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Chemical Munitions in Iraq June 24, 2006

Posted by June in Around the World, Executive Branch, Politics, War on Terror.
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Okay, before I go, I will post this link here. This is a developing story that will be interesting to see where it goes as more of this document is unclassified.

Now I shall bid my adieu's until July 17.

CHEMICAL MUNITIONS IN IRAQ

By Michelle Malkin · June 21, 2006 08:10 PM

***scroll for updates…FoxNews.com coverage***

Emerging buzz seems to be focused on why it took so long to release info about 500 chemical-weapons shells found in Iraq. Allah's got video of Santorum and chock full of links.

Austin Bay predicts conspiracy-mongering. Ed Morrissey remembers a sarin gas shell discovery in May 2004. Ed theorizes:

Some will claim that the release is strictly for political purposes. They may have a point, but I doubt it will have anything to do with domestic politics. If Bush wanted to use it for that, he would have done so in October 2004 and not in June 2006. This information changes the picture about our pre-war intelligence in time for the Iranian confrontation — and I suspect that the White House wants to declassify it in order to convince European leaders that our intel actually paid off.

Glenn Reynolds has the press conference transcript with Santorum and Hoekstra.

Here's the declassified summary of the key points from the National Ground Intelligence Center report on the recovery of chem munitions in Iraq.

negropontepdf.jpg

Allah will have video/analysis of anything interesting from Santorum's appearance tonight on Hannity and Colmes.

Power Line weighs in. John Hinderaker:

This is certainly significant, but what they're talking about is old munitions left over from, presumably, before the first Gulf War. This doesn't appear to constitute evidence that Saddam's regime had continued to manufacture chemical weapons in more recent years. What it does demonstrate is that the picture with respect to Iraq's WMDs is much more nuanced than the usual "he didn't have any" mantra. There is no doubt about the fact that Saddam had, and used, chemical and biological weapons. Nor is there any doubt about the fact that he eagerly pursued nuclear weapons. Further, the Iraq Survey Group report says that he had every intention of resuming his programs as soon as the coast was clear and the U.N. sanctions were behind him. Add to that the fact that hundreds of chemical weapons, at a minimum, were secreted in various locations around Iraq–as also shown by this document–and it is reasonable to conclude that, even though the CIA and nearly all other observers over-estimated Iraq's WMD capabilities, the fear that Saddam might use such weapons, or slip them to a terrorist group, was well-founded.

Scott Johnson adds an e-mail from Michael Ledeen:

Please point out to your readers that Negroponte only declassified a few fragments of a much bigger document. Read the press conference and you will see that Santorum and Hoekstra were furious at the meager declassification. They will push for more, and we all must do that. I am told that there is a lot more in the full document, which CIA is desperate to protect, since it shows the miserable job they did looking for WMDs in Iraq.

Update: Santorum and Hoekstra on H&C here.

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