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Scott Ritter is a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He later became a critic of United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter stated that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities, becoming according to The New York Times “the loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.”
He was born into a military family in 1961 in Gainesville, Florida. He graduated from Kaiserslautern American High School in Kaiserslautern, Germany in 1979, and later from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in the history of the Soviet Union and departmental honors. In 1980 he served in the U.S. Army as a private. Then in May 1984 he was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served in this capacity for about 12 years. He served as the lead analyst for the Marine Corps Rapid Deployment Force concerning the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iran–Iraq War. Ritter’s academic work focused on the Basmachi resistance movement in Soviet Central Asia during the 1920s and 1930s, and on the Basmachi commanders Fazail Maksum and Ibrahim Bek. During Desert Storm, he served as a ballistic missile advisor to General Norman Schwarzkopf. Ritter later worked as a security and military consultant for the Fox News network. Ritter also had “a long relationship […] of an official nature” with the UK’s foreign intelligence spy agency MI6 according to an interview he gave to Democracy Now! in 2003.