The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has named former U.N. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer to succeed David Kay as head of the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The existence of such weapons was one of the major reasons President Bush gave for his decision to invade Iraq last year, but the weapons have yet to be found.
Mr. Kay told a reporter (for Reuters) Friday that he now believes weapons of mass destruction did not exist in Iraq. He said it appears there was no large-scale weapons-production program in Iraq after the Persian Gulf War in 1991, as had previously been thought.
The new top inspector, Mr. Duelfer, recently expressed doubts that weapons of mass destruction will ever be found in Iraq.
But he told reporters Friday that his earlier comments were those of an outsider. As he takes up leadership of a team of 14,00 people searching for banned weapons across Iraq, Mr. Duelfer says, he will keep an open mind and make every effort to find out what actually happened on the ground.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.