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October 29, 2004
IAEA Seals In ABC Report Don't Match Missing Explosives

Alert CQ reader Boaz B. noticed a detail in the ABC video that apparently has escaped the notice of their reporters and editors. According to the shot shown here, the IAEA seal on the cache found by the soldiers and filmed by the embedded crew did not match the inventory for HMX and RDX stored at Al Qaqaa:

If you review the pictures on the KSTP web site that has the ABC video everyone is using you can see a very clear picture of a seal with its number (#144322). The PDF document of the UN inspections available show the numbers of the seals and none of them have that number. Therefore, it is clear that the bunkers that ABC videoed were not the ones that held the HMX the UN inspected.

Here's a picture of the relevant page of the PDF, which I don't have a link to at the moment:

This demonstrates that the news crew didn't have any idea what they videotaped, and whatever it was, it wasn't the HMX or RDX at Al-Qaqaa. I'd like to find out exactly what was under seal #144322; if anyone has an indexed IAEA inventory, let's find out.

UPDATE: Instapundit says that the seal pictured was one of many at the Al Qaqaa complex, so it's entire possible that this means little or nothing. More as it develops.

UPDATE II: Looking at the IAEA report from its inspection on January 14, 2003, this seal did not cover any of the IAEA materials at Al Qaqaa. Here are the seal numbers that were used to keep the HMX and RDX under wraps:


None of these numbers are even close in sequence to the number shown in the ABC report. Moreover, on page 3 of the report, the IAEA concludes that Al Qaqaa only contains 3,080 kilograms of RDX, or around 3 tons. The amount of HMX noted at the time was 194,741 kg, or about 214 tons. PETN comes in at 3500 kg, or 4 tons. Where does the IAEA come up with 377 tons of material at Al Qaqaa?

I note that some are saying that the picture of the seal is a stock photograph [confirmed, thanks to NZ Bear]. It's an incredibly misleading placement for this story, and it's not labeled as such. Having it as part of their story without mentioning where it originated certainly leaves the reader with the impression that it was photographed at the site contemporaneous to the video.

UPDATE III: During the replay of the video shown by ABC, I saw one seal that ended in either '86' or '66', which wouldn't match the IAEA report from January 2003.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 29, 2004 10:30 AM

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