Friday, May 16, 2003

In the hours before U.S. bombs began falling on the Iraqi capital, one of Saddam Hussein's sons and a close adviser carried off nearly $1 billion in cash from the country's Central Bank, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials....

Some Americans said they suspect the money may have been spirited across the border into Syria, in much the same way some senior officials in Saddam's government were believed to have fled Iraq.

Col. Ted Seel, a U.S. Army Special Forces officer who said he knew about the seizure of money, said intelligence information at the time indicated that a group of tractor-trailers crossed the Iraqi border into Syria.

--Dexter Filkins in The New York Times, May 6, 2003

The night after President Bush gave him 48 hours to surrender, Saddam Hussein sent his son Qusay to the vault of Iraq's Central Bank to make a modest withdrawal for the family's departure.

It took three tractor-trailers to haul away nearly a billion dollars in cash — all in $100 U.S. greenbacks — plus $100 million worth of euros. Thus did Saddam & Sons bring off the grandest larceny in bank history....

The stolen billion was probably driven out of Iraq on March 18, the night before the war began. Across which of its borders? Iran, Saddam's enemy, is least likely; Turkey, which does not want further tensions with the U.S., unlikely; Jordan, possible; Syria, occupying Lebanon, with its corrupt Beirut banks, the most probable.

--William Safire in The New York Times, May 8, 2003

American Treasury officials announced today that they had recovered $950 million in Iraqi assets that they believe constitutes the bulk of the $1 billion looted by Saddam Hussein's family hours before war began in mid-March.

The money was found inside Iraq within the last week, they said, dispelling a theory proffered earlier by military officials in Baghdad that it might have been whisked into Syria aboard three tractor-trailers.

--Timothy L. O'Brien in The New York Times, May 15, 2003

Apparently -- shocking as this may seem to conservatives -- you don't have to be an affirmative-action hire to publish articles in The New York Times that are utterly at odds with objective reality. And you don't have to black, either -- Safire's white, obviously, as is Dexter Filkins.

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