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Chief UN Weapons Inspector Says U.S. Attempted to Discredit Him - 2003-06-11


Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has criticized the United States for conducting what he said was a campaign to discredit him in the run-up to the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

Mr. Blix, in remarks published in Britain's Guardian newspaper Wednesday, said some U.S. officials planted, in his words, "nasty things" in the media about him. He also said he was pressured by the United States to use more critical language when reporting on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

In an interview Wednesday with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Mr. Blix said much of the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons program was not solid. He also talked about whether the Bush Administration may have overstated intelligence reports about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS
“Did the Bush administration tell the truth?”

HANS BLIX, CHIEF U-N WEAPONS INSPECTOR
“Well, they have interpreted, things that they were seeing and they, some of the things they saw were not real.”

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS
“Will they pay a price for that in credibility?”

HANS BLIX, CHIEF UN WEAPONS INSPECTOR
“I don’t know. I’m not accusing them of a lack of sincerity. I think they believed in what they saw and I think Tony Blair also clearly believed in what he saw. But some of the material did not hold water.”

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS
“And what price do you pay?”

HANS BLIX, CHIEF UN WEAPONS INSPECTOR
“Well, maybe the lesson is they should be more prudent. And if one starts a war on this basis then the intelligence should be good.”

Mr. Blix is retiring at the end of June after heading the UN weapons inspection program for the past three years. His comments come as a team of 1,300 U.S. weapons inspectors arrived in Iraq to expand the search for Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

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