U.S., Britain Deny Newsweek Defector Report
02/24/03 - - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA on Monday denied a Newsweek magazine report that Saddam Hussein's son-in-law told the U.S. intelligence agency in 1995 that Iraq after the Gulf War destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons and missiles to deliver them.
"It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue," CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said of the Newsweek report's allegations that Hussein Kamel told the CIA that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had destroyed all of his weapons of mass destruction.
Newsweek said Kamel, who headed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs for 10 years, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stockpiles after the 1991 Gulf War.
"We've checked back and he didn't say this," a British government source told Reuters. "He said just the opposite, that the WMD program was alive and kicking."
Harlow of the CIA said: "Newsweek failed to ask us this question."
Newsweek said Kamel had hoped his revelations would trigger Saddam's overthrow, but when he realized the United States would not support his dream of becoming Iraq's ruler, he chose to return to Iraq where he was promptly killed.
The issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is extremely sensitive at the moment because the United States is building troops in the Gulf poised to invade Iraq on the premise that Saddam has not been forthcoming about his alleged biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs.
Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service.
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