WASHINGTON - The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ended before Christmas and an interim report by top US weapons inspector Charles Duelfer saying that there are no weapons to be found will likely stand, according to a report in a US newspaper.
"The September 30 report is really pretty much the picture," a senior intelligence official who asked not to be identified told the Washington Post.
"We've talked to so many people that someone would have said something. We received nothing that contradicts the picture we've put forward. It's possible there is a supply some place, but what is much more likely is that (as time goes by) we will find a greater substantiation of the picture that we've already put forward," he added.
The daily said officials who served in the Iraq Survey Group, tasked with the search of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq, wrapped up their job shortly before Christmas.
The ongoing violence in Iraq together with the lack of new information, they said, led to the decision.
Duelfer's report to Congress, which officials say he is finishing and will be published by the end of June, said deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had the intent but not the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction.
The report contradicted the US government's chief, publicly stated reason for overthrowing Saddam in a quick war in April 2003.
President George W. Bush's administration has recently insisted weapons of mass destruction might still be hidden in Iraq, but the intelligence official told The Washington Post that possibility was very small.
A Pentagon spokesman told the daily that details of how hundreds of millions of dollars allotted by the US Congres for the WMD search in Iraq were spent remained classified.
© Copyright 2005 AFP