Thursday, February 16, 2006
WASHINGTON - Among the treasure trove of information captured after Saddam Hussein's fall were tape recordings of the Iraqi leader discussing weapons of mass destruction with top aides.
Transcripts of Saddam's tapes reviewed by NBC News show him ruminating about future terror attacks in the United States using weapons of mass destruction.
There still is no proof in beyond-a-reasonable doubt sense, but it is hard to imagine this conversation happening if Saddam's Iraq didn't have WMD:
“What the tapes show is that between the first gulf war and the second gulf war, Saddam Hussein had not lost his appetite for, or interest in, weapons of mass destruction,” says Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project, an advocacy group working to slow the spread of weapons of mass destruction. “To the contrary, he was almost obsessed by them.’’
Importantly, though, many U.S. intelligence experts say the 12 hours of tape does not solve the riddle of whether Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 U.S. invasion.
“It certainly shows that he was trying to deceive the U.N., but it doesn't show that he actually had weapons in his possession at the time of the invasion,” says Bill Harlow, a former CIA spokesman and an NBC News analyst.
In the transcripts, one of Saddam’s aides discusses filling missiles with germs. “Yes, the intention is that the missile will be filled with chemical or germ, and when it comes down it will cover a wider circle than the traditional missile,” the aide tells Saddam. Saddam replies: “That’s good, they are teaching us things that will be useful in the future.”
Other aides seem to discuss hiding weapons from U.N. inspectors. “We have not told them the truth about the imported material,” one says. He adds, “Where was the nuclear material transported to? A number of them were transported out of Iraq.” He also says: “We will confess, but not to the biological program.”
Much more at Pajamas Media.