United States forces and Central Intelligence Agency experts have found no proof of banned weapons in Iraq and have determined that that country's nuclear weapons programme was in the
"very most rudimentary state", the US Congress was told on Thursday.
"It clearly does not look like a massive resurgent programme based on what we've discovered now," David Kay, head of the 1,400-person Iraq Survey Group, which is searching for banned weapons in Iraq, told House and Senate intelligence committees.
Before invading Iraq, the Bush administration had said the Saddam Hussein regime had a well-developed nuclear programme.
He said the group had found evidence of "an intent of senior level Iraqi officials, including Saddam, to continue production at some future point in time of weapons of mass destruction".
Kay said the group also found missiles and other equipment not declared to the United Nations weapons inspectors.
"This includes substantial equipment and activity in the chemical and biological area, a much more substantial activity in the missile area; the Iraqis were engaged in a very full-scale programme that would have extended their delivery systems out beyond 1,000 kilometres," he said.
"That is enough to reach Ankara, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh; these were both ballistic missiles and land attack cruise missiles that would fit a Chinese Silkworm (missile)," the former UN weapons inspector said.
He said there was a lot of work to be done "before we can declare we're at the end of this road rather than at the beginning. We have found a great deal, much of which was not declared to the United Nations".
The search by Kay's team is expected to continue for another six to nine months.