Libya CW

Jeffrey has a great “post”: up about Libya’s once-suspected CW facility at Tarhuna.

I would add that the “report”: from the _Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction_ contains a “chapter”: about US intel on Libya’s NBC weapons. The report doesn’t mention Tarhuna specifically, but some of its findings are interesting – particularly in light of the issues Jeffrey highlighted.

For example, the report says that

bq. The Intelligence Community’s central judgment that Libya possessed chemical weapons agents and chemical weapons aerial bombs was correct, but Libya’s *actual chemical agent stockpile proved to be smaller in quantity than the Intelligence Community estimated.*

One wonders if that overestimate has something to do with the false belief that Tarhuna was a CW production facility. One sentence in this paragraph _might_ indicate that such is the case:

bq. *Analysts based their estimates of Libya’s chemical weapons capabilities on assessments of chemical production capabilities and access to precursors.* Analysts judged that Libya had produced, at most, roughly 100 metric tons of mustard agent. 10 They also believed that Libya had produced small quantities of sarin, 11 but assessed that this would have been of very low quality and therefore would have degraded quickly. 12 Analysts generally did not believe that Libya had chemical warheads for missile delivery, but they assessed that Libya could probably weaponize existing chemical agents in some fashion. 13 They further concluded that Libya had produced approximately 1,000 250-kg aerial chemical weapons bombs. 14

But who knows?

Anyway, the report also has some apparently-relevant (given the discussion of aerial imagery) commentary regarding the effectiveness of “technical collection techniques:”

The Intelligence Community’s performance with regard to Libya’s chemical and biological programs was more modest, due in part to *the limited effectiveness of technical collection techniques against these targets.*

As discussed above, the Intelligence Community possessed some limited information suggesting that Libya was continuing work on limited chemical and biological programs. *The overall paucity of intelligence on these programs, however, may be attributed in no small measure to the general ineffectiveness of technical collection efforts.*

That being said, *it should be noted that there are few distinguishing characteristics that enable the identification of chemical or biological facilities through imagery or other technical means.*

Happy Monday.

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