David A. Kay, Who Searched for Nuclear Weapons in Iraq, Dies at 82

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Dr. Kay insisted that the decision to topple the Hussein regime was the right one, on humanitarian grounds. But as time wore on he became outspokenly critical of the intelligence community, concluding that George Tenet, the director of the C.I.A., had pushed bad information on the president as a way of currying favor.

“He understood that if you didn’t give the policymakers what they wanted, he believed, I think wrongly, that you weren’t a player, and therefore your views wouldn’t be taken, and you wouldn’t be invited into the closed meetings,” he told the PBS program “Frontline” in 2006. “He traded integrity for access.”

David Allen Kay was born on June 8, 1940, in Houston, where his father, Elwin Kay, was a real estate broker and his mother, Ruth (Banks) Kay, was a homemaker.

Intellectually driven as a boy, he later said he lost his South Texas accent through years of traveling the country as a high school debater. He intended to study physics at the University of Texas but realized he despised lab work, and he ended up getting a degree in business in 1962.

He also took courses in political science and economics, and he pursued both at Columbia University, where he received a master’s degree in 1964 and a doctorate in political science in 1967.

He taught briefly at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, but soon decided that he was more interested in nonprofit and government work. He moved to Washington, where he did research for the National Science Foundation and other organizations before joining the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization in New York City.

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