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Rumsfeld: Next Task in Iraq is Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction - 2003-04-13


U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says one of the next major tasks for U.S.-led forces in Iraq is finding weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking on CBS-TV's Face the Nation, Mr. Rumsfeld says coalition forces will have to find what he called the right people to lead them to the weapons.

"The inspectors didn't find them and certainly we're not going to find them," he said. "It's not like a treasure hunt where you run around and dig down and see if there's a tunnel someplace. You've got to find the people who dug the tunnels, the people who worked in those operations," he said.

The Defense Secretary said U.S. troops are actively looking for Iraqis who are willing to help.

"We're using rewards. We're using carrots and sticks, both," he said. "And we're finding an awful lot of people starting to cooperate with us, which is a good thing."

General Tommy Franks, who commands U.S. troops in Iraq, says he has absolute confidence there are weapons of mass destruction in the country. He says his only question is where they will be found.

"Whether we'll turn out, at the end of the day," he said, "to find them in one of the 2,000 or 3,000 sites we already know about, or whether contact with one of these officials who we may come in contact with will tell us, 'oh, actually, there's another site,' and we find it there, I'm not sure."

A chief scientific adviser to Saddam Hussein's regime turned himself in to U.S. troops in Baghdad Saturday, becoming the first of the 55 senior most-wanted Iraqi officials to do so. The Iraqi adviser, who often dealt with United Nations' weapons inspectors, said the country ended its nuclear weapons program in 1991.

Secretary Rumsfeld expressed his doubts. He called the former Iraqi leaders, in his words, "skillful liars," and pointed out that the scientific adviser was only echoing what Baghdad had already been saying for quite some time.