Iraq hands over arms declaration
U.S. is skeptical of documents' veracity
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq delivered its declaration on weapons of mass destruction to U.N. inspectors in Baghdad Saturday, one day ahead of a U.N. deadline.
As the declaration was being handed over, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein apologized for invading Kuwait in 1990 in a statement read on government-run Iraqi television.
He also urged Kuwaitis not to support the United States in a military confrontation with Iraq. (Full story)
"Their motive is to steal your wealth and turn you into slaves working for them ... and turn your leaders into agents working for American oil companies in Washington," Saddam said in a statement read by Information Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhafa.
Kuwait has rejected Saddam's apology, CNN has learned.
Kuwait's information minister, Sheik Ahmed al-Fahed al-Sabah, said the statement merely repeated Iraq's previous excuses for invading the emirate. "We believe the apology should be addressed first to the Iraqi people, who are being repressed," he said. (Full story)
U.S. intelligence officials expressed deep skepticism about the Iraqi weapons declaration, saying the United States has its own "clear evidence" that Iraq has an extensive weapons program.
U.S. officials say they do not expect to see that program honestly and completely described in the nearly 12,000 pages plus CD-ROMs from Iraq.
"It will be the biggest shock of my life if the Iraqis come clean" in the documents, said one official.
Although the U.N. Security Council decided Friday to delay distributing the Iraqi documents to its member states until U.N. arms inspectors could review them, a U.S. official says Washington does expect to receive copies "fairly soon." He did acknowledge that the Security Council decision has created "some confusion."
Iraq allowed journalists to look at the declaration before handing it over to the United Nations but not to examine its contents. A top Iraqi official said that the voluminous document "should prevent any threat against Iraq."
Iraq said there were more than 11,000 pages -- 1,334 on the area of Iraq's biological activities, 1,823 on chemical activity and 6,887 on missiles. There was also material involving the nation's nuclear activity stacked on one corner of the table.
The 12 CD-ROMs, which Iraq said contain 529 megabytes of information, are believed to contain information Iraq has supplied to the United Nations before.
Labels indicated the documents were "currently accurate, full and complete."
The declaration addresses not just any weapons of mass destruction programs but also dual-use programs -- activities that Iraq says serve civilian purposes but that the United Nations is concerned may secretly be used for developing and stockpiling weapons.
From Baghdad, U.N. officials were to bring copies to U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission chief Hans Blix in Cyprus; International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei in Vienna; and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York.
For now, U.N. officials say the trail will stop there. The U.N. Security Council, which demanded the declaration under Resolution 1441 passed unanimously in November, will allow the weapons inspectors to analyze and even edit out parts of it before sharing it with the council. (Full story)
A Western diplomatic source told CNN that the United States, Russia, and other countries are concerned about releasing information that could provide "a training manual for how to build weapons of mass destruction."
But CNN learned that some in the Bush administration were blindsided by the decision.
"We want that stuff and not after Blix gets it," a senior administration source told CNN. "We want the whole thing."
The United States is anxious to compare the declaration to U.S. intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
UNMOVIC and the IAEA have a million pages of intelligence themselves, and they will compare the declaration to their information to look for inconsistencies.
If the declaration is found to include false information or leave out pertinent information, it may constitute a "material breach" of the resolution.
The Bush administration has said that if there is a material breach, the United States may call for a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the use of military force against Iraq.
And no matter what the council decides, Bush has said the United States may decide to lead a coalition to disarm Saddam through military force.
However, an administration source told CNN that top White House officials have agreed the United States will not launch military action on Iraq based on a material breach in the resolution.
"We will judge the declaration's honesty and completeness only after we have thoroughly examined it and that will take some time," Bush said in his radio address.
Given the volume and complexity of the documents, as well as the fact that some may need to be translated from Arabic, U.N. and U.S. officials have said they could take days to analyze.
Diplomatic sources told CNN that Blix may not give the Security Council a timeline for when it may receive any portion of the documents until Tuesday and his initial report on the weapons inspectors' findings may not be available until December 16.
CNN Correspondents Nic Robertson, Rym Brahimi, Michael Okwu, Andrea Koppel, Suzanne Malveaux, and John King contributed to this report.