For the first time, the U.S. intelligence community has released an assessment that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were transferred to neighboring Syria in the weeks prior to the U.S.-led war against the Saddam Hussein regime.
U.S. officials said the assessment was based on satellite images of convoys of Iraqi trucks that poured into Syria in February and March 2003. The
officials said the intelligence community assessed that the trucks contained missiles and WMD components banned by the United Nations Security Council.
The U.S. intelligence assessment was discussed publicly for the first time by the director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency in a briefing in Washington on Tuesday. James Clapper, a retired air force general and a leading member of the U.S. intelligence community, said he linked the
disappearance of Iraqi WMD with the huge number of Iraqi trucks that entered Syria before and during the U.S. military campaign to topple the Saddam regime.
“I think personally that the [Iraqi] senior leadership saw what was coming and I think they went to some extraordinary lengths to dispose of the evidence,” Clapper said. “I’ll call it an educated hunch.”