Soviet satellite photos of Kuwait taken five weeks after the Iraqi invasion suggest the Bush administration might have exaggerated the scope of Iraq's military threat to Saudi Arabia at the time.
The photos are not conclusive proof that the administration overestimated Iraq's buildup along the Saudi border, a buildup that was cited as a justification for the deployment of U.S. troops. But two American satellite imaging experts who examined the photos could find no evidence of a massive Iraqi presence in Kuwait in September.
A Soviet commercial satellite took a photo of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 11 and a photo of Kuwait on Sept. 13. At the time the Defense Department was estimating there were as many as 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks in Kuwait. The photos were obtained by the St. Petersburg Times two weeks ago.