spying on saddam
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"Spying on Saddam" chronicles the UN's dramatic, thwarted eight-year long effort to find and dismantle Saddam Hussein's secret weapons of mass destruction.

While the achievements of the UN weapons inspection mission (UNSCOM) were considerable--destroying more of Iraq's weapons than were eliminated in the Gulf War--it fell short in getting all of Hussein's deadly arsenal. And, in December 1998, Iraq expelled all UNSCOM weapons inspectors charging that UNSCOM has become a spy agency.

This FRONTLINE report traces the history of UNSCOM--from its birth at the end of the Gulf War, to its daring inspections and confrontations with the Iraqi military, to the final events leading up to the expulsion. Through interviews with the heads of UNSCOM, journalists, and policy experts on Iraq, it also tracks how politics, quarrels and turf wars involving the UN, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and Israel effectively undermined and ended UNSCOM.

The story's central figure is lead weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, the most famous renegade Marine officer since Oliver North. His high profile, aggressive inspections of secret Iraqi biological and chemical weapons sites earned him praise as an American hero. But he was controversial. FRONTLINE examines Ritter's charges that UNSCOM was infiltrated and undermined by the CIA and that Washington and the UN Security Council failed to support UNSCOM as its confrontations with Iraq escalated in the late 1990's.

These increasingly tense face-offs with armed Iraqis (documented in dramatic video footage shot by the weapons inspectors) reveal what it took for Scott Ritter and dozens of other feisty, skilled weapons inspectors to overcome Iraq's elaborate concealment strategies.

But now that UNSCOM's weapons inspectors have been expelled--what will happen? Can Saddam Hussein rebuild his stockpile of weapons of mass destruction? The experts on Iraq evaluate the many questions and challenges confronting America's future Iraq policy.

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