Blix on Safeguards and Intel

In this interview which I previously mentioned, Hans Blix had a lot to say about the role of intelligence in implementing IAEA safeguards:

Intel and Argentina:

The Israelis, of course, suspected the Iraqis in 1981, but I don’t—we had no tips from them that it was acute at that time. And I remember another occasion in Argentina, when I was there (inaudible) the Argentineans were building an enrichment plant in Pilcaniyeu, and I was invited to go to Argentina. And they—a day before I left, they phoned me and they told me about this plant. The U.S. had not discovered it.

Intel and Iraq:

I think many people also doubt that really Saddam—and there’s been written about this—that doubt that Saddam was—had taken a decision to go for nuclear weapons at that time, but he came to that conclusion. Of course, the Israelis and others didn’t do very much (inaudible) the IAEA did manage very much, because we were then operating under the old safeguard system, and under that system, we went to installations which were declared.In fact, we wouldn’t have known where to go elsewhere, because we had no satellite images, we had no intelligence coming from anybody. So we only could go to what was declared.

Intel and Pre-93+2 Safeguards System:

Now, there was this attitude that meant that the whole system of safeguards inspection by the IAEA did not—were not given much teeth. They were to check—focus—upon the nuclear fissionable material and they were in practice confined to going to sites that were declared.

And as I said, they wouldn’t even have known where to go elsewhere, because we had no intelligence, we had no spies, we had no satellites at that time. And we didn’t get any intelligence from anybody else. So it was a weakness—weak system. And I think in most cases, in our reports, we said that we had not detected any diversion in the sites declared, but it may—I also found cases which they went a little too far and said there weren’t any, because that’s two different things, say, that we haven’t seen anything in there and haven’t detected anything

 Intel and Safeguards, in General:

When I asked about intelligence in the context of our work in Iraq, I say, well, they are different things. The intelligence people, they listen to our telephone conversations, including mine and ElBaradei’s, but others, that may be (inaudible) do so. They have spies on the ground. They look at what kind of instruments, equipment are sold to countries, what type they buy directly or indirectly, so they have a lot of sources of information that inspectors don’t have. But inspectors can go anywhere. They can talk to people. So they have a very direct input.And so I don’t despise the intelligence, though I know there some talks went very, very bad, very wrong. But I think that those who receive the information, the government receives the information from the intelligence and from the inspectors, they should see if they’re telling. And if they do tell, well, that’s—if they don’t, well, then should be a little cautious.

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