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Profile: Scott Ritter


Positions that Scott Ritter has held:

  • UNSCOM Chief Weapons Inspector (Summer of 1997 until August 1998)
  • US Marine Intelligence Officer




Quote, November 21

   “The government, both here in the UK and the US, would feed off these media reports [supplied by Operation Mass Appeal], continuing the perception that Iraq was a nation ruled by a leader with an addiction to WMDs.” [BBC, 11/21/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 9, 2000

   “... from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has in fact been disarmed... The chemical, biological, nuclear and long-range ballistic missile programs that were a real threat in 1991 had, by 1998, been destroyed or rendered harmless.” [Boston Globe, 3/9/00]

Associated Events

Quote, October 19, 2001

   “Under the most stringent on-site inspection regime in the history of arms control, Iraq's biological weapons programs were dismantled, destroyed or rendered harmless during the course of hundreds of no-notice inspections. The major biological weapons production facility—al Hakum, which was responsible for producing Iraq's anthrax—was blown up by high explosive charges and all its equipment destroyed. Other biological facilities met the same fate if it was found that they had, at any time, been used for research and development of biological weapons...No evidence of anthrax or any other biological agent was discovered.” [Guardian, 10/19/01]

Associated Events

Quote, January 28, 2002

   “The UN stopped using Chalabi's information as a basis for conducting inspections once the tenuous nature of his sources and his dubious motivations became clear. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the mainstream US media, which give prominent coverage to sources of information that, had they not been related to Hussein's Iraq, would normally be immediately dismissed.” [Christian Science Monitor, 1/28/02]

Associated Events

Quote, Summer 2002

   “What Iraq had in 1991 wasn't a [biological] weapon, it was a large chunk of metal with some sludge in it. The only way it was going to kill you was if it landed on your head.” [Christian Science Monitor, 8/29/02]

Associated Events

Quote, July 20, 2002

   “While we were never able to provide 100 percent certainty regarding the disposition of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, we did ascertain a 90-95 percent level of verified disarmament. This figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq.” [Boston Globe, 7/20/02]

Associated Events

Quote, July 23, 2002

   “The manufacture of nuclear weapons emits gamma rays that would have been detected by now if they existed. We have been watching, via satellite and other means, and we have seen none of this.” [Pitt, 7/24/02]

Associated Events

Quote, July 24, 2002

   “This is not about the security of the United States. This is about domestic American politics. The national security of the United States of America has been hijacked by a handful of neo-conservatives who are using their position of authority to pursue their own ideologically-driven political ambitions. The day we go to war for that reason is the day we have failed collectively as a nation.” [Truth Out, 7/24/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, September 2, 2002

   “But if a case [for war] cannot be made on national security grounds, then one must consider the real possibility that the administration's drive for war with Iraq is being pursued in support of a domestic political agenda, something that should concern all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. The brave men and women in our armed forces have demonstrated their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice so that our democracy can be preserved. To ask them to do so in support of politically driven motives would not only disrespect those to whom we look for protection, but also dishonor American democracy as a whole. It is up to our nation as a whole to ensure that is not, and never will be, the case.” [Baltimore Sun, 9/2/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, October 2002

   “Our guys working this area for a living all believe Chalabi and all those guys in their Bond Street suits are charlatans. To take them for a source of anything except a fantasy trip would be a real stretch. But it's an article of faith among those with no military experience that the Iraqi military is low-hanging fruit.” [Knight Ridder, 11/1/02]

Associated Events

Quote, February 11, 2003

   “It is smoke and mirrors. It has nothing to do with reality. It was plain wrong.” [Reuters, 2/11/02]

Associated Events

Quote, summer 2003

   “Operation Rockingham cherry-picked intelligence. It received hard data, but had a preordained outcome in mind. It only put forward a small percentage of the facts when most were ambiguous or noted no WMD... It became part of an effort to maintain a public mindset that Iraq was not in compliance with the inspections. They had to sustain the allegation that Iraq had WMD [when] Unscom was showing the opposite.” [Guardian, 11/21/03, Sunday Herald, 6/8/03b]

Associated Events

Quote, mid-July 2003

   “The entire case the Bush administration made against Iraq is a lie. ... What was the basis of the affirmation by (US Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld? He said there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq—nobody asked him to prove it. The press just printed it. We have now to demand the proof.” [AP, 7/15/03]

Associated Events

Quote, November 2003

   [Operation] Rockingham's intelligence was built from “single source data of dubious quality.” [BBC, 11/21/03]

Associated Events

Quote, November 21, 2003

   “It was intelligence data that dealt with Iraq's efforts to procure WMDs, with Iraq's efforts to conceal WMDs. It was all single source data of dubious quality, which lacked veracity.” [BBC, 11/21/03]

Associated Events

Quote, winter 2003

   “[Operation Rockingham] was an organization designed to support a pre-ordained conclusion of the British Government that Iraq will never be found in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.” [Scotsman, 11/21/03]

Associated Events




No related entities for this entity.


Scott Ritter actively participated in the following events:


1991-2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The British MI6 establishes Operation Mass Appeal, a British intelligence mission “designed to exaggerate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction” in order to shape public opinion. [BBC, 11/21/03] The operation plants stories in the US, British, and foreign media from the 1990s through 2003. Intelligence used by Mass Appeal is said to be “single source data of dubious quality.” After the First Gulf War, the operation seeks to justify the UN sanctions policy. But after the September 11 attacks, its objective is to secure public support for an invasion of Iraq. The mission is similar to Operation Rockingham (see 1991-March 2003), another British intelligence disinformation program. [New Yorker, 3/31/03; Scotsman, 11/21/03; BBC, 11/21/03 Sources: Former Clinton Administration official, Scott Ritter] Former US Marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter says in late in 2003 (see November 21, 2003) that he supplied Mass Appeal with intelligence while serving as UN chief weapons inspector from the summer of 1997 until August 1998 and that he met with British agents involved in the operation several times in both New York and London. [BBC, 11/21/03 Sources: Scott Ritter]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter  Additional Info 

December 1997      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter meets with Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. According to Ritter, Chalabi tells him that he has close contacts with Iranian Intelligence and offers to set up a meeting between Ritter and the head of Iranian intelligence. (Chalabi later claims this is “an absolute falsehood.”) [CounterPunch, 5/20/2004]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, Ahmed Chalabi

January 27, 1998      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Ahmed Chalabi meets Scott Ritter, a liaison for the UN weapons inspectors program, in his London apartment. When Chalabi asks Ritter what kind of information inspectors need, Ritter discloses all of inspectors' intelligence gaps. “I should have asked him what he could give me,” Ritter later tells the New Yorker. “We made the biggest mistake in the intelligence business: we identified all of our gaps.” The New Yorker reports: “Ritter outlines most of the UN inspectors' capabilities and theories, telling Chalabi how they had searched for underground bunkers with ground-penetrating radar. He also told Chalabi of his suspicion that Saddam may have had mobile chemical- or biological-weapons laboratories. ... ” [New Yorker, 6/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, Ahmed Chalabi

(July 1998)      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Scott Ritter has a second meeting with Ahmed Chalabi (see January 27, 1998), this time at Chalabi's house in Georgetown. Inspectors have recently discovered trace evidence of VX nerve gas on warheads in Iraq and Ritter is concerned that the Iraqis are still hiding something. During the meeting, they discuss the VX discovery and Chalabi suggests that Ritter do intelligence work for the INC. He shows Ritter two studies advocating Hussein's overthrow. One of the studies is a military plan, written, in part, by retired General Wayne Downing, who commanded the Special Forces in the first Gulf War. Downing's study suggests that the Baathist regime could easily be toppled by Iraqi fighters alone. But the plan would nonetheless require some American troop support. Chalabi wants to sell the plan to Congress. Ritter, a former marine, isn't impressed and tells Chalabi he thinks it's a ploy to get the US involved. He asks Chalabi, “So how come the fact that you'd need more American assistance is not in the plan?” Chalabi replies, “Because it's too sensitive.” Chalabi then shares with Ritter his plans to rule Iraq. Ritter later tells the New Yorker: “He told me that, if I played ball, when he became president he'd control all of the oil concessions, and he'd make sure I was well taken care of. I guess it was supposed to be a sweetener.” (Chalabi's office will tell the New Yorker that Ritter is a “liar.”) [New Yorker, 6/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, Ahmed Chalabi

November 21, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Former UN chief weapons inspector and US Marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter tells reporters in the British House of Commons about the existence of two secret British disinformation campaigns—Operation Mass Appeal (see 1991-2003) and Operation Rockingham (see 1991-March 2003) —which planted stories based on dubious intelligence in the US, British, and foreign media between 1991 and 2003. [Guardian, 11/21/03; Guardian, 11/29/03; Scotsman, 11/21/03; BBC, 11/21/03]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter  Additional Info 

February 18, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail, tells a packed house at Olympia Washington's Capitol Theater that George W. Bush has “signed off” on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005. [United For Peace of Pierce County, 2/19/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush

February 21, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Sam Seder, hosting Air America's Randi Rhodes show, interviews Scott Ritter about statements he made at Olympia's Capitol Theater three days earlier (see February 18, 2005). Responding to a question about possible US military air strikes on Iran, Ritter says: “I have sources, which are unimpeachable, which I would not state who they are, who told me in October of 2004 that the president had been briefed on military strike options against Iran that were to commence in June of 2005. And that the president signed off on these plans.” [The Randi Rhodes Show, 2/21/2005]
People and organizations involved: Scott Ritter, George W. Bush

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