The top U.S. official in charge of the hunt for Iraq's banned weapons of mass destruction has resigned, saying he believes the country no longer has any large stockpiles of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. But the hunt for such weapons is not ending
After nearly eight months of searching, David Kay, head of the U.S. government's Iraq survey group, stepped down Friday, telling the Reuters News Agency he does not think Iraq has any of the banned weapons the Bush administration said posed a threat to the world and triggered the U.S.-led invasion last March. Mr. Kay had served as a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq during the 1990s.
In announcing the Kay resignation, CIA Director George Tenet chose Charles Duelfer to succeed him. Mr. Duelfer, a former State Department official, was part of the United Nations team responsible for dismantling Iraq's banned weapons programs during the 1990s when Saddam Hussein was still in power.
But he is among those who have expressed doubts about whether Iraq still has stockpiles of such weapons, telling interviewers earlier this month the inability of David Kay and his 1,400 member team to find them probably means none are there.
But as he prepares to head back to Iraq, he says he is willing to keep an open mind and remains committed to following the evidence wherever it leads.
The Bush administration continues to say illegal weapons will eventually be found in Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney told National Public Radio this week more time is required to look through what he called every "cubby hole and ammo dump" and other places where they could be found.