WMD conjecture in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq War concern the failure by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the U.S.-led Iraq Survey Group (ISG) to locate undeclared stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction both before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The United States effectively terminated the search effort for unconventional weaponry in January 2005, though other investigative bodies continue to examine material evidence relating to past programs. Major controversy was generated when prohibited weapons were not found. Some observers reason Saddam Hussein miscalculated by deceiving Intelligence services into believing he had retained active stockpiles while others remain convinced, contrary to the findings of the ISG, that such weapons continue to exist. A number of alternative theories have been put forward to explain their possible whereabouts.
Saddam lied to retain power
On 14 December Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces. Time Online Edition reports that in his first interrogation he was asked whether Iraq had any WMDs. According to an official, his reply was:
"No, of course not, the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us." The interrogator continued along this line, said the official, asking: "if you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?" Saddam’s reply: "We didn’t want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy."
Later, through interrogations in US custody, Saddam revealed that, immediately prior to the start of the 2003 US invasion, he had announced to his generals that there were no WMDs. One theory given currency by Charles Duelfer is that Saddam sent out different signals to different people in order to keep them confused and help stay in power.
Saddam was misled
According to The Guardian in late 2003, British officials in Whitehall began circulating a theory that Saddam Hussein and his senior advisers "may have been hoodwinked" by lower-ranking officers "into believing that Iraq really did possess weapons of mass destruction." And as most of the informers for British intelligence were the same high-level advisers close to Saddam, the British were also fooled. The paper adds that this hypothesis "is open to the interpretation that the government is searching for an excuse, however implausible, for failure to discover any WMD in Iraq." Commenting on the findings of the Butler intelligence review six months later, USA Today reported that Britain's Secret Intelligence Service had "shockingly few reliable human sources inside Saddam's regime."
Documents since captured inside Iraq by coalition forces are reported to reveal Saddam's frustration with weapon inspections. Meeting transcripts record him saying to senior aides: "We don't have anything hidden!" In another, he remarks: "When is this going to end?" And another: "Don't think for a minute that we still have WMD. We have nothing."