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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Circular Firing Squad of Flying Attack Monkeys II

Hovering around a pile of HMX and RDX and firing away at it.

Josh Marshall quotes Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita

"We do not know when -- if those weapons did exist at that facility -- they were last seen, and under whose control they were last in ... It's very possible -- certainly it's plausible -- that it was the Saddam Hussein regime that last had control of these things."

In the October 25 press gaggle Scott McClellan said

"MR. McCLELLAN: See, that's -- now you just hit on what I just said a second ago, that the sites now are really -- my understanding, they're the responsibility of the Iraqi forces. "

OK so maybe the explosives were looted before Coalition forces passed through in April 2003 or maybe they were looted after responsibility was transferred to the Iraqi Interim Government in 2004, but, in any case Iraqis and not Americans and certainly not GWB are too blame. The dinar stops there.

Trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong and who is responsible, McClellan manages to note that "sometime after April 9th 2003" could be long after April 9th 2003

"Q On the tick-tock, do you know if the missing munitions, if they were looted before or after the handover June 30th? Was this -- happened when the coalition was in control or when the Allawi government --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, no. First of all, I said that they reported that it went missing sometime after April 9th, 2003. Remember, early on -- during and at the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there was some looting."

They just found out about it says McClellan

"MR. McCLELLAN: Maybe the best way to do this is kind of walk you through how we came to be informed about this. The Iraqi Interim Government informed -- told the IAEA -- the International Atomic Energy Agency on October 10th that there were approximately 350 tons of high explosives missing from Al Qaqaa in Iraq. ... And the International Atomic Energy Agency informed the United States mission in Vienna on October 15th about these -- this cache of explosives that was missing ...

Q When did the President find out?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, we were informed on October 15th. Condi Rice was informed days after that. This is all in the last, what, 10 days now."

But they had to keep it secret to protect intelligence sources and methods, in particluar the new untested approach of looking in the bunkers to see if they have been emptied, which our adversaries could never ever imagine we would have neglected to do (oops I mean thought of doing).

CNN Via Josh Marshall

"One 'senior administration official' tells CNN that "the
discovery was not made public sooner because standard intelligence practice is not to let the enemy know such information.""

The explosives in the hands of terrorists are no big deal

"A senior administration official played down the importance of the missing explosives, describing them as dangerous material but "stuff you can buy anywhere." "

but too risky to leave in Saddam Hussein's Iraq under IAEA seal as noted by Josh Marshall (of course)

"But interestly, on January 30th 2003, when then-UN Ambassador (and now Ambassador to Iraq) John Negroponte testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about Iraqi non-compliance with the inspections regime, one of the items in the long bill of particulars he adduced was the fact that the Iraqis had not come clean about their stocks of HMX."

Finally McClellan almost manages to be a one man circular firing squad

"Q One last one on the tick-tock. These notices from Iraq to IAEA to U.S. to Condi to President happened over days as opposed to hours. Was there just no sense of urgency that what they had discovered here was really an important --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, just -- no, I think that this has all happened in a -- just the last few days. We're talking about the last 10 days."

Edited that is

"days as opposed to hours" ... "No, just - no ... 10 days"

Bad taste I must say talking about the tick-tock in the context of time bombs. Not good for Scotties ticker.

By the way, he does seem to measure time very approximately and I just noticed that his Last name looks a bit like the (not quite correct) Roman Numeral for 1350 AD MCCLLL AD. Sure hope I don't get to circular firing squad of flying attack monkeys MCCL.

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