Ten Years Too Late

From Holden:

Damn. We just missed taking out Iraq’s nuclear program by a scant ten years.

A new book on the government’s secret anti-terrorism operations describes how the CIA recruited an Iraqi-American anesthesiologist in 2002 to obtain information from her brother, who was a figure in Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program.

Dr. Sawsan Alhaddad of Cleveland made the dangerous trip to Iraq on the CIA’s behalf. The book said her brother was stunned by her questions about the nuclear program because — he said — it had been dead for a decade.

[snip]

The book said Dr. Alhaddad flew home in mid-September 2002 and had a series of meetings with CIA analysts. She relayed her brother’s information that there was no nuclear program.

A CIA operative later told Dr. Alhaddad’s husband that the agency believed her brother was lying. In all, the book says, some 30 family members of Iraqis made trips to their native country to contact Iraqi weapons scientists, and all of them reported that the programs had been abandoned.

In October 2002, a month after the doctor’s trip to Baghdad, the U.S intelligence community issued a National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program.