WASHINGTON – An interim report by the CIA's (search) chief weapons hunter in Iraq will not make any claim of finding weapons of mass destruction, say officials at the intelligence agency.
The officials declined to specify what findings David Kay (search) might include in his upcoming report but said Wednesday it is not expected to reach any conclusions about Iraq's alleged weapons program.
U.S. and British officials have not disclosed any discoveries that would validate their prewar assertions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready to use.
Kay, a former U.N. (search) weapons inspector, is the CIA adviser working with teams in Iraq searching for evidence of chemical and biological weapons, programs to make more, and prohibited missiles and nuclear weapons programs.
Some Pentagon (search) officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have said that weapons hunters have found what they interpret as evidence of Iraqi preparations to secretly produce chemical and biological weapons.
That evidence is primarily drawn from documents and interviews with Iraqi officials, the officials said. It suggests plans for weapons production that was to take place primarily at "dual-use" manufacturing facilities inside Iraq, the U.S. officials said.
These are buildings with an overt, legitimate purpose, such as making pesticides or pharmaceuticals, but their equipment also can be used to make weapons.
The officials did not know whether searchers had found any evidence that weapons production had actually taken place at these sites.
Two other postwar discoveries in Iraq -- trailers that are suspected biological weapons factories and some buried parts from Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear program -- remain contentious.
Some in the U.S. intelligence community believe the trailers were for hydrogen production for weather balloons. U.N. experts interpret the unearthed parts as evidence Saddam never attempted to reconstitute Iraq's nuclear programs after the first Gulf War.
Kay is expected to present his findings to CIA Director George J. Tenet and other officials soon.
"Dr. Kay is still receiving information from the field, and this will be just the first progress report, an interim report, and we expect it will reach no firm conclusions, nor will it rule anything in or out," said CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.
He said it has not been determined how much, if any, of Kay's report would be made public. After the interim report is complete, Kay is expected to return to Iraq to continue his investigation.
Administration officials in recent days had sought to lower expectations that Kay's report would put to rest ongoing questions about whether Iraq had prohibited weapons and programs.
On Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" on Wednesday, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said: "David Kay has miles of documents to go through. He has hundreds of people to interview. ... He's going to put together the picture."
"I await the report eagerly from Mr. Kay as does the international community," said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday. "I'm not going to comment on drafts I may have or haven't seen. What we are looking for is published reports and they will be made available in due course."
After a summer visit to Iraq, Republican senators said U.S. searchers had uncovered solid evidence of weapons programs. But Democrats on the same trip said the evidence was not definitive. No one provided details.
In August, Kay suggested a breakthrough was close but added that the U.S. government would proceed slowly before going public with any discoveries, to make sure its analysis was sound.