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CIA Web site seeks Iraq WMD information


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The CIA, under fire over its intelligence about Iraq's arms programs, has posted a notice on its Web site offering rewards for information on the elusive weapons.

The "Iraqi Rewards Program" notice dated Tuesday seeks "specific and verifiable information" on the location of stocks of "recently made" chemical or biological weapons, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles or their components.

U.S. intelligence agencies have been criticized for prewar estimates that said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction but none have been found since the U.S.-led invasion last year.

David Kay, who led the U.S. hunt for banned weapons in Iraq until stepping down last month, has said he did not believe that large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons existed when the United States invaded.

The unspecified rewards were also offered for locating chemical or biological laboratories and factories, development, production and test sites and places where such materials were "secretly disposed."

The notice on www.cia.gov says: "The presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq puts at risk the health and safety of all Iraqis. The U.S. Government offers rewards to Iraqis who give specific and verifiable information that helps Iraqis rid their country of these dangerous materials and devices."

People can respond on electronic forms in English or Arabic. The CIA said they were secure and would protect the information and identity of the sender.

A CIA spokesman said the notice was just one more avenue to get information out about existing U.S. government rewards for information dealing with Iraq.

"Our Web site gets an enormous amount of hits from all over the world," the spokesman said. "It's just trying to get the word as broadly publicized as possible."

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Rewards were also offered for former leaders of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime, including $10 million for information leading to the capture of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam's former lieutenant who is the highest-ranking official on the Pentagon's top 55 most-wanted list still not found.

The CIA asked for information about imminent attacks by "insurgents or terrorists" and about individuals or groups obtaining explosives and other weapons to use against coalition and Iraqi security forces, schools, businesses and civilians.

Information was also sought about any travel agencies, nongovernmental organizations and front companies involved in providing documents and helping "terrorists" travel to Iraq.



Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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