HomeNewsDavid Kay, weapons inspector who helped disprove Iraqi WMDs, dies at 82

David Kay, weapons inspector who helped disprove Iraqi WMDs, dies at 82


David A. Kay, the weapons proliferation knowledgeable who led a CIA-run operation in 2003 that concluded former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein had constructed no weapons of mass destruction, sharply undermining the chief justification for the U.S.-led invasion earlier that 12 months, died Aug. 13 at his dwelling in Ocean View, Del. He was 82.

The trigger was most cancers, mentioned his spouse, Anita Kay.

Dr. Kay, a reserved Texan with a world affairs doctorate, had an early profession educating political science earlier than becoming a member of organizations equivalent to UNESCO in Paris and the Worldwide Atomic Power Company in Vienna. In 1991, he grew to become a family identify whereas serving in Iraq as chief nuclear weapons inspector for the United Nations and the IAEA after america and its allies had liberated Kuwait from Hussein’s forces.

The mission of all of the U.N. groups was to look out and destroy any banned nuclear, organic or chemical weapons or supplies. In September 1991, utilizing powers granted underneath a U.N. decision, Dr. Kay’s nuclear crew launched an unannounced inspection of a navy facility in Baghdad to search for incriminating paperwork about Hussein’s clandestine efforts to develop nuclear arms.

As a result of it was near his crew’s resort, Dr. Kay had already surveilled the constructing by operating previous it on his morning jog to see the place safety was tightest. In the course of the inspection, his 44-person group was detained after making an attempt to take away paperwork and videotapes they thought of important and endured a four-day standoff adopted by media world wide.

Utilizing a comparatively newfangled satellite tv for pc telephone, Dr. Kay answered calls from information companies, notably CNN, whereas surrounded by Iraqi guards. He and his crew slept of their automobiles — a bus and several other automobiles. As strain from the U.N. Safety Council and the world grew, the Iraqis allow them to depart with the paperwork and tapes.

“The chemical program was large,” he later instructed journalists with the PBS collection “Frontline,” summing up all of the U.N. groups’ findings after the 1991 battle. “The precise storage space of their most important chemical weapons dump was bigger than the District of Columbia. … Within the nuke space, whereas earlier than the battle there have been two services recognized … as an alternative we found 25 most important websites that we had had no data of, and that they, at that time, had been in all probability six to 18 months away from having their first working nuclear gadget. It wouldn’t have been a fairly gadget, and it wouldn’t have launched on a missile, however it could have been a working gadget, after which rolling progressively ahead on that space.

“Lastly, when the organic program was totally uncovered within the mid-90s,” he added, “we found that not a single website that had been hit within the air marketing campaign of the primary Gulf Struggle had really had an energetic organic program. That they had moved all of them to websites that we didn’t find out about, efficiently hid them. Actually, that they had a really massive anthrax program, botulinum toxin program, ricin, and a fairly completed organic program.”

The U.N. groups destroyed Iraq’s illicit weapons and packages within the Nineties, however after the inspectors had been compelled out in 1998, the CIA fearful Hussein was secretly rebuilding his WMD. After the al-Qaeda terrorist assaults on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush White Home portrayed these suspicions as irrefutable proof of a direct Iraqi menace to America and its allies.

When the March 2003 invasion shortly toppled Hussein’s regime, a Pentagon crew fanned out throughout Iraq however failed to search out any signal of the weapons of mass destruction. That summer time, George W. Bush put the CIA answerable for the hunt, and then-CIA Director George Tenet picked Dr. Kay to steer the newly named Iraq Survey Group.

Though he went to Iraq satisfied that websites suspected of housing weapons of mass destruction could be discovered, he quickly concluded that none existed and that the CIA and different intelligence companies had badly misjudged the obtainable proof. Annoyed by the CIA’s refusal to agree, Dr. Kay resigned from the weapons-hunting group in January 2004. Days later, he gave explosive testimony to the Senate Armed Companies Committee.

“We had been virtually all incorrect, and I definitely embrace myself right here,” he instructed the panel. “It seems we had been all incorrect, in all probability in my judgment, and that’s most annoying.”

Quickly after, Bush known as him into the White Home. Although Iraq had no WMD, Dr. Kay instructed the president he believed that the invasion was the correct factor to do due to the struggling of the Iraqi folks underneath Hussein.

Bush thanked him for his work, however Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Protection Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld continued to minimize Dr. Kay’s conclusions, suggesting Hussein might have smuggled some illicit weapons in a foreign country and will have at the least been planning a WMD program.

Dr. Kay discovered himself a veritable outcast for publicly saying the CIA was incorrect. He was handled “coldly,” he mentioned, when he returned to CIA headquarters.

“One a part of it, it’s virtually comical to me,” he instructed “Frontline.” “Actually, I laughed on the time as a result of it was a lot like a poor spy novel. I used to be given an workplace that didn’t have a working phone, that was surrounded by packing instances, on the depths of Langley, with a secretary that often wasn’t there. You’d need to have been fairly dumb to not have caught the alerts of it. However not even to have a safe telephone within the workplace the place you possibly can’t discuss to anybody, nor a pc the place you possibly can e-mail — I understood it.”

Bush, nevertheless, felt obliged to reply to Dr. Kay’s bombshell and instantly arrange a bipartisan presidential fee led by Reagan-appointed federal choose Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.) that in March 2005 confirmed the prewar intelligence fiasco.

“The Intelligence Neighborhood’s efficiency in assessing Iraq’s pre-war weapons of mass destruction packages was a serious intelligence failure,” the fee concluded. “The failure was not merely that the Intelligence Neighborhood’s assessments had been incorrect. There have been additionally severe shortcomings in the way in which these assessments had been made and communicated to policymakers.”

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, too, dealing with fury from those that opposed the Iraq invasion that he had supported, was compelled in February 2004 to announce an inquiry, often called the Butler Overview after its chairman Lord Robin Butler, which took till that July to situation a report that concluded that the intelligence used to justify the invasion was “unreliable” and over-reliant on dissident Iraqi sources.

One of many key sources for the false intelligence was an Iraqi defector to Germany who was code-named Curveball. The CIA didn’t interview him till a 12 months after the invasion, however his bogus account of Iraq’s organic weapons grew to become a linchpin of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s deal with to the U.N. Safety Council in February 2003, which set the stage for battle.

In his 2007 guide, “Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Induced a Struggle,” journalist Bob Drogin wrote that Dr. Kay spent months looking for proof for Curveball’s account and was distraught when he lastly concluded it was a fraud.

“I all the time noticed David as a heroic however tragic determine,” Drogin wrote to The Washington Publish in an electronic mail. “He publicly admitted that every one the consultants, together with himself, had been incorrect on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. The CIA and the Bush White Home couldn’t forgive him for that. He grew to become an outcast for talking reality to energy.”

David Allen Kay, whose father was an actual property dealer, was born in Houston on June 8, 1940. He graduated with a bachelor’s of enterprise administration diploma from the College of Texas at Austin in 1962 and went on to Columbia College’s Faculty of Worldwide and Public Affairs, the place he obtained a grasp’s in diploma in 1964 and a doctorate in 1967.

Early in his profession, he was an assistant professor of political science on the College of Wisconsin at Madison, throughout which he additionally served as an adviser in worldwide organizational affairs to the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

He was senior evaluator of packages on the U.N. Instructional, Scientific and Cultural Group in Paris from 1974 to 1983 earlier than working as a monitor of growing nuclear power applied sciences on the Worldwide Atomic Power Company. After serving in 1991 and 1992 as U.N. chief weapons inspector, he spent 9 years as a vice chairman of Science Purposes Worldwide. He later was a senior fellow on the Potomac Institute for Coverage Research, a non-public analysis group in Arlington, Va., taught at a number of universities and was a commentator specializing in arms management.

His first marriage, to Jane Agnew, led to divorce. In 1978, he married Anita Corridor. Along with his spouse, survivors embrace a daughter from his first marriage, Karen Simmons of Moneta, Va.; and two grandchildren.

On retirement to Ocean View, Mr. Kay indulged an curiosity in images. “He particularly loved photographing surfers on the Indian River Inlet, sunrises at Bethany Seashore, additionally visiting Charleston, S.C, and New Orleans to take footage,” Anita Kay mentioned. “He had a depraved dry humor and was simply as comfy laughing over a drink and chatting about images as he was conferring with world leaders about democracy.”


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