David Kay Pops Off

David Kay is going out in an unprofessional blaze of glory. He is giving interviews to one news outlet after another, popping off in various more or less inconsistent directions. Heavily edited accounts of these conversations are now cropping up everywhere; here is an AP summary of some of the recent interviews. The New York Times’ version is here.
It’s hard to know what to make of this, since we are getting only a collection of sound bites, not a coherent, thoughtful, systematic report–such as the Iraq Survey Group will ultimately produce. I can’t imagine why Kay thought it was appropriate to sound off as he has in these interviews. The political aspects of the issue are too obvious to require comment. It now seems likely that Kay’s parting shots will overshadow whatever conclusions the ISG eventually reaches.
Kay is obviously critical of the intelligence agencies, but his opinions are by no means anti-war. He says, for example, that Iraq was working on nuclear weaponry in 2000 and 2001, and continued its efforts to weaponize ricin up until the moment of the invasion. He seems to have bought into the theory that Saddam’s orders to produce biological and chemical weapons were largely ignored by his scientific subordinates, who siphoned off the money for such programs for their own purposes.
Maybe. But we have a long way to go before we understand the magnitude of the threat posed by Saddam’s regime in its last years. David Kay is doing all of us a disservice by his premature, unprofessional grandstanding.

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