October 26, 2004

The unraveling thread...

The reports that the US blundered and let several hundred tons of high explosives disappear is turning could well turn out to be a fraud from Mohammed El Baradei -- the report 'leaked' to the MSM in order to make President Bush look bad. Charles at LGF links to a short blurb from Cliff May at The Corner: bq. BOMB-GATE [Cliff May] Sent to me by a source in the government: “The Iraqi explosives story is a fraud. These weapons were not there when US troops went to this site in 2003. The IAEA and its head, the anti-American Mohammed El Baradei, leaked a false letter on this issue to the media to embarrass the Bush administration. The US is trying to deny El Baradei a second term and we have been on his case for missing the Libyan nuclear weapons program and for weakness on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.” bq. (For the record, I don’t reveal my sources so if that means I end up sharing a cell at Sing-sing with Judy Miller, so be it.) There is a later story at the same website from K. J. Lopez:
"THE SOURCE" [KJL] A reader asks...could a high-profile U.N. official be looking to influence the American election?:
According to the LA Times account of the evolution of the story, the "source" was working with CBS News for a while, then switched to the NY Times (presumably because it was a more prestigeous channel). Since the Times' ostensible news hook was the letter from El Baradei to the Security Council, the only way a source could have been working in advance with CBS and NYTimes was if the source was very close to El Baradei, and able to influence the timing of the release of the letter. Who more likely than El Baradei himself, who apparently has a grudge against Bush?
Wretchard at The Belmont Club links to the story of some embedded NBC reporters traveling with the 101st Airborne:
That Missing RDX NBC reporters embedded with the 101st Airborne are questioning the New York Times report which suggests that US custodial incompetence was responsible for the loss of RDX explosive.
NBC News: Miklaszewski: “April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qaeda weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 10/25/04)
Wretchard gives an interesting analysis and concludes with this (emphasis Wretchard's) bq. The account above shows that the RDX explosive was already gone by the time US forces arrived. Although one may retrospectively find some fault with OIF order of battle, most of the damage had already been inflicted by the dilatory tactics of America's allies which allowed Saddam the time and space -- nearly half a year and undisturbed access to Syria -- necessary to prepare his resistance, transfer money abroad and disperse explosives (as confirmed first hand by reporters). Although it is both desirable and necessary to criticize the mistakes attendant to OIF, much of the really "criminal" neglect may be laid on the diplomatic failure which gave the wily enemy this invaluable opportunity. The price of passing the "Global Test" was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again. And this story will get featured in the Main-Stream Media? listening... crickets... UPDATE: The Big Trunk at PowerLine is doing their usual excellent reporting on this story too. Posted by DaveH at October 26, 2004 11:02 AM