to continue to defy its will without responding
effectively and immediately.
The issue before us is not how much time we are willing to give the
inspectors to be frustrated by Iraqi obstruction, but how much longer
are we willing to put up with Iraq's noncompliance before we as a council,
we as the United Nations, say: Enough. Enough.
Part II: Sec. Powell outlines threats
posed by Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear programs.