WEAPONS INSPECTORS CALL U.S. TIPS GARBAGE
Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'
CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports the U.N. has been taking a precise
inventory of Iraq's al-Samoud 2 missile arsenal, determining how many there are and
where they are.
Discovering that the al-Samoud 2 has been flying too far in tests has been one of the
inspectors' major successes. But the missile has only been exceeding its 93-mile limit by
about 15 miles and that, the Iraqis say, is because it isn't yet loaded down with its
guidance system. The al-Samoud 2 is not the 800-mile-plus range missile that Secretary
of State Colin Powell insists Iraq is developing.
In fact, the U.S. claim that Iraq is developing missiles that could hit its neighbors – or
U.S. troops in the region, or even Israel – is just one of the claims coming from
Washington that inspectors here are finding increasingly unbelievable. The inspectors
have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous U.S. leads that
they've begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.
U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after
Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear
sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing."
Example: Saddam's presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific
coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they
Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has
imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given
the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight."
The inspectors do acknowledge, however, that they would not be here at all if not for the
threat of U.S. military action.
So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S.
intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact, Phillips
says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find themselves caught between
the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States,
whose intelligence they've found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/21/iraq/main541427.shtml