Saturday, June 04, 2005

White House Downplays Missing Arms

“The White House on Friday played down a report in which U.N. weapons inspectors documented additional materials missing from weapons sites in Iraq.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Bush administration had taken steps to ensure sites were secured, and he suggested it was doubtful the looted material was being used to boost other countries' weapons programs.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council, acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said that satellite imagery experts had determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles had been removed from 109 sites, up from 90 reported in March.

The sites have been emptied of equipment to varying degrees, with the largest percentage of missing items at 58 missile facilities.

For example, 289 of the 340 pieces of equipment to produce missiles -- or about 85 percent, had been removed, the report said.

Biological sites were the least damaged, according to the analysts at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission.

Perricos said he's reached no conclusions about who removed the items or where they went. He said it could have been moved elsewhere in Iraq, sold as scrap, melted down or purchased.”
con·cept: White House Downplays Missing Arms