Remember that dichotomy from Shakespeare 101? I was thinking of it often while helping make the videos on the Intelligence Summit that will shortly be appearing on the Pajamas WMDFiles site, specifically when doing my interview with Bill Tierney, the UNSCOM investigator who is at the center of the Saddam tapes controversy. I wanted to like Tierney, I mean really like him, but I have to admit that I was put off by his excessive religiosity. Byron York has his view of this in “He Shall Direct Thy Path to the Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Byron was interviewing Tierney immediately before me and it was easy to see where the NRO writer was headed. By the time the former military intelligence officer opened up to our camerars, well, you will see the results shortly. (What is it about UNSCOM that made it collect such bizarre personalities – Scott Ritter… Tierney?)
Nevertheless, I suspect Tierney was telling the truth as he knew it – and not just because Christ was “whispering in his ear.” The man clearly has a great command of Arabic, including the Tikriti dialect, and of the culture. His translation of the Saddam Tapes is most likely more accurate than the one offered by ABC, although I of course would have no way of knowing. It is obviously only a hunch on my part. The most interesting part of the tapes to me, however, was not the discussion of “biologicals” whose translation is under dispute. Later in the tapes, we hear an Iraqi scientist reporting to Saddam about their plasma program. Plasma is a key ingredient in the development of thermonuclear weapons. That was in the year 2000. Those who dismiss these tapes as ancient history ought to think about that.