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Iraq Moving Chemical Weapons Equipment Into Secure Bunkers

By John J. Lumpkin Associated Press Writer Published: Oct 22, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) - Iraq is moving some of its chemical weapons industry to underground bunkers, a U.S. government source said Monday. Moving it into specially built bunkers could make it harder to find and destroy, but the United States has designed bombs and other weapons specifically to blow up concealed, bunkered weapons of mass destruction.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, could not say how the bunker project was detected or provide other details immediately.

Some Bush administration officials, notably Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, have called for strikes on Iraq, but others want the war on terrorism to focus solely on Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida and Afghanistan.

Without mentioning Iraq by name, Wolfowitz told the national convention of the American Jewish Congress on Monday that "the battle fronts will be global."

"We are not going to just pick off individual terrorist snakes - we intend to drain the entire swamp," he said.

U.S. intelligence has not obtained credible evidence linking Iraq to either the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center or the ongoing anthrax scare.

"We have no illusions about Saddam Hussein and his record of threats and assaults upon his own people, as well as neighboring countries, is very well known, as are his attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction," State Department spokesman Phil Reeker said Monday.

"We don't put anything past (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein, but I don't believe that there's any clear linkage (to the anthrax attack) at this point."

Iraq has rebuilt some of its capacity to make chemical weapons since the Persian Gulf War, and has the scientific expertise to produce such weapons on short notice, according to a Pentagon report released in January.

Saddam has long tried to hide his weapons production capacity. He had previously stockpiled mustard, tabun, sarin and VX chemical agents, says the report, "Proliferation: Threat and Response."

Information on Iraq's weapons program has been sketchy since it expelled U.N. weapons inspectors in 1998. The country has also retained the scientific and engineering expertise for its weapons programs.

The Iraqi military has used chemical weapons against Iran and Kurds in northern Iraq. A document found by U.N. inspectors but seized by Iraqi officials suggested Saddam may have hidden an additional 6,000 weapons after the Gulf War.

In addition, Iraq acknowledged in 1995 that it had produced 7,800 gallons of biological agents, including anthrax, botulism toxins and aflatoxins. However, U.N. weapons inspectors said Iraq likely had produced three to four times more.

Iraq also said it had deployed munitions filled with biological agents to airfields to be used against Israel and coalition forces in Saudi Arabia, the report says. It claimed all these weapons had been destroyed.

To attack with these chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has short-range ballistic missile warheads and aerial bombs. It has been working on a pilotless drone, as well.

Saddam's government has said it disarmed, and it closed the country to U.N. weapons inspectors in late 1998. The United States responded with several days of airstrikes.

AP-ES-10-22-01 2153EDT

-- Martin Thompson (, October 23, 2001


I don't doubt for a minute that Iraq is behind all of this.

-- LillyLP (, October 23, 2001.

Does anybody know how deep our 5,000 lb. bunker busting bombs will penetrate?

-- QMan (, October 23, 2001.

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