Theft of Cobalt in Iraq Prompts Security Inquiry
AMIRIYA, Iraq — A seeming lapse in surveillance by American forces has led to the looting of dangerously radioactive capsules from Saddam Hussein's main battlefield testing site in the desert outside Baghdad and the identification of at least one 30-year-old Iraqi villager, and possibly a village boy, as suffering from radiation sickness.
The two capsules, taken from a site once used by Mr. Hussein's government to test the effects of radiation on animals and perhaps humans, have since been recovered after an American sweep through the area.
But American officers fear that more cases of the sickness may follow, and that they will be powerless to help unless people in the villages of Amiriya and Shamiya break their silence and identify men who looted the desert site in early September.
...Some defense officials who discussed the incident on the basis of anonymity said events at the desert site showed the Bush administration's error in sending too few troops to Iraq, a decision that high-ranking American officers in Baghdad shortly after the city's capture said had curbed their powers to crack down on the looting that ransacked the city and set off a wave of anti-American feeling that has not abated....
--New York Times