(CNSNews.com) - The man who was at the center of the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq says nuclear technology is currently being marketed in a manner that reminds him of the way the online superstore Amazon.com or the bulk-goods warehouse Costco do business.
David Kay was the United Nations' chief weapons inspector in Iraq following the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Kay later told Congress that his team of 1,400 investigators had found no evidence of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but conceded that there was probably a desire on the part of Saddam to obtain such weapons and the possibility that small amounts of chemical agents existed.
Kay was in Washington, D.C., this week to advise a convention of government security and law enforcement personnel about the nature of the terrorist threat facing America. U.S. counterterrorism forces should focus on the "motivation, intent, plans and actions" of potential threats, Kay said.
Those potential threats are many, he added, since practically every nation and even large groups are currently able to obtain dangerous technology. Worse still, according to Kay, Pakistan and other nations are serving as clearinghouses of nuclear technology, in the same way that Amazon.com and Costco dispense consumer items.
In countering the terrorist threat, "big picture" technology such as the satellite surveillance developed during the Cold War, is practically useless, Kay said. New technologies must be developed in the private sectors that allow the government to get the small picture, to get specific information about specific groups and specific threats, he added.
"The information needs to be credible and widely sharable," Kay stressed.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 Commission's report on the intelligence failures that led up to the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history, Kay sought to dispel a popularly held view of the "intelligence community."
"People refer to the intelligence organizations as 'the intel community.' It has none of the characteristics of a community. It's a group of ... empires that don't like direction," Kay said.
As for the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that a new National Director of Intelligence be appointed, Kay said it "is probably a necessary but not sufficient step toward changes."
'Duh, we failed!'
The Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq - that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and planned to use them - is now subjecting the president to a torrent of criticism from Democrats and their liberal supporters in Hollywood and elsewhere, who say he overreacted.
The intelligence community has also been attacked for providing the information about Iraq's alleged involvement with weapons of mass destruction. Kay said the key to making sure those mistakes don't happen again is to admit, "Duh, we failed."
"I think it's most important that the president of the United States recognize that in fact the weapons are not there," Kay told reporters. "Until you do that you will not take this fundamental reorganization of the intelligence community on board as the most important issue."
Kay said the intelligence failures in Iraq are no reason to be discouraged. "I'm optimistic because of the failure there," he said. "The most difficult time to get change is when people argue about whether there's a failure."
He said he's "optimistic that we'll make progress."
"I'm also optimistic that the next administration recognizes that the current administration - and this is regardless of whether it's President Bush or Senator Kerry - has not been served well by its intelligence community. And that itch will lead to the president himself pushing for reform," Kay said.
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