Thursday, October 28, 2004


Aaron Brown interviewed former head US weapons inspector David Kay this evening on "News Night." The missing explosives issues is settled.

AARON BROWN: I don't know how better to do this than to show you some pictures, have you explain to me what they are or are not, OK? First, I'll just call it the seal and tell me if this is an IAEA seal on that bunker at that munitions dump.

DAVID KAY: Aaron, as about as certain as I can be looking at a picture, not physically holding it, which obviously I would have preferred to have been there, that's an IAEA seal. I've never seen anything else in Iraq in about 15 years of being in Iraq and around Iraq that was other than an IAEA seal of that shape.

BROWN: And was there anything else at the facility that would have been under IAEA seal?

KAY: Absolutely nothing. It was he HMX, RDX, the two high explosives.

BROWN: OK. Now, I want to take a look at the barrels here for a second and you can tell me what they tell you. They obviously to us just show us a bunch of barrels. You'll see it somewhat differently.

KAY: Well, it's interesting. There were three foreign suppliers to Iraq of this explosive in the 1980s. One of them used barrels like this and inside the barrel is a bag. HMX is in powdered form because you actually use it to shape a spherical lens that is used to create the triggering device for nuclear weapons.And, particularly on the videotape, which is actually better than the still photos, as the soldier dips into it that's either HMX or RDX. I don't know of anything else in al Qa Qaa that was in that form.

BROWN: Let me ask you then, David, the question I asked Jamie. In regard to the dispute about whether that stuff was there when the Americans arrived, is it game, set, match? Is that part of the argument now over?

KAY: Well, at least with regard to this one bunker and the film shows one seal, one bunker, one group of soldiers going through and there were others there that were sealed, with this one, I think it is game, set and match. There was HMX, RDX in there. The seal was broken and quite frankly to me the most frightening thing is not only is the seal broken and the lock broken but the soldiers left after opening it up. I mean to rephrase the so-called Pottery Barn rule if you open an arms bunker, you own it. You have to provide security.

BROWN: That raises a number of questions. Let me throw out one. It suggests that maybe they just didn't know what they had.

KAY: I think quite likely they didn't know they had HMX, which speaks to the lack of intelligence given troops moving through that area but they certainly knew they had explosives. And to put this in context, I think it's important this loss of 360 tons but Iraq is awash with tens of thousands of tons of explosives right now in the hands of insurgents because we did not provide the security when we took over the country.

BROWN: Could you -- I'm trying to stay out of the realm of politics.KAY: So am I. BROWN: I'm not sure you can necessarily. I know. It's a little tricky here but is there any reason not to have anticipated the fact that there would be bunkers like this, explosives like this and a need to secure them?

KAY: Absolutely not. For example, al Qa Qaa was a site of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) super gun project. It was a team of mine that discovered the HMX originally in 1991. That was one of the most well documented explosive sites in all of Iraq. The other 80 or so major ammunition storage points were also well documented.Iraq had, and it's a frightening number, two-thirds of the total conventional explosives that the U.S. has in its entire inventory. The country was an armed camp.

BROWN: David, as quickly as you can because this just came up in the last hour, as dangerous as this stuff is, this would not be described as a WMD, correct?

KAY: Oh, absolutely not.

BROWN: Thank you.

KAY: And, in fact, the loss of it is not a proliferation issue.

BROWN: OK. It's just dangerous and it's out there and by your thinking it should have been secured.

KAY: Well, look, it was used to bring the Pan Am flight down. It's a very dangerous explosive, particularly in the hands of terrorists.