June 25, 2003

NOT SO MUCH A SMOKING GUN as a gun factory, apparently:

U.S. investigators in Iraq have found equipment for a nuclear weapons program and millions of detailed documents relating to chemical and biological weapons, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday. . . .

Three U.S. officials told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that an Iraqi scientist who was part of what Saddam called his “nuclear mujahadeen” had led intelligence officials to a barrel in a residential garden in an undisclosed part of Iraq, where they found plans for a nuclear centrifuge and components of a uranium enrichment system.

The sources said the plans, the discovery of which was first reported by CNN, dated back to the end of the first Gulf War, when Saddam was already widely known to be seeking such weapons, and came as no great surprise.

Sources told NBC News’ Jim Miklaszewski that within just the past week, U.S. investigators had found two shipping containers filled with millions of much more recent documents relating to chemical and biological weapons.

One of the documents, from 2001, was titled “Document burial and U.N. Activities in Iraq,” the sources said. It gave detailed instructions on how to hide materials and deceive U.N. weapons inspectors, the sources said.

Other documents related to the concealment of VX nerve gas, the sources said.

Then there’s this:

Obeidi told CNN the parts of a gas centrifuge system for enriching uranium were part of a highly sophisticated system he was ordered to hide so as to be ready to rebuild the bomb program at some time in the future.

“I have very important things at my disposal that I have been ordered to have, to keep, and I’ve kept them, and I don’t want this to proliferate, because of its potential consequences if it falls in the hands of tyrants, in the hands of dictators or of terrorists,” said Obeidi, who has been taken out of Iraq with the help of the U.S. government.

WMD has never been the key reason for war, in my opinion, but this sounds like pretty clear proof of “material breach” to me (assuming, of course, that these reports pan out). And Saddam certainly suffered the promised “serious consquences,” didn’t he?

Of course, the usual suspects will no doubt claim that these were all planted by the Bushitler and his cabal of evil (Jewish) neoconservative handlers.