The US-led coalition was quick to emphasise that the findings are preliminary, and that the ISG will continue its work in the country, for which US President Bush has asked Congress for an additional $600 million. ‘I cannot emphasise too strongly that the Interim Progress Report, which has been made available to you, is a snapshot, in the context of an on-going investigation,’ ISG head David Kay says in the report. ‘It is far too early to reach any definitive conclusions and, in some areas, we may never reach that goal.’ The report identifies six main reasons why the group’s investigations have been slowed. They are: 1) the compartmentalisation of knowledge of any weapons programme; 2) Deliberate dispersal and destruction of material and documentation related to weapons programmes; 3) Looting of material and documents that may have been useful in the investigation; 4) The dispersal of people involved in the programmes; 5) Any actual WMD weapons or material is likely to be small and hard to find with normal equipment; 6) The security environment in Iraq continues to hamper progress.
As expected, Kay stated that although no ‘smoking gun’ had been discovered, numerous suspicious activities and equipment with no obvious legitimate use had been found. Clandestine laboratories and safe houses had been found, as well as documents, materials and equipment indicating that Iraq was attempting to acquire WMD. Moreover, all the discoveries had been well concealed in an attempt to keep their existence as secret as possible, a point emphasised by the British government (MEED 2:10:03).