I blogged last week about several hours of audio tapes that the House Permanent Select Committee was studying which contained conversations with Saddam Hussein regarding weapons of mass destruction. Tonight, via ABCNews Nightline we’ll get to hear some of those recordings:
Feb. 15, 2006 — ABC News has obtained 12 hours of tape recordings of Saddam Hussein meeting with top aides during the 1990s, tapes apparently recorded in Baghdad’s version of the Oval Office.
ABC News obtained the tapes from Bill Tierney [ST adds: this Bill Tierney] a former member of a United Nations inspection team who translated them for the FBI. Tierney said the U.S. government is wrong to keep these tapes and others secret from the public. “Because of my experience being in the inspections and being in the military, I knew the significance of these tapes when I heard them,” says Tierney. U.S. officials have confirmed the tapes are authentic, and that they are among hundreds of hours of tapes Saddam recorded in his palace office.
One of the most dramatic moments in the 12 hours of recordings comes when Saddam predicts — during a meeting in the mid 1990s — a terrorist attack on the United States. “Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before August 2 and told the British as well â€¦ that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction.” Saddam goes on to say such attacks would be difficult to stop. “In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?” But he adds that Iraq would never do such a thing. “This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq.”
Also at the meeting was Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who said Iraq was being wrongly accused of terrorism. “Sir, the biological is very easy to make. It’s so simple that any biologist can make a bottle of germs and drop it into a water tower and kill 100,000. This is not done by a state. No need to accuse a state. An individual can do it.”
The tapes also reveal Iraq ‘s persistent efforts to hide information about weapons of mass destruction programs from U.N. inspectors well into the 1990s. In one pivotal tape-recorded meeting, which occurred in late April or May of 1995, Saddam and his senior aides discuss the fact that U.N. inspectors had uncovered evidence of Iraq’s biological weapons program—a program whose existence Iraq had previously denied.
At one point Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law and the man who was in charge of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction efforts can be heard on the tapes, speaking openly about hiding information from the U.N.
“We did not reveal all that we have,” Kamel says in the meeting. “Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct.” Shortly after this meeting, in August 1995, Hussein Kamel defected to Jordan, and Iraq was forced to admit that it had concealed its biological weapons program. (Kamel returned to Iraq in February 1996 and was killed in a firefight with Iraqi security forces.)
It sounds like this tape promises to once again call into question the left’s persistent and insessant “BUSH LIED PEOPLE DIED!!!!!” rants.
The American Thinker also has a story up today that provides more insight into Iraq’s WMD programs:
Via Peter Glover’s website Wires from the bunker, we learn of an interview between Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a southern regional commander for Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen militia in the late 1980s and a personal friend of the dictator and Ryan Mauro of Worldthreats.com.
Only two weeks ago, General Sada, formerly Sadaam’s no 2 Air Force Commander, told the New York Sun that Sadaam’s WMD was moved to Syria just six weeks before the US-led invasion. Now Ali Ibrahim confirms this and explains the underlying strategy of Saddam:
I know Saddam’s weapons are in Syria due to certain military deals that were made going as far back as the late 1980’s that dealt with the event that either capitols were threatened with being overrun by an enemy nation. Not to mention I have discussed this in-depth with various contacts of mine who have confirmed what I already knew. At this point Saddam knew that the United States were eventually going to come for his weapons and the United States wasn’t going to just let this go like they did in the original Gulf War. He knew that he had lied for this many years and wanted to maintain legitimacy with the pan Arab nationalists. He also has wanted since he took power to embarrass the West and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. After Saddam denied he had such weapons why would he use them or leave them readily available to be found? That would only legitimize President Bush, who he has a personal grudge against. What we are witnessing now is many who opposed the war to begin with are rallying around Saddam saying we overthrew a sovereign leader based on a lie about WMD. This is exactly what Saddam wanted and predicted.
Moreover, Ali Ibrahim debunks other shibboleths of the left, including the allegation of no ties between al Qaeda terror and Saddam:
As far as Al-Qaeda is concerned this support was limited for a long time, mainly due to the fact that Al-Qaeda had the hopes of creating an Islamic empire while Saddam wanted a secular Arab nationalist empire. They only really came to terms in the mid-90’s due to the fact that both knew they shared the same short term enemy. Once they came to terms on this Saddam provided Al-Qaeda with intelligence support and whatever money or munitions they could provide. Saddam has had very long standing contacts in the black market as well as with Moscow and would provide whatever munitions he could through these contacts.
Read the whole thing.
Of course, none of this will stop the “BUSH LIED PEOPLE DIED!!!!!” chants coming from the usual suspects, but more and more information keeps coming out that backs up the President’s claims about the potential threat Saddam posed, and why we had to take him out. So many bloggers and others on the left in the opinion media keep misreporting what Charles Duelfer, who took David Kay’s place as leader of the Iraq Survey Group which was in charge of overseeing the search for WMD in post-Saddam Iraq, said about Saddam Hussein’s quest for WMDs. He didn’t rule out the possibility of them being moved to Syria – just said it couldn’t be confirmed one way or the other. Of course there were and are still piles of documents that neither Kay nor Duelfer sifted through. Stephen Hayes writes:
Estimates from people involved in the document exploitation project tell us the U.S. government has in its possession some 2 million “exploitable items.” Of that number, less than 3 percent–somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 items–have been fully exploited. The information that will be made public by the end of this week–28 captured al Qaeda documents and 12 hours of audiotape from Iraq–will provide a glimpse of a fraction of a fraction of the total collection.
Hayes cautions not to overhype nor dismiss the tapes because they don’t prove Saddam had WMD in Iraq at the time the war started. But this new information coming out from these tapes (from what I’ve read) show a serious intent to thwart UN weapons inspectors at every turn, a support for mass terror against America, and a willingness to create WMD as necessary.
Thank you, GWB, for making the decision you made to take out a sworn enemy of this country. In a post 9-11 world, it was the right thing to do. And thanks to the US military and our coalition partners, who’ve been a tremendous help in the fight against terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all over the world.
Read more commentary on this via Jeff Goldstein, Lorie Byrd at Polipundit, Suitably Flip, Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred, The Sundries Shack, Say Anything
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