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Wednesday, October 29, 2003
IN FIRST, U.S. VOICES ASSESSMENT OF WMD TO SYRIA

IN FIRST, U.S. VOICES ASSESSMENT OF WMD TO SYRIA
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- 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."
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