“If we have access immediately to a site the credibility of our conclusion if we find nothing there is far higher than if there is any notice, even of one or two hours” -
Jacques Baute in this CNN Article
One would conclude from this statement by Jacque, the head of UNMOVIC (the inspectors) that if Iraq did have an extra hour or two before an inspection, that they’d be able to more easily conceal what the inspectors were looking for.
Maybe I’m missing something, but as far as I know, the inspectors aren’t invisible, and when a team of seventeen people in marked UN vehicles starts rolling, every Saddham loving Iraqi is going to be reporting the movements of that circus. If a mind-melting chemical factory even suspects that an inspection might occur soon, they’ll have plenty of time to prepare. If you’re an inspection team, and you want “surprise” visits, you’re going to have to get pretty random, and being pretty random means going from one factory in one corner of the country, then another one, preferably not right next door. But that means you’ve got to travel, increasing the odds that the next factory you’ll be visiting will have known about your arrival for several hours. And obviously, if you just go from one factory to the next nearest factory, the next nearest factory will know what’s up, and force the factory workers to consume sensitive documents for lunch.
Ideally, you’d want a team at each site at the exact same time, ready to inspect at any second, but, there’s one more problem that further makes the leader of this UN Inspections team look like a real genious: Iraq has had months to prepare for inspections, in fact, I’d argue that they’ve had years. For all we know, they’re cooking up bioweapons in in baby diapers, and have been preparing for the inevitability of inspections all along.
Good luck Jacque.