Skip to comments.Turf war keeping lid on evidence of WMD in Iraq?
Posted on 06/25/2006 10:41:00 AM PDT by april15Bendovr
Turf war keeping lid on evidence of WMD in Iraq? By KATHLEEN PARKER
If you thought Democrats and Republicans were politically divided over the war in Iraq, you haven't seen anything yet. The real battle apparently is being waged under the radar between the White House, the intelligence community and Congress. ADVERTISEMENT
At the center of the current skirmish is a newly unclassified document released last Wednesday that seems to confirm evidence of WMD in Saddam's Iraq, including both degraded and possibly lethal chemical agents.
According to the document, coalition forces have recovered some 500 weapons munitions since 2003 that contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agents. Other key points are that these chemical agents could be used outside Iraq and that "most likely munitions remaining are sarin- and mustard-filled projectiles."
Which is to say, we don't know what other stores may remain, or where they are, or who else may know about them.
Most significant, perhaps, is the assertion that while agents degrade over time, "chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal," according to the released document.
In other words, the word "degraded" doesn't necessarily mean "nothing to worry about." Moreover, Wednesday's document is but a small piece of a much larger document that remains classified and that Republican insiders consider "very significant."
The unclassified document was released Wednesday by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., to thin fanfare and much speculation. Why are we hearing about these findings only now? Why is the White House so quiet about them?
Those questions have had congressional offices buzzing the past couple of days, while theories have offered little comfort or clarity.
To answer the first question, we might not be hearing about the document at all if not for the persistent hammering by Santorum, who has spent more than two months hounding intelligence officials to declassify them.
Santorum heard about the documents from an unnamed source and sought the help of Hoekstra, who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
One would imagine that, given the importance of WMD, the White House would be happy to spread the news. Instead, all has been relatively quiet on the presidential front. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley commented Thursday only that the document "is what it is."
"It's really all we can say about it. And I think people are going to have to draw their own conclusions. But the bottom line is, 500 chemical munitions in Iraq, and obviously we're concerned about the potential threat they pose to Iraqis and to our forces."
Later in the day, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirmed during a press conference that the reports are accurate. "They are weapons of mass destruction ... and it shows Saddam Hussein did not declare all his weapons," he said.
Santorum and Hoekstra promise to keep pushing for more details from this document, as well as other captured Iraqi data, media and maps from Saddam Hussein's regime.
The document that Santorum and Hoekstra circulated makes clear that these are pre-Gulf War munitions. Thus, they were not necessarily part of an ongoing WMD program. On the other hand, old chemical programs can be reinstituted relatively easily where remnants remain.
If the White House and the Republican congressional leaders can't agree on what constitutes evidence of WMD, what's a divided America to think?
Conventional wisdom on the Republican side of the Hill is that something isn't quite kosher at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The White House response companion to "staying the course" is that the president "never looks back." He is, they say, "forward-looking."
Translated, President George W. Bush doesn't have to explain himself, especially if new evidence suggests he was right all along. Other theories tilt toward the CYA school of thought that American intelligence would prefer to keep such documents under wraps to hide yet more intelligence failures.
In a June 5 letter to John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence, Santorum urged that these materials be released and hinted that territorial politics seemed to be taking precedence over national security. He wrote:
"While some of this information had been defined as 'For Official Use Only,' my staff has learned that many of the captured Iraqi documents have been reclassified and are not to be released until each classified section 'owned' by an agency has been reviewed and cleared for release."
Only a few with security clearance, Santorum among them, know what is in these various documents. Given the importance of what is suggested here, one can only wonder why the president resists declassifying what can only help the current debate about how to proceed in Iraq.
A new and improved White House maxim might go something like this: Sometimes one has to look back in order to go forward.
Actually, the maxim is , Look in the direction you want to
throw your opponent.
Actually, the term "degraded" means not as potent but more dangerous to those employing the weapons.
Makes you wonder if there are major WMD discoverys that simply cannnot be made public for tipping off the terrorists on where to look too.
Could you imagine the frustration of that scenario for the administration?
This is so old news. Over a year and half ago the military reported finding 300 shells that had contained sarin & other chemical traces. We knew back before the war even started that large convoys had gone to where most of the WMD were located and moved stuff to Syria. The military reported one what was left behind, which indicated WMD.
Remember, most of the US population is illiterate, and gets there view from rumers, TV, newspaper head lines(the same thing).
I'm sure the battle behind the scenes is ugly but it is time the President orders the release of all we have on the WMDs.
It is time to pull the rug out from under the Cowardcrats.
This is what I have been asking from the beginning.
I haven't really been following the story. Things just didn't add up.
Our front man for the story is not in the White House, Pentagon or the CIA. It is a man who is in the toughest re-election fight of the year.
I thought, "If this story is true, why is the White House not talking about it?"
You've got that right. Here in MD, we have Aberdeen Proving Ground, Edgewood Arsenal, and Fort Detrick. Let some 'degraded' chemical or biological material get out and see what happens. The same people downplaying 'degraded' chemical weapons are among the first to claim depleted uranium munitions are dangerous.
Bin Laden has been in hiding since 2001. If we don't find him within the next few years, will the Left consider him 'degraded' and no longer a threat?
It doesn't matter how old the news is. It needs to be kept in the news so that the political disengaged can continue to hear that WMDs were indeed found. Too many form opinions based upon catch phrases they pick up in the background. The only way you reach these types is to make sure that your views are there in the background too otherwise you the leftist MSM creates what is considered "common knowledge" to laypeople.
INTELLIGENCE: Why Iraq WMD Finds Were Kept Secret
Thanks for the link
It could be for a number of reasons:
1. The White House has been beaten up repeatedly by the press/Democrats and doesn't want to revisit the argument;
2. The White House has actual intelligence that at least 'some' of the WMD was transported to/by 'friendly' nations (France, Russia) and doesn't want to embarrass them;
3. It's true that outing these documents may embarrass our intelligence community even further and the White House doesn't want to go through this before an election;
4. The White House isn't against the outing of this information; they'd just rather see it handled by someone other than the administration.
Those are my guesses. I'm sure others have different opinions.
These liberals never have considered OBL a threat to begin with. They find conservatives the one and only enemy to their words of mass deception.
Here's a link to your article:
The issue isn't whether the weapons have been degraded. The issue is, and remains, that they were indeed stockpiled, and the Saddam government did indeed hide them from inspectors, and did indeed refuse to hand them over.
Thats what we said from the beginning.
Saddam's generals all expected these weapons to be used, and were suprprised that they were not. That means they existed, and now we have at least some of them.
Are there more?
Its a big desert out there.
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