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October 28, 2004
The Incredible Shrinking HMX/RDX

ABC News reported late last night that the amount of high-tech explosives at Al Qaqaa has been wildly exaggerated by Iraqi officials, the New York Times, and CBS. Rather than the 380 tons of explosives which cannot be located, new documents put the amount stashed at Al Qaqaa at around 3 tons instead (via Instapundit):

The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing presumably stolen due to a lack of security was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility.

But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over 3 tons of RDX was stored at the facility a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.

The IAEA documents could mean that 138 tons of explosives were removed from the facility long before the start of the United States launched "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in March 2003.

This is the type of research that one would have expected from a news organization that considers itself professional -- doing research before reporting on something in order to avoid decontextualizing it, or getting critical facts incorrect. In short, one would expect the geniuses at the Gray Lady to understand the difference between 3 tons and 380 tons, and to get the numbers right before publication.

ABC also reports that the IAEA "seal" hardly guaranteed security on these dangerous weapons at Al Qaqaa:

The documents show IAEA inspectors looked at nine bunkers containing more than 194 tons of HMX at the facility. Although these bunkers were still under IAEA seal, the inspectors said the seals may be potentially ineffective because they had ventilation slats on the sides. These slats could be easily removed to remove the materials inside the bunkers without breaking the seals, the inspectors noted.

Let me get this straight. The IAEA has screamed that the materials it inspected remained secure under its control until the Americans came bumbling into Iraq. However, their secure environment included holes in the walls covered by easily-removable slats -- and now they wonder how the materials could have possibly disappeared? Who are these people at the IAEA, the Keystone Kops? The most frightening aspect of this story isn't that the terrorists may have had the HMX in their hands for years now. It's that people like Mohammed ElBaradei and his staff have been entrusted with securing nuclear weapons and materials.

If anything, the attempted hit piece on President Bush by the NY Times has turned out to be quite the public service. Thanks to the extraordinarily incompetent misfire by the NYT and CBS, we now see the overwhelming bias of two major news organizations, the desperation and gullibility of John Kerry, and the incredible failure of the UN to provide any kind of security in an age of Islamist terror and state sponsorship.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 28, 2004 5:35 AM

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» Mrs.Edwards Weighs More from Conservative Revolution
Looks like John Kerry just ran through the chicken coop, because dude is covered with egg. As if he didn't look bad enough when we found out the Russians moved it out. Now we see that there weren't 377 tons of explosives, there were only 3 tons. It ... [Read More]

Tracked on October 28, 2004 9:05 AM

» 3 Tons or 377 Tons? from Secure Liberty
This story just keeps spinning out of control. It seems that we may be talking about only three tons of missing RDX, not over 300 tons. (h/t Captain's Quarters). Again, there's no evidence that it went missing on our watch anyway, so the "who cares?"... [Read More]

Tracked on October 28, 2004 11:53 AM

» NYTroGate 3 from QandO
Im close to throwing up my hands at the NYTroGate story, and declaring myself confused. Read the right side of the punditocracy, and youll discover that this story has been completely debunked; read the left side of the punditocracy, and youll fin... [Read More]

Tracked on October 29, 2004 12:20 PM

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