iraq-drone bombshell in blix report

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    Iraq-drone bombshell
    buried in Blix report
    Existence of undeclared craft not mentioned during presentation to U.N. Security Council

    Posted: March 8, 2003
    3:40 p.m. Eastern

    © 2003

    A report declassified by the United Nations yesterday contained a hidden bombshell with the revelation that inspectors recently discovered an undeclared Iraqi drone that could threaten Iraq's neighbors with chemical and biological weapons, according to the Times of London.

    The unmanned vehicle ''could drop chemicals on troops,'' according to the U.N. report.

    U.S. officials were outraged that Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector, did not inform the Security Council about the drone in his oral presentation to Foreign Ministers and tried to bury it in a 173-page single-spaced report distributed later in the day, the Times said. The omission raised serious questions about Dr. Blix's objectivity.

    Secretary of State Colin Powell had informed the Security Council last month that Iraq had test-flown a drone.

    In another section of the declassified report, arms inspectors warn Iraq still has spraying devices and drop tanks that could be used in dispersing chemical and biological agents from aircraft, the Times said.

    "A large number of drop tanks of various types, both imported and locally manufactured, are available and could be modified," the report says.

    The paper, obtained by The Times, details the possible chemical and biological arsenal that British and U.S. Forces could face in an invasion of Iraq.

    The paper suggests that Iraq has huge stockpiles of anthrax, may be developing long-range missiles and could possess chemical and biological R400 aerial bombs and Scud missiles, and even smallpox.

    The report says there is ''credible information'' indicating that 21,000 liters of biological warfare agent, including some 10,000 liters of anthrax, was stored in bulk at locations around the country during the war and was never destroyed.

    Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, told his fellow Security Council Foreign Ministers the document was a ''chilling read.''

    Secretary of State Powell read passages from the paper out loud in the Council chamber. He pointed out that it chronicled nearly 30 times when Iraq had failed to provide credible evidence to substantiate its claims, and 17 instances when inspectors uncovered evidence that contradicted those claims. But his draft copy, dating from a meeting of the inspectors' advisory board last week, did not contain the crucial passage about the new drone.

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