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