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Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 23:57:45 EDT Subject: Correction and Comments Concerning Barbara Crossette's Article of 3 July To: email@example.com To the Editor, In her article of 3 July ("U.S. Monitor Now Argues Iraqis Have Little to Conceal"), Barbara Crossette incorrectly quotes from my article in the June issue of Arms Control Today. She writes, "it was possible as early as 1997 to determine that, from a quantitative standpoint, Iraq had been disarmed." This in fact should read "from a qualitative standpoint", a major difference. As a point of clarification, the "indisputable proof" that Ms. Crossette refers to regarding the existence of Iraq's concealment of proscribed material in no way contradicts my main thesis regarding the status of Iraq' disarmament. This "proof" was in the form of communications intercepts undertaken by my team which highlighted the involvement of senior Iraqi officials in seeking to conceal documents and activities of an indeterminable nature from UNSCOM inspectors. Under Security Council resolutions, concealment activities are in themselves a prohibited activity, making the March 1998 findings quite relevant and of concern. However, by and of itself such concealment does not automatically provide for a finding of retained weaponry. I have never backed away from my claims that Iraq had not lived up to its obligations as spelled out by Security Council resolution 687. It was this fact that led to my recommending to Richard Butler in August 1997 that UNSCOM form a Special Investigations Unit for the purpose of pursuing Iraqi concealment activity. During Mr. Butler's tenure, I carried out five inspections for this purpose, serving as Chief Inspector. Other inspectors under my control conducted long-term monitoring related to uncovering Iraqi concealment activities. Never once in any of my reports to Richard Butler did I, or anyone on my team, ever state as fact the existence of proscribed weapons in Iraq. All of my inspections during the time of Mr. Butler were designed to uncover aspects of Iraqi concealment, and in doing so we investigated information relating to the possibility of retained proscribed material in Iraq, as well as the existence of a mechanism of concealment. While we found evidence of the latter, my inspectors never uncovered proof of the former. As the leader of UNSCOM's efforts to uncover Iraqi concealment efforts, I aggressively pushed for the conduct of these inspections on the premise that only by exposing the scope and intent of Iraq's concealment activities could UNSCOM ever position itself to verify in an absolute manner Iraq's disarmament. However, I was pushing an agenda designed to achieve the 100% level of certainty called for by the Security Council. Such actions in no way take away from my stated position that by 1997 Iraq had been qualitatively disarmed. In the end, I defer to the comments made by my former boss (and Mr. Butler's predecessor), Rolf Ekus, during a presentation at Harvard University's Belfer Center on 23 May, 2000: "I would say that we felt that in all areas we have eliminated Iraq's capabilities fundamentally. There are some question marks left." Sincerely, Scott Ritter former UNSCOM weapons inspector 45 Dover Drive, Delmar, NY 12054 (518) 475-1177 ----------------------------------------------- FREE! The World's Best Email Address @email.com Reserve your name now at http://www.email.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi