In an effort to prevent decades-old Iraqi chemical weapons from falling into the black market and enemy hands, the Central Intelligence Agency purchased the weapons from an undisclosed Iraqi seller. This is according to a recent New York Time report detailing Operation Avarice, which the C.I.A. conducted alongside the U.S. Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion. The report is based primarily on anonymous government sources, as the C.I.A. won’t officially comment on the matter.
From 2005-06, the C.I.A. led the nonproliferation effort Operation Avarice in order to secure a stockpile of 400 Borak rockets from an individual Iraqi seller for an undisclosed price. Borak rockets are a type of chemical weapon created and stockpiled by Saddam Hussein’s regime in the 1980s. They were unaccounted for, however, during a United Nations weapons investigation in the early 1990s.
After the weapons were acquired by the United States government, they were inspected and while some were found to be empty, others held the harmful nerve agent sarin. According to the Times’ report, the weapons were then disposed of by the military and the federal government.
While these rockets are considered weapons of mass destruction, and were created under Hussein’s dictatorship, they are not necessarily those referred to by political leaders before and during the invasion of Iraq. These WMDs were part of a weapons program which ended years, possibly decades, before the 2003 invasion. Further, they were no longer in the hands of the Iraqi government, it seems, but that of an individual seller who was eager to be rid of them.
(Source: The New York Times)