Full Text of Powell's Address to U.N.

ByABC News
February 5, 2003, 12:47 PM

Feb. 5 -- Below is the remainder of Powell's address to the U.N. Security Council.

POWELL: To support its deadly biological and chemical weapons programs,Iraq procures needed items from around the world using an extensiveclandestine network. What we know comes largely from interceptedcommunications and human sources who are in a position to know thefacts.

Iraq's procurement efforts include equipment that can filter andseparate micro-organisms and toxins involved in biological weapons,equipment that can be used to concentrate the agent, growth media thatcan be used to continue producing anthrax and botulinum toxin,sterilization equipment for laboratories, glass-lined reactors andspecialty pumps that can handle corrosive chemical weapons agents andprecursors, large amounts of vinyl chloride, a precursor for nerve andblister agents, and other chemicals such as sodium sulfide, animportant mustard agent precursor.

Now, of course, Iraq will argue that these items can also be usedfor legitimate purposes. But if that is true, why do we have to learnabout them by intercepting communications and risking the lives ofhuman agents? With Iraq's well documented history on biological andchemical weapons, why should any of us give Iraq the benefit of thedoubt? I don't, and I don't think you will either after you hear thisnext intercept.

Just a few weeks ago, we intercepted communicationsbetween two commanders in Iraq's Second Republican Guard Corps. Onecommander is going to be giving an instruction to the other. You willhear as this unfolds that what he wants to communicate to the otherguy, he wants to make sure the other guy hears clearly, to the pointof repeating it so that it gets written down and completelyunderstood. Listen.


Let's review a few selected items of this conversation.Two officers talking to each other on the radio want to make sure thatnothing is misunderstood:

"Remove. Remove."

The expression, the expression, "I got it."

"Nerve agents. Nerve agents. Wherever it comes up."

"Got it."

"Wherever it comes up."

"In the wireless instructions, in the instructions."

"Correction. No. In the wireless instructions."

"Wireless. I got it."

Why does he repeat it that way? Why is he so forceful in makingsure this is understood? And why did he focus on wirelessinstructions? Because the senior officer is concerned that somebodymight be listening.

Well, somebody was.

"Nerve agents. Stop talking about it. They are listening to us.Don't give any evidence that we have these horrible agents."

Well, we know that they do. And this kind of conversationconfirms it.

Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile ofbetween 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enoughagent to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.

Even the low end of 100 tons of agent would enableSaddam Hussein to cause mass casualties across more than 100 squaremiles of territory, an area nearly five times the size of Manhattan.

Let me remind you that, of the 122 millimeter chemical warheads,that the U.N. inspectors found recently, this discovery could verywell be, as has been noted, the tip of the submerged iceberg. Thequestion before us, all my friends, is when will we see the rest ofthe submerged iceberg?

Saddam Hussein has chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein has usedsuch weapons. And Saddam Hussein has no compunction about using themagain, against his neighbors and against his own people.

And we have sources who tell us that he recently has authorizedhis field commanders to use them. He wouldn't be passing out theorders if he didn't have the weapons or the intent to use them.

We also have sources who tell us that, since the 1980s, Saddam'sregime has been experimenting on human beings to perfect itsbiological or chemical weapons.

A source said that 1,600 death row prisoners were transferred in1995 to a special unit for such experiments. An eye witness sawprisoners tied down to beds, experiments conducted on them, bloodoozing around the victim's mouths and autopsies performed to confirmthe effects on the prisoners. Saddam Hussein's humanity inhumanityhas no limits.

Let me turn now to nuclear weapons. We have no indication thatSaddam Hussein has ever abandoned his nuclear weapons program.

On the contrary, we have more than a decade of proof that heremains determined to acquire nuclear weapons.

To fully appreciate the challenge that we face today, rememberthat, in 1991, the inspectors searched Iraq's primary nuclear weaponsfacilities for the first time. And they found nothing to concludethat Iraq had a nuclear weapons program.

But based on defector information in May of 1991, SaddamHussein's lie was exposed. In truth, Saddam Hussein had a massiveclandestine nuclear weapons program that covered several differenttechniques to enrich uranium, including electromagnetic isotopeseparation, gas centrifuge, and gas diffusion. We estimate that thisillicit program cost the Iraqis several billion dollars.

Nonetheless, Iraq continued to tell the IAEA that it hadno nuclear weapons program. If Saddam had not been stopped, Iraqcould have produced a nuclear bomb by 1993, years earlier than mostworse-case assessments that had been made before the war.

In 1995, as a result of another defector, we find out that, afterhis invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein had initiated a crash programto build a crude nuclear weapon in violation of Iraq's U.N.obligations.

Saddam Hussein already possesses two out of the three keycomponents needed to build a nuclear bomb. He has a cadre of nuclearscientists with the expertise, and he has a bomb design.

Since 1998, his efforts to reconstitute his nuclear program havebeen focused on acquiring the third and last component, sufficientfissile material to produce a nuclear explosion. To make the fissilematerial, he needs to develop an ability to enrich uranium.

Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb.He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts toacquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries,even after inspections resumed.

These tubes are controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Groupprecisely because they can be used as centrifuges for enrichinguranium. By now, just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and weall know that there are differences of opinion. There is controversyabout what these tubes are for.

Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors incentrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqisthemselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodiesfor a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.

Let me tell you what is not controversial about these tubes.First, all the experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possessionagree that they can be adapted for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq hadno business buying them for any purpose. They are banned for Iraq.

I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but just as an old Armytrooper, I can tell you a couple of things: First, it strikes me asquite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that farexceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets.