Kay: we were wrong about Iraq

Most of the assumptions about Iraq’s capacity to launch weapons of mass destruction were false and misinformation about the threat from Saddam Hussein was largely derived from intelligence chiefs, says David Kay, the former chief of the Iraq Survey Group.

Mr Kay resigned last week from his post as leader of the US-campaign to unearth Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, saying the search was futile.

Mr Kay said Iraqi stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons were unlikely to be found.

Iraq’s alleged lethal weaponry was the basis on which the US and her allies mounted the military campaign to oust Saddam Hussein from power.

Yesterday, he told the US Senate armed services committee: “Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.

“We were almost all wrong and that is disturbing.

“I believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has been sufficiently intense that it is highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed militarised chemical and biological weapons there.”

Mr Kay said he resigned because he had been deprived of vital equipment and resources.

“I was in the process of running battles, both with the Department of Defence and the intelligence community. They wanted to redirect resources and activities of the Iraq Survey Group to the looming political insecurity crisis that was Baghdad,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the home front, the former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir Paul Lever, said the hunt for WMD appeared increasingly ‘iffy’.

Sir Paul told Channel 4 last night: “In fairness to the intelligence community, Iraq is a big country and the fact that things haven’t yet been found doesn’t prove that they don’t exist.

But he conceded the search for WMD looked “rather iffy.”

“Most observers would have expected, had they existed, by now at least some of the longer range missiles, some chemical weapons would have been found.”