US spied on Iraq, says new book


New York - A book by a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq says the CIA's involvement in monitoring Baghdad's chemical and biological arms programme was more extensive and began earlier than previously reported, according to yesterday's New York Times.

The book, Endgame, by a former inspector, Mr Scott Ritter, said US spies began working on the teams only a year after the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Mr Ritter denied Iraqi charges that he himself was a CIA agent.

The newspaper said Mr Ritter has written that the spies worked closely with the UN teams and that a coup attempt against President Saddam Hussein in June 1996 coincided with the presence of nine CIA officials on one of the teams.

Mr Ritter worked for the UN commission from 1991 until last summer when he resigned partly in protest at what he said was the Clinton administration's interference with the work of the inspection teams.