David Kay

(David A. Kay)

David Kay
David Kay
  • Born:
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Scientist

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David A. Kay is a weapons expert, political commentator, and senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. He is best known for his time as United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector following the first Gulf War and for leading of the Iraq Survey Group's search for weapons of mass destruction following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Upon presentation of the Group's finding that there had been significant errors in pre-war intelligence concerning Iraq's weapons programs, Kay resigned. The ensuing controversy served as impetus for the formation of the Iraq Intelligence Commission.

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Accountability goes hand in hand with reform. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
By absenting the United States from the process by which international legal rules are made, the Senate has denied the country’s ability to shape them. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Many global solutions still require the binding force and permanence that only treaties can provide. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The Bush administration should come clean with the American people and admit that they were wrong. Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
The U. S. Senate rejects multilateral treaties as if it were a sport. Some it rejects outright… Others it rejects through inaction: dozens of treaties are pending before the Senate. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
There were major intelligence failures and staying out there chasing weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist was not what I wanted to do. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
We think intelligence is important to win wars. Wars are not won by intelligence. They’re won by the blood, treasure, courage of the young men that we put in the field …. What intelligence really does when it is working well is to help to avoid war. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
We were almost all wrong Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
We were bereft of any human intelligence—zero, nada, in terms of agents on the ground…. We had no answers. Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
Who knows what is really going on within a criminal enterprise? Criminals Intelligence, Spying, Espionage & Covert Operations
A great deal has been accomplished by the team, and I do think it important that it goes on and it is allowed to reach its full conclusion. In fact, I really believe it ought to be better resourced and totally focused on WMD; that that is important to do it.
And let me take one of the explanations most commonly given: Analysts were pressured to reach conclusions that would fit the political agenda of one or another administration. I deeply think that is a wrong explanation.
And like I say, I think we've got other cases other than Iraq. I do not think the problem of global proliferation of weapons technology of mass destruction is going to go away, and that's why I think it is an urgent issue. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
And never - not in a single case - was the explanation, 'I was pressured to do this.' The explanation was very often, 'The limited data we had led one to reasonably conclude this. I now see that there's another explanation for it.'
And you know, almost in a perverse way, I wish it had been undue influence because we know how to correct that. We get rid of the people who, in fact, were exercising that.
As leader of the effort of the Iraqi Survey Group, I spent most of my days not out in the field leading inspections. It's typically what you do at that level. I was trying to motivate, direct, find strategies.
But I do think the survey group - and I think Charlie Duelfer is a great leader. I have the utmost confidence in Charles. I think you will get as full an answer as you can possibly get.
But the most important thing about that story, which is not often told, is that as a result after the Cuban missile crisis, immediate steps were taken to correct our inability to collect on the movement of nuclear material out of the Soviet Union to other places.
Fortunately, President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy disagreed with the estimate and chose a course of action less ambitious and aggressive than recommended by their advisers.
I also believe that it is time to begin the fundamental analysis of how we got here, what led us here and what we need to do in order to ensure that we are equipped with the best possible intelligence as we face these issues in the future. Time ;Future
I came not from within the administration, and it was clear and clear in our discussions and no one asked otherwise that I would lead this the way I thought best and I would speak the truth as we found it. Truth
I do believe we have to understand why reality turned out to be different than expectations and estimates. But you have more public service - certainly many of you - than I have ever had, and you recognize that this is not unusual.
I had innumerable analysts who came to me in apology that the world that we were finding was not the world that they had thought existed and that they had estimated. Reality on the ground differed in advance.
I think that shows a level of maturity and understanding that I think bodes well for getting to the bottom of this. But it is really up to you and your staff, on behalf of the American people, to take on that challenge.
I think the aim - and certainly the aim of what I've tried to do since leaving - is not political and certainly not a witch hunt at individuals. It's to try to direct our attention at what I believe is a fundamental fault analysis that we must now examine.
I would also point out that many governments that chose not to support this war - certainly, the French president, Jacques Chirac, as I recall in April of last year, referred to Iraq's possession of WMD. War & Peace
In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of U.N.Resolution 1441. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I've seen looting around the world and thought I knew the best looters in the world. The Iraqis excel at that.
Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.
Sen. Edward Kennedy knows very directly. Senator Kennedy and I talked on several occasions prior to the war that my view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction. War & Peace
The case of Iran, a nuclear program that the Iranians admit was 18 years on, that we underestimated. And, in fact, we didn't discover it. It was discovered by a group of Iranian dissidents outside the country who pointed the international community at the location.
The fact that it wasn't tells me that we've got a much more fundamental problem of understanding what went wrong, and we've got to figure out what was there. And that's what I call fundamental fault analysis.
The Germans certainly - the intelligence service believed that there were WMD. It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing.
The Libyan program recently discovered was far more extensive than was assessed prior to that.
The result is - document destruction - we're really not going to be able to prove beyond a truth the negatives and some of the positive conclusions that we're going to come to. There will be always unresolved ambiguity here. Truth
There's a long record here of being wrong. There's a good reason for it. There are probably multiple reasons. Certainly proliferation is a hard thing to track, particularly in countries that deny easy and free access and don't have free and open societies.
This hearing came about very quickly. I do have a few preliminary comments, but I suspect you're more interested in asking questions, and I'll be happy to respond to those questions to the best of my ability.

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