Bill Safire counts no less than five smoking guns:
Prosecutor Powell laid out on tape and in photographs hard evidence that would convince any jury. A colonel is overheard telling his superior: “We have this modified vehicle. What do we say if one of them sees it?” The general, amazed at the stupidity of failing to remove equipment purchased from a known weapons-systems company, replies: “You don’t have one of those, do you?” The panicked colonel, to reassure his boss, blurts, “We evacuated everything.” Concealment of evidence. Cover-up.
Another tape from a different obstructor of inspectors: “We sent you a message yesterday to clean out all of the areas. . . . Make sure there is nothing there. . . . After you have carried out what is contained in this message, destroy the message. . . .” Destruction of evidence. Cover-up.
And then, contrary to all expectations, there was an “Adlai Stevenson moment”: The U.S. secretary of state displayed to the world aerial photographs showing trucks next to a bunker storing what signs say are chemical munitions. Behind the truck is what he called “a signature item: It’s a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong.”
Then he showed a photograph of the same area just as U.N. inspectors are arriving. Gone were the trucks and the telltale decontaminators. The area had been sanitized for inspection, not only showing cover-up but also demonstrating that the U.N. team has been penetrated by Iraqi wiretaps and bugs.
Need more? Saddam’s agents, aware of our electronic surveillance, transmitted cover-up instructions by hand and not over telephone wires. “Remove the expression `nerve agents,’ ” ordered one official who forgot that the purpose of his call was to conceal those words from our Big Ear, “in the wireless instructions.”
Remember, the onus is on Saddam to cooperate fully under the terms of UNSC Resolution 1441, or else face dire consequences