Iraqi WMD will be found: Cheney
WASHINGTON (AFP) Sep 14, 2003
US Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that he has "no doubt" that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was engaged in developing weapons of mass destruction and that more evidence of the programs will be found.

"If you go back and look at what we've found to date there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had these capabilities," Cheney said in an interview with NBC television's Meet the Press.

"This wasn't an idea cooked up overnight by a handful of people either in the administration or in the CIA," he said in a reference to allegations that the Bush administration may have overstated the evidence to justify the case for war in Iraq.

"The whole notion that somehow there's nothing to the notion that Saddam Hussein had (weapons of mass destruction) or developed WMD strikes me as fallacious, it's not valid," Cheney said.

"On chemical weapons my guess is it's buried inside his civilian infrastructure, that's not an unusual place to put it."

Cheney said a team led by David Kay, a former UN arms inspector currently in Iraq hunting for evidence of Saddam's weapons programs, would find proof of Iraqi efforts to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

"In the final analysis we will find that the Iraqis did have a robust program.

"I'm not willing at all at this point to buy the proposition that somehow Saddam Hussein was innocent and he had no WMD and some guy out at the CIA, because I called him, cooked up a report saying he did.

"That's crazy. That makes no sense. It bears no resemblance to reality."

Cheney also said there was growing evidence of a "relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda" during the past decade.

Asked, however, if there was a direct connection between Saddam's regime and the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, Cheney replied: "We don't know."

"We learn more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s," he said.

"That it involved training, for example, on (biological weapons and chemical weapons), that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems. It involved the Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization."

Cheney was also asked about Saudi cooperation in the "war on terror" and said it had improved.

"We have had, especially since the attacks of Riyadh in May of this year, from the Saudi government great support and cooperation in going after terrorists, especially al-Qaeda," he said.

"I think the Saudis came to realize, as a result of the attacks of last May, that they were as much of a target as we are ... that there have been private individuals in Saudi Arabia that provided significant financial support and assistance, that there are facilitators and operators working inside Saudi Arabia to support the al-Qaeda network."