U.S. acknowledges intelligence on transfer of Iraqi WMD

Special to World
Wednesday, September 17, 2003

U.S. intelligence agencies are weighing numerous reports that Iraq diverted weapons of mass destruction to Syria and Lebanon to hide them from United Nations weapons inspectors and American forces in Iraq.

In testimony Sept. 16, John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, referred to reports that Iraqi WMD had been transferred to Syria. "We have seen these reports, reviewed them carefully, and see them as cause for concern," he said.

"Thus far we have been unable to confirm that such transfers occurred," he said in congressional testimony. "We are continuing with the full breadth of resources at our command to seek conclusive evidence that any such transfer has taken place."

Bolton's testimony before a House International Relations subcommittee was reported in the Sept. 17 edition of The Washington Times.

Bolton also discussed North Korean assistance to Syria's development of medium-range missiles.

"Damascus is pursuing both solid- and liquid-propellant missile programs and relies extensively on foreign assistance in these endeavors," he said.

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Mr. Bolton told the subcommittee that his testimony had been approved by the U.S. intelligence and policy communities, The Times report said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged there had been "snippets of information over time" about weapons transfers from Iraq to Syria.

"We know they buried MiG airplanes," Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters. "We know they buried a lot of things. And we know in the prior war they flew their planes into Iran, for example. I do not have hard evidence that I could say that they have done that."

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