By DOUGLAS JEHL
The report, by Charles A. Duelfer, said the last Iraqi factory capable of producing militarily significant quantities of unconventional weapons was destroyed in 1996. The findings amounted to the starkest portrayal yet of a vast gap between the Bush administration's prewar assertions about Iraqi weapons and what a 15-month postinvasion inquiry by American investigators concluded were the facts on the ground.
At the time of the American
invasion, Mr. Duelfer concluded,
The White House portrayed the war
as a bid to disarm
"Saddam Hussein ended the
nuclear program in 1991 following the gulf war," Mr. Duelfer
said in his report, which added that American inspectors in
Hours before Mr. Duelfer's report was made public, President Bush appeared to try to deflate some the political impact of its core findings.
"After Sept. 11,
"We had to take a hard look at every place where terrorists might get those weapons, and one regime stood out," Mr. Bush said. "The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."
Mr. Duelfer presented his conclusions to Congress beginning with testimony at a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee. But his findings were described to reporters in advance of the testimony, although only on condition that they not be published until his afternoon appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, when the report was made public.
The three-volume report, totaling more than 900 pages, is viewed as the first authoritative attempt to unravel the mystery posed by Iraq during the crucial years between the end of the Persian Gulf war in 1991 and the American-led war that began in 2003. It adds new weight to what is already a widely accepted view that the most fundamental prewar assertions made by American intelligence agencies about Iraq — that it possessed chemical and biological weapons, and was reconstituting its nuclear program — bore no resemblance to the truth.
concluded that Mr. Hussein had made fundamental decisions, beginning in 1991,
to get rid of
Mr. Hussein "wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted," the report said. But the conclusion that Mr. Hussein had intended to restart his programs, the report acknowledged, was based more on inference than solid evidence. "The regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of W.M.D. after sanctions," it said, using the common abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction.
The report was based in part on
the interrogation of Mr. Hussein in his prison cell outside of
report said that American investigators had found clandestine laboratories in
said in his report that Mr. Hussein never disclosed in the course of the
interrogations what had become of
The report said that interviews
with other former top Iraqi leaders had made clear that Mr. Hussein had left
many of his top deputies uncertain until the eve of war about whether
said in the report that
But the report said there were "no indications" that Iraq had been pursuing such a course, and it reported "a complete absence of discussion or even interest in biological weapons" at the level of Mr. Hussein and his aides after the mid-1990's.
The report will almost certainly
be the last complete assessment by the team led by Mr. Duelfer,
which is known as the Iraq Survey Group. But Mr. Duelfer
said that he and the 1,200-member team would continue their work in
The report did reverse an earlier
judgment by the Central Intelligence Agency, saying the Mr. Duelfer's
team had concluded that mysterious trailers found in