:: 10.25.2004 ::
Nearly 380 Tons of Explosives Missing from Iraq atomic site
I can't wait to hear how the administration justifies this.
The New York Times report cited White House and Pentagon officials -- as well as at least one Iraqi minister -- as acknowledging that the explosives vanished from the site shortly after the U.S.-led invasion amid widespread looting.
The above quote is from a YahooNews story; here's one from the NYTimes story from this morning:
The minister of science and technology, Rashad M. Omar, confirmed the explosives were missing in an interview with The Times and CBS Television in Baghdad.
A Western diplomat close to the IAEA, who declined to be named, said it was hard to understand why the U.S. military had failed to secure the facility despite knowing how sensitive it was.
"This was a very well known site. If you could have picked a few sites that you would have to secure then ... Al Qaqaa would certainly be one of the main ones," the diplomat said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the danger of these explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured, European diplomats said in interviews last week. Administration officials say they cannot explain why the explosives were not safeguarded, beyond the fact that the occupation force was overwhelmed by the amount of munitions they found throughout the country.Yet another mistake? That list is getting pretty long.
As Rich pointed out to me, there is actually some doubt as to whether the explosives in question were still at Al Qaqaa when the US invaded Iraq:
In the NBC report cited by the Bush campaign, the reporter embedded with American troops when they visited Al Qaqaa on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell, said she did not see any explosives.
Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the NBC report showed that Kerry's allegations were "baseless."
But the reporter, Lai Ling Jew, said in an interview Tuesday on the network's cable arm, MSNBC, that the 24-hour visit by elements of the 101st Airborne Division was "more of a pit stop."
U.S. troops did not conduct a detailed search of the compound nor did they try to prevent looting, she said.
The IAEA said Tuesday the last time it can vouch for the presence of the explosives at Al Qaqaa was in March 2003, before the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam.
:: Deb 10:46 AM :: permalink ::
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