Saturday, September 24, 2016

US Used 90s UN Weapons Inspectors To Spy On Iraq

After the Gulf War when the United Nations ordered inspectors into Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, missile and nuclear programs Saddam would often demand that the U.S. and British members of the teams be removed. Baghdad accused those people of being spies for their respective governments. As it turned out the Americans were using the inspections to collect intelligence on Iraq. For example, the U.S. installed eavesdropping devices into the U.N. communication network to tap into the Iraqi military. In March 1996 when the inspectors installed video cameras at suspected sites to monitor them, the Americans placed their own devices at those locations as well. The deputy director of the inspections Charles Duelfer was told about the spy program so that it would not be interfered with, but the U.N. itself was never informed. Espionage was a major issue for the Iraqis, and one of the reasons why they were opposed to letting the U.N. personnel into their classified facilities. While it was wrong to think that the team members themselves were spies, they were right that America was taking advantage of the situation. Washington felt it more important to collect information on Saddam’s military and covert programs then maintain the integrity of the inspection process.


Gellman, Barton, “U.S. Spied On Iraqi Military Via U.N.,” Washington Post, 3/2/99

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