Although UNSCOM has destroyed the large declared stocks of CW agents, precursors and weapons,Iraq may have retained a secret stockpile but we ha ve no direct evidence. Hidden stockpiles are probably unnecessary as the Iraqi civil chemical industry can produce all the precursors needed to make mustard agent and most of those for nerve agents.
[JIC, 8 September 1994]
In the same vein, in August 1995, drawing on evidence provided by Hussein Kamil after his defection, the JIC concluded that:
We assess [Iraq] may also have hidden some specialised equipment and stocks of precursor chemicals but it is unlikely they have a covert stockpile of weapons or agent in any significant quantity; Hussein Kamil claims there are no remaining stockpiles of agent.
[JIC, 24 August 1995]
The JIC assessed at the same time that Iraq: . . .could begin to make chemical weapons within a matter of weeks,and produ ce significant quantities within months,if UN constraints were removed. [JIC, 24 August 1995]
That assessment represented the low point in estimates of the size of Iraqi chemical agent stocks. Thereafter, the JIC had growing suspicions and concerns. In an assessment in June 1996, it noted that:
We doubt that all agents,munitions,precursor chemicals and equipment ha ve been accounted for.
[JIC, 12 June 1996]
In October 1997, the JIC expressed its doubts more strongly: Iraq nevertheless remains capable of regenerating a CW capability in a matter of months. We assess that some CW agents,munitions,precursor chemicals and production equipment remain hidden . . . [JIC, 8 October 1997]
Notwithstanding its overall assessment in February 1998 that: UNSCOM and the IAEA have succeeded in destroying or controlling the vast majority of Saddam’s 1991 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capability. [JIC, 4 February 1998]
the JIC also later that year repeated its view that:
. . . some CW agents,munitions,precursor chemicals and production equipm ent remain hidden.
[JIC, 24 September 1998]