ABC News Report: Video Suggests Explosives Disappeared After US Took Control: Evidence Indicates US Military Opened Al-Qaqaa Bunkers, Left Them Unguarded, a report that came right after the same network’s Discrepancy Found in Explosives Amounts: Documents Show Iraqis May Be Overstating Amount of Missing Material. Jim Geraghty explains,
at first glance, it appears to make the case that when the 101st Airborne Division arrived on April 18, 2003, there was still a large supply of explosive materials in the facility.
But there are still a few problems with this story.
. . . Specifically there are 79 other substances and types of explosive material and supporting equipment that would get the 1.1 D label, including gunpowder, flexible detonating cord, photo-flash bombs, mines, nitroglycerin, rocket warheads, grenades, fuzes, torpedoes and charges. And few of them require any liquid dilution.
Is what’s on this news report video HMX, RDX, or PETN? Possibly, if the material inside is some sort of diluting liquid that we didn’t see on the tape, or if the Iraqis were storing these high-grade explosives in an unsafe manner. Or it could be one of the 79 other substances. Or some containers could have the big three, and some could have others.
As usual, it is foolish for folks to jump in and conclude that they know what was in the containers without gathering all of the facts. How many Kerry-backing writers who will cite this video as a smoking gun are familiar with what materials are classified 1.1D?
Problem two: This doesn’t quite explain the internal IAEA documents ABC reported that suggested that significant amounts were gone before the invasion began.
Problem three: This doesn’t quite explain the Pentagon’s satellite photos of large numbers of trucks leaving the facilities before the war.
Problem four: This doesn’t quite explain how all this could be taken down a road full of heavily armed U.S. forces, under skies full of coalition warplanes.
Problem five: This doesn’t quite explain why none of this explosive has to date shown up in any Iraqi insurgent attack
Belmont Club points out that the IAEA “had not actually looked inside the bunkers and seen the actual RDX during its last mission in March, 2003 but had had simply relied upon the existence of the seals for verification.”
while it is possible for about 350 tons of RDX to be lurking unremarked in the bunker outside the field of view visited by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, it is not likely. So the journalist’s pictures are it or nothing. If the boxes in the videos are not identified as containers of dual-use or IAEA controlled explosives, and are in fact merely ordinary munitions behind UN seal it will be devastating for Baradei.
. . .
A variety of scenarios are possible from this data. First, 350 tons of RDX were in the warehouse when 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS visited but no one recognized it and it was subsequently stolen, either carried off on foot by looters or loaded into dozens of flatbeds with no one the wiser. The second is that it was taken in the time between the departure of the IAEA staff and the arrival of US forces. The third was that it was already gone behind the flimsy seal even during the last UN inspection.
Captain’s Quarters notices that Fifteen paragraphs into the story, the [NY] Times finally tells its readers that it cannot even confirm that the video was shot at Al Qaqaa“.