Washington — The CIA named a new inspector to lead the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction Friday, choosing a veteran investigator who has expressed recent skepticism that Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons that posed an immediate threat.
Charles Duelfer, the No. 2 United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq for much of the 1990s, is taking over the task of sorting out Saddam's weapons program. He said CIA Director George Tenet assured him he wanted one thing: "That is the truth, wherever that lay."
The Bush administration has been frustrated in its search for convincing evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, banned by the United Nations after Iraq invaded Kuwait. No such weapons have been found although the previous inspector, David Kay, said he did find evidence of programs to develop weapons.
Duelfer, pronounced DULL-fer, will be taking over the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group of roughly 1,400 scientists and other experts who are combing through documents, searching facilities and interviewing Iraqis to determine the capabilities of the fallen government