A Verdict On WMD

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After three months of searching, the top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq has come back with news that all sides are using as an occasion for "I told you so." In an interim report to Congress, David Kay said his 1,200-member inspection team had "not yet found stocks" of illicit weapons — no large caches of poison gas or germ agents, no proof that Saddam was remotely close to reconstituting a nuclear program and no evidence of an attempt to buy uranium from Africa. In fact, the report said an African country had offered uranium to Iraq, but Saddam apparently did not follow up. Kay even backed away from Bush's claim that two trucks found in April and may were mobile bioweapons labs, saying they could have been used for other purposes. Even some Bush allies on Capitol Hill were disturbed. "I'm not pleased by what I heard today," said Pat Roberts, G.O.P. chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Yet Kay's team did make a few disturbing discoveries, which Bush seized on as sufficient proof that Saddam was "a danger to the world" and that the war was justified. Kay's team discovered a vial hidden in a scientist's home containing a biological agent, as well as evidence that in 2001 Saddam paid $10 million in an effort to buy prohibited missile technology from North Korea. (The equipment was never delivered.) Kay also said an Iraqi scientist had been shot and another Iraqi killed after cooperating with inspectors, although that claim was news to a former official in Iraq's Military Industrialization Commission who was interviewed by TIME late last week. Kay said his work was still in its early stages, and the Administration is reportedly asking Congress for $600 million to fund the search for weapons for six to nine months more. Yet the former official said Kay and his team would be wasting time and money if they kept their search going. "We've told them everything," he said. "There is nothing left to say."