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Transcript: Excerpts from Producer Kathleen Hughes' interview with David Albright

David Albright is a physicist, is President of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington DC. in his position as a former Iraqi weapons inspector and director of ISIS, he was a source for many in the media during the run up to Iraq, including Joby Warrick "Evidence on Iraq Challenged; Experts Question if Tubes Were Meant for Weapons Program," THE WASHINGTON POST, September 19, 2002 and Bob Simon at CBS's 60 MINUTES.Read excerpts from his interview with "Buying the War" producer Kathleen Hughes.

DAVID ALBRIGHT: I wanted inspections back in Iraq. I mean that was one of the ISIS goals once the inspectors left in '98 we worked to try to get resolutions in the security council worked to try to get inspectors back in. We felt that was the most stable situation. That it always worried that without inspectors in there it was just very dangerous situation for you know we were in a sense we, you know we had no idea bush was so determined to go to war.

I think we were a little naive in September/ October of '02. Well I should say August/ September/ October of '02. We took him at sort of ...we believed him that if inspectors could go in there, show, clarify the situation that there wouldn't be a war. I mean we didn't realize that more or less the decision to go to war had already been made and this was just a way to gather political support.

...In term the question, Was the media well informed? I mean some were. Some were not.

If the administration said something that was always weighted more. And it was hard to come up with evidence that could really debunk. But in September and October and looking back the administration was well prepared.

They were leaking to the media — giving them all kinds of inside information and people like myself who felt that that information was misleading. I don't think we were prepared to launch a media campaign to try to debunk it. And I think the critics in the intelligence community weren't prepared either. I think they were caught by surprise. And there the media was just I mean easy pickings.


DAVID ALBRIGHT: I can remember endless you know frustrating episodes on you know whether its CNN or Fox where the anchor or whoever was interviewing would say you know the UN says Iraq has chemical and biological weapons. I'd say, "No they don't." They say that there's inconsistencies. There's material unaccounted for. They don't say it all that they're-- they have evidence that they-- that Iraq has stocks of chemical and biological weapons."

And it would be as if you were talking to a wall.

one time I was on Lou Dobbs and it was his theme was you know the French were at fault. And that they'd made a compromise impossible. I said, "No. The US had also made it impossible." -- you know the US was at fault too and-- and it was really not appreciated. It was just a bang the French night is sort of how I look back at it.

I mean, there were other things in the show of course. But that it was what I was saying was very inconvenient. That the idea was, "Yeah the US had tried to get a compromise but the French blocked it." And so you know US was fine and time to go to war.

It wasn't just Lou Dobbs it was on many shows. This idea that the inspectors said there were chemical and biological weapons. I mean-- but in fact what the inspectors had said was there are discrepancies in the Iraqi declaration. There's material unaccounted for.

It can be, you know - the ingredients that would go into chemical weapons and there were other discrepancies. After the '91 war-- Iraq declared it had about 100,000 chemical shells and it said, "Well some were lost." I mean it was a war after all. And we don't know where they all are.

And so well if Iraq said they were lost then these news people would say, "Well then they must exist and they're being hidden." And- I would constantly feel that you couldn't break through to the media, particular members of the media and say, "Look let's just report what's accurate." It may mean there's chemical weapons hidden but it may mean they're not. It doesn't prove that there are.

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