That's not necessarily to say, though, that intelligence about Iraqi weapons was misused by the Bush White House, Kay told an audience at Trinity University.
Kay said any American president in office during the Sept. 11, 2001 (search), attacks would have been deeply concerned about Saddam Hussein (search), and would have sought to make the most persuasive appeal that he could to the nation.
"Politicians don't go around picking their weakest arguments," Kay said. "The real charge that deserves careful scrutiny is not whether you picked the best argument out, but whether you actually manipulated and were dishonest about the data."
He added that he's seen no evidence that the Bush administration mischaracterized intelligence from Iraq, "but it is such a serious charge that it deserves investigation."
The Bush administration claimed repeatedly last winter that Saddam had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but subsequent searches have turned up no such weapons.
Kay, who resigned his position as chief U.S. inspector last month, says he himself believed before the war began that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons, as well as a thriving nuclear weapons program.
He has since stated that, based on searches and other factors, that those weapons do not exist. He has also urged the president to acknowledge that the intelligence was wrong.
"We gave a lot of answers on the basis of very, very little fact," he said.
Kay said that while Iraq doesn't have weapons of mass destruction, Americans should be concerned about a bustling international bazaar trading in weapons parts and know-how that leverages the efficiencies of the Internet.
"Essentially we're getting a Sam's Club (warehouse store) combined with Amazon.com for weapons technology," he said. "You want biological weapons? You want chemical weapons? You want nuclear? There are people who will shop their skills around."
He pointed to Pakistani engineer A.Q. Khan, who is suspected of running a lucrative black market where North Korea, Iran and other nations obtained important nuclear secrets.