Gee, a tough election season might be coming up for the Republicans -- and suddenly we're hearing that Saddam's WMDs may have been found! What an astonishing coincidence!
A former special investigator for the Pentagon during the Iraq war said he found four sealed underground bunkers in southern Iraq that he is sure contain stocks of chemical and biological weapons. But when he asked American weapons inspectors to check out the sites, he was rebuffed.
David Gaubatz, a former member of the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, was assigned to the Talill Air Base in Nasiriyah at the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom....
Between March and July 2003, Mr. Gaubatz was taken by ... sources to four locations.... In each case, he was told the facilities contained stocks of biological and chemical weapons, along with missiles whose range exceeded that mandated under U.N. sanctions. But because the facilities were sealed off with concrete walls, in some cases up to 5 feet thick, he did not get inside.
Oh -- he didn't actually see anything. But he was told there was WMD activity going on and, hey, that's good enough, right?
He filed reports with photographs, exact grid coordinates, and testimony from multiple sources. And then he waited for the Iraq Survey Group to come to the sites. But in all but one case, they never arrived....
So that's why we never found WMDs! Our inspectors were told exactly where the evidence was, had testimony of witnesses, and chose to blow it off! For years! That's plausible, right?
The rebuffed Mr. Gaubatz said nothing about all this -- until now, when it's an election year and polls show that voters would rather vote Democratic than Republican. And what do you know -- those very Congressional Republicans may want to hear Mr. Gaubatz out:
The new information from the former investigator could also end up helping the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which recently reopened the question of what happened to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Like many current and former American and Israeli officials, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Peter Hoekstra, says is not convinced Saddam either destroyed or never had the stockpiles of illicit weapons he was said to be concealing between 1991 and 2003....
All of a sudden, in this election year, all sorts of WMD evidence seems to be emerging as if out of nowhere and heading straight for Hoekstra's office:
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is studying 12 hours of audio recordings between Saddam Hussein and his top advisers that may provide clues to the whereabouts of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The committee has already confirmed through the intelligence community that the recordings of Saddam's voice are authentic, according to its chairman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, who would not go into detail about the nature of the conversations or their context. They were provided to his committee by a former federal prosecutor, John Loftus, who says he received them from a former American military intelligence analyst....
"We got 'em from a guy who got 'em from a guy, and we played 'em for some other guys who swear they're real." Color me convinced!
...Mr. Hoekstra has already met with a former Iraqi air force general, Georges Sada, who claims that Saddam used civilian airplanes to ferry chemical weapons to Syria in 2002. Mr. Hoekstra is now talking to Iraqis who Mr. Sada claims took part in the mission, and the congressman said the former air force general "should not just be discounted." ...
"Should not just be discounted" -- wow, that's a ringing endorsement!
This story ran yesterday. Like the Gaubatz story, which ran today, it's the work of Eli Lake at The New York Sun. Lake was last seen acting as Ahmed Chalabi's unofficial press agent at the Sun and elsewhere:
"Ahmad Chalabi Is on the Brink of a Comeback"
"Top Bush Aides Will Meet With Chalabi"
"Chalabi Is Emerging In Nonviolent Faction Of Shiite Opposition"
"Race For Premier Narrows to Two: Chalabi, Jafari"
"... some INC defenders believe [Senator Kerry] may be on a fishing expedition to further mar the reputation of the Iraqi National Congress and, in particular, its leader, Ahmad Chalabi...."
Well, that's it, then! I believe!