WASHINGTON — The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Iraq and Syria discussed
WMD cooperation, including the transfer of WMD out of Iraq, but that "firm conclusions on actual WMD movements" may
never be known.
A U.S. intelligence report called for further investigation, and did not rule out
unofficial efforts to move Iraqi WMD assets into Syria.
The Iraq Survey Group stated, in a report sponsored by the CIA, that it "was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out
the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war."
The report marked the official end of a two-year weapons hunt led most recently by former U.N. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer and was published on the Government Printing Office's Web site ( http://www.gpo.gov ). It concluded that the ISG had failed to confirm reports that Syria received "official" WMD shipments from Iraq in
late 2002 and early 2003, Middle East Newsline reported.
In 2003, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency reported the
arrival of numerous convoys in Syria from the Iraqi border prior and during
the U.S. invasion. Agency director James Clapper, acting on what he termed
an "educated hunch," said he was confident that the Iraqi convoys contained
The ISG appeared to echo Clapper's assessment and detailed the extensive
military cooperation between Baghdad and Damascus. The report, in which
several pages were deleted, said it did not obtain material evidence of an
Iraqi WMD transfer to Syria, but refused to reject such a possibility.
"ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out
the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war," the report,
completed in March 2005, added. "It should be noted that no information from
debriefing of Iraqis in custody supports this possibility."
"Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was
unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took
place," an addendum to a September 2004 report, released on Monday, said.
"However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited
The report said the Sunni insurgency in Iraq limited and eventually
halted the investigation of whether Iraq moved WMD assets to Syria. ISG said
the results of the probe "remain inconclusive, but further investigation may
be undertaken when circumstances on the ground improve."
Still, ISG asserted that the Saddam regime sought to transfer WMD
assets to Syria, which served as the leading way-station for the transfer of
illegal weapons from Europe to Iraq. The report said Syria initiated efforts
to obtain the Iraqi WMD.
The report said the group spent several months examining documents, interviewing
former Iraqi officials, reviewing intelligence reports and inspecting sites.
"There was evidence of a discussion of possible WMD collaboration
initiated by a Syrian security officer, and ISG received information about
movement of material out of Iraq, including the possibility that WMD was
involved," the report, entitled "Comprehensive Report: Addendums to the of
the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq's WMD," said. "In the judgment of the
working group, these reports were sufficiently credible to merit further
The U.S. intelligence team found no Iraqi senior policy, program, or
intelligence officials who admitted any direct knowledge of the movement of
Iraqi WMD into Syria.
ISG said the issue might never be resolved.
"It is worth noting that even if ISG had been able to fully examine all
the leads it possessed, it is unlikely that conclusive information would
have been found," the report said.
"At best, barring discovery of original
documentary evidence of the transfer, reports or sources may have been
substantiated or negated, but firm conclusions on actual WMD movements may
not be possible."