NY Times Confirms Iraqi Nuclear Weapons Program

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From diaries, this is quite the story to chew on. The hot debate over the coming days will undoubtedly center on the Times' statement that "Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away." The question, of course, is whether "at the time" means what it appears to mean: 2002.

-Dan McLaughlin

The NYTimes is offering its inevitable anti-Bush November surprise in its Friday edition. Here was the Drudge summary of the article.

NYT REPORTING FRIDAY, SOURCES SAY: Federal government set up Web site — Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal — to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war; detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research; a 'basic guide to building an atom bomb'... Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency fear the information could help Iran develop nuclear arms...

Jim Geraghty at TKS nails it in his description of what this means:

What? Wait a minute. The entire mantra of the war critics has been "no WMDs, no WMDs, no threat, no threat", for the past three years solid. Now we're being told that the Bush administration erred by making public information that could help any nation build an atomic bomb.

Let's go back and clarify: IRAQ HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANS SO ADVANCED AND DETAILED THAT ANY COUNTRY COULD HAVE USED THEM.

Read on...

Read that last sentence again. What was the main argument for the war in Iraq? The potential of Iraq to offer terrorists access to weapons of mass destruction. What do these document prove? That Sadaam nearly had the know-how to develop we most fear falling into the hands of people like Osama bin Laden.

Geraghty again:

I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a "Boy, did Bush screw up" meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the "there was no threat in Iraq" meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh... al-Qaeda.

The New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous to it.

The antiwar crowd is going to have to argue that the information somehow wasn't dangerous in the hands of Saddam Hussein, but was dangerous posted on the Internet. It doesn't work. It can't be both no threat to America and yet also somehow a threat to America once it's in the hands of Iran. Game, set, and match.

Indeed.

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

So according to the Times, we invaded Iraq just in time to prevent it from going nuclear.

never get in a watering competition with a man who buys ink by the barrel.

I am certain that this was Pinch's "November Surprise" (this will put a nail in Bush's coffin, heh heh heh.) I completely agree with Geraghty's assessment and was thinking the same thing when I read the NYT item. But just who do you suppose is going to make Geraghty's point to the general public? You know them, that 80% of Americans who still get their lies news from the MSM. WaPo? CNN? NewsWeak? What chance does this interpretation have of getting to the greater American public?

I'd be delighted if it works out that way but I seriously doubt it; the MSM still controls the lies news.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

BushLied™. We know BushLied® because there were no WMDs in Iraq no matter what Saddam thought but Bush gave the State of the Union address and said 16 words he shouldn't have said and he knew it and Karl Rove plotted it all with Diebold to win Ohio and they had a rush to war and planned 9/11 to gen up hysteria so the Swiftboaties could help him commit Global Warming crimes against humanity with Katrina and Haliburton profits paid for it because it was all about oil anyway.

[Ahem]

Sorry. Recommended.

--
Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

Jamie Risen, Clinton provided Iran with nuclear blueprints.

This sounds so unbelievable I had to read the Times article to believe they actually wrote something like that.

For three years, the NYT and many other MSM papers have been beating President Bush and Republicans incessantly over the lack of WMD's found in Iraq, and claiming that Bush "lied" or "misled" us into war, and now we find out that Bush and the CIA were right, and overturned a brutal dictator (who had already invaded two other countries)less than a year before he would have had a nuclear bomb. Even if we have lost nearly 3,000 soldiers, a nuclear bomb in the hands of Saddam would kill many more Americans than that!

And they reveal this FOUR DAYS before a Congressional election? Forget about BushLied...Bush saved lives!

This has got to be spread around...quickly!!!

The bad news: Conservatism is hard to sell. The good news is that it works.

You're talking about the same group of people have no problem simultaneously claiming that (a) the President is a drooling idiot, and (b) he hoodwinked nearly the entire senate into authorizing military action in Iraq. Or that (a) Bush is an idiot because he invaded Iraq, and (b) Bush is an idiot because he's not invading North Korea.

I know it's in poor form to drag the Nazis into an argument, but it's always reminded me of how Hitler was able to simultaneously claim that the Joooos were (a) subhuman beasts who had (b) secretly been ruling the world for generations.

Bottom line is that the anti-war crowd is going to beleive what it wants to beleive, and are not going to be hindered by what appears to us adults to be logical inconsistancies.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

...but maybe those who initially supported the war and are now having reservations about it (Bill Buckley?) will feel some comfort or vindication.

I wrote an E-mail to O'Reilly, Hannity, and Special Report over at FoxNews about the article, we'll see whether they pick up on it. Maybe this won't convince the moonbats on the extreme left, but we only need a few percent in the middle to hold the House and the Senate.

The bad news: Conservatism is hard to sell. The good news is that it works.

Sorry but this is a largely useless story.

It is not terribly difficult to get the know how on how to build a nuclear weapon. We built one 60 years. The information IS available. Heck Tom Clancy spent a year or so researching and discovered how to do it.

That is not the challenge in building a nuclear weapon. The challenge is in obtaining the appropriate materials and building the appropriate mechanisms. It is no small task. You need the appropriate type and amount of Uranium isotope, often plutonium. It needs to be shaped in a very specific way. The firing mechanism is an extremely delicate device that takes advanced machinery to build.

Having the blue prints is only the beginning. And, truth be told, it isn't that hard to get the blue prints.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

... you are right.

But not in terms of driving a stake through the left's favorite meme BushLied™.
The possiblilities are either:
a) the documents are meaningful and represent significant Iraq work on a bomb as claimed by the NYT in which case BushDidNotLie™ and the left is, as usual, wrong; or
b) the documents are meaningless, the original claim that there was no weapons program is true and BushLied™ in which case why is the Times making a big deal out of them; or
c) there is no (c).


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

the fact that he was as little as one year away from making it, and we invaded during that year ought to make you take pause, FH.

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Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. -The Fray, "All At Once"

Having some documents on how to build the bomb does not mean you are nearly ready to build one.

Let's remember that Saddam & Friends were much further along in building a bombing 20 years ago, prior to the Israeli attack on his nuclear facilities. He likely knew then how to build a bomb. That doesn't mean he had made any further strides prior to our attack.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

I will choose to believe the experts cited in the article and not you. They say Hussein was going to build a bomb in as little as one year, and I think they had access to a lot more information, and had a better understanding of that information, than you or I ever did or ever will.

--------
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. -The Fray, "All At Once"

close to building a bomb in 1991. Not in 2002.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

In 2002, as mentioned in the article and noted Several times on this very website (admittedly iecemeal), we STILL had the know-how And the materials in 2002. Also specifically stated in the article were Hussein's advances in the direction of Nuclear weapon production beyween 1991 and 1995.

He Was Ready To Build The BOMB.

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--John Stuart Mill

Unfortunately, for the past decade, the materials are reasonably available. The primary issues are cost and having the appropriate storage/weapons lab facilities.

Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum

provide some evidence to support that claim? I ask simply because I don't understand why Iran would go through the trouble of building facilities to make the materials if they were so readily available.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

But if I'm Iran, I observe that I have a pretty large footprint in the world because I supply a strategic resource. Now, what if I were the principal supplier of a second strategic resource, viz. weapons-grade fissile material? Now I'm the belle of the ball.

When Ahmadinejad was here in NY a few weeks ago, he actually offered in so many words to supply bomb fuel to the US at half price. (Of course he was really saying: if you Americans are so hot to stop me from making nuclear fuel, then put your money where your mouth is and stop making your own.) To me this signals an intent to anchor a global trade in nuclear fuel. (Let me save you the trouble of a rejoinder: I already know that liberals believe we should ignore people when they express plans to behave badly.)

As with Iraq, however, you have to ask whether the world is a better place if certain people can make nuclear fuel. And here the standard argument on the Left is something like: we build bombs so we have no right to tell anyone else not to. This gets to the heart of the matter being discussed here: should we have pre-empted Saddam Hussein?

Many people, like Saddam, Kim Jong-Il and now Iran, have justified the pursuit of nuclear weapons as a deterrent against the United States. We do have a moral right to do everything in our power to keep other regimes from acquiring nuclear weapons. Although I'm starting to wonder if that will continue to be true if Democrats take power here. After all, remember John Kerry's offer in 2004 to supply Iran with nuclear fuel. I can easily imagine someone like Nancy Pelosi proposing to proliferate weapons-grade nuclear fuel just to prove to the world that we really are nice people after all.

Robert Frost's definition of a liberal: someone who's too broad-minded to take his own side in a fight.

That was an interesting tangent. However I wasn't looking to bring up Iran. I was merely asking why Iran is choosing to build their own processing systems if the material is ALREADY readily available to those who choose to acquire it.

BTW, so now you think Ahmadnidejad is going to be selling weapons grade material to the rest of the world? Ok. Really nothing they won't do to provoke the US and Israel, huh?

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

Really nothing they won't do to provoke the US and Israel, huh?

Thanks to the left they are convinced there is no penalty. The Democrats are all about surrender so why shouldn't Iran "provoke" us --- they are confident the Un won't do anything, the left will whine so the US won't do anything.

The only wildcard is the Israelis. Unlike the American Democrats they recognize when they are at risk --- although appeasement appears to be taking hold even there given their lackluster performance in Lebanon.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

If they feel there is no risk of penalty than they have apparently ignored the events of the past 5 years.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

they are paying close attention to the whining coming from the Democrats.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

It wasn't Democratic whines that were dropped on Afghanistan and Iraq.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

you know very well that I am talking about the whining, and threats to cut off funding, coming from Democrats now not then.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

But if they REALLY wanted to see that happen they would be trying to tone down the rhetoric. Get the fighting going on in Iraq but keep the rhetoric out of Tehran to a minimum. IF they are too beligerent the current administration could use that politically to say that the fight isn't over.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

If you may recall they recently took away satelite TV from three million of their citizens. They have internal problems they have to attend to as well,

I think Flyerhawk has inadvertaently stumbled upon a brilliant idea. Pelosi into Pyongyang and Dean into Tehran.

Parachutes optional.

"Every time some nitwit college student burns a flag on camera, that's one less idiot who can ever run for public office." - Crank

The image of Pelosi doing a HALO drop is really quite amusing, if a bit terrifying.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

...that the prevailing media message is that the Democrats are going to take Congress next week. There are a lot of countries out there that don't really grok this entire independent press thing: they know that the above isn't a clandestine hint from the true runners of the American government that it's about to change policy, but they don't really know. In their gut, that is.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

why would anyone be concerned about what we will do when the Democrats are measuring for new drapes and ordering new white flags.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

I'm certain that many of our opponents are hoping to see the Democrats win. Right or wrong they hope the Democrats will create a sea change in our foreign policy.

However that doesn't they are right or that the Democrats will fundamentally change our posture in the region. Maybe they shift focus, maybe they deprioritize Iraq. However it is unlikely that a complete pullout would occur.

We confuse rhetoric and reality too often. That goes for both sides.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

BTW, so now you think Ahmadnidejad is going to be selling weapons grade material to the rest of the world? Ok. Really nothing they won't do to provoke the US and Israel, huh?

As a country, Iran is in the energy business. Why wouldn't they extend it to nuclear material? I would.

I know there are people who think the Iranian leadership is nuts. I'm not among them. Provoking the US and Israel is a minor tactical complication for them, but it's not the point of the exercise. The real point is regional dominance, just as it was for Saddam Hussein, until we put him out of business.

Democrats and the press are constantly rolling over and showing our soft underbelly in an attempt to be better liked. All it does is make Iran's job easier. And when they do achieve their geopolitical goals, they will have no incentives to play ball with us.

Now do you see why us conservatives keep harping on the need for victory?

Saddam was trying to develop 2 or 3 bombs - not build a full-fledged weapons program like Iran and N. Korea. He had to keep his program hidden from Israel et al, so buying vice enriching was the obvious choice. Unfortunately, there are significant problems detecting a small, well-funded program.

In the aftermath of Desert Storm, we were shocked at how mature his nuclear program was. Top notch underground bunkers (german) and excellent labs (french). Therefore, when he kicked out the weapons inspectors, the general international consensus was that he was rebuilding his program. Heck, he had the money (taken from the oil-for-food program). From start-up, he would be about two years from developing a crude weapon.

Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Then what is the point of the Times alarm?

Politics? Impossible, they are an unbiased news organization.

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. -Ronald Reagan

I think that the reporter doesn't understand what he's reporting very well.

But if you feel that providing the details on how to build a bomb is a big secret then I can see how you think the Bush Administration botched it. At best a minor gotcha.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not." George Bernard Shaw

Gotcha by JPH

But if you feel that providing the details on how to build a bomb is a big secret then I can see how you think the Bush Administration botched it. At best a minor gotcha.

And according to that reporters "gotcha", we did the right thing by invading Iraq and preventing Saddam from using these documents (and more) against us. So either this story is baloney or the past three years worth of NYT headlines and Op-eds are baloney.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with choosing both, but for the people over at the NYT, I think they have some explaining to do.

I guess they don't really believe the media polls either.

IMHO, this is like when he was chasing the Road Runner. The NYT thinks they have the final nail, releasing it on one of the 2 days best for an October/November Surprise (the Thur and Fri right before the election). The left did it in 1992 (Walsh indicts Weinberger), 2000 (DUI), 2004 (alQaqaa and UBL tape). But this one is likely to do to the Coyote what that Magic Magnet always did to him.

Sitting out is a vote for KOS.

to the Today Show, Good Morning America, FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, etc.? If we get enough folks e-mailing them this story (most of these sites, if not all, encourage viewers to mail in stories they hear about) from our side of the story they may just run it with at least some modicum of truth.

--------
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. -The Fray, "All At Once"

Fox will but the others will not. The MSM thouroughly believe reality is what you make of it.

Andrew Card was on the Today Show and was asked about it. He must not have gotten the memo, however, because all he had to say was that the Republican Party was the party of security.

Is he any relation to Orson Scott?

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--John Stuart Mill

Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. -Ronald Reagan

Because it talks about the reports that had the information being prepared for the UN in 1996 and later in 2002.

Both of which contained much of the same information on his original programs and he claimed to have done nothing since the war ended in the early '90s

If Iraq was one year away from building a bomb in 1992, they were still one year away from building one in 2002. Unless you want to claim that they just forgot everything they knew in the interval.

An important facility, according to the Duelfer report, "was destroyed by IAEA in April-June
1992."
And in page 5, Duelfer says that in 1995, a "collection
of centrifuge and nuclear program documents
and equipment was given to UNSCOM and IAEA.

http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/pdf/duelfer2_c.pdf

Building a bomb doesn't just take knowledge; you also need the raw materials.

. . . The British government had learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

Iraq also had supplies of uranium already on hand. These were "under seal", much as was the case with NK and Iran who simply broke the seals.

There is simply no way for you to get away from this. Had we not taken out Saddam in 2003 we would be in the same place with him today that we are with North Korea.

The docs dated from 1991 - i.e. they were drawn up before the first Gulf War.

Didn't we spend most of the early 90s dismantling and (sometimes) bombing their facilities?

I think this is a non-story as

a) Iraq used to have a WMD program - we all knew that, the question was 'is it still active?', which these 1991 docs don't show.
b) Iran can get this stuff off the web anyway, thanks to Google.

Anyone who looks closely at this couldn't spin it in either direction. It'll fizzle out.

If Bush has now pulled the docs, I guess they were useful to the Iranians. Oh well.

You have no idea what you are talking about. The same "intelligence experts" who put the documents online have now taken them down.

Does this mean the Times will finally acknowledge that these documents exist?

You know as well as I do that if there's a drought in Madrid, it's because Bush personally pulled the wings off of a butterfly. Bush transcends time and space; his tendrils extend throughout all of recorded history. His frowns spoil milk and make men beat their mothers. His laugh kills puppies. He drinks the souls of entire worlds to power his evil. He is everywhere... until the next time that a Republican President gets sworn in, whereupon Bush will instantly transform into an amiable old guy who used to run the country. And then Democrats will ask why this new President can't be more like Bush.

Without visible irony.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

but no reason to get personal.

Ah, screw it, dude. I'm going bowling.

Since when is telling you that you got your facts wrong a personal attack? Oh, that's right, you're a Democrat and any correction of facts is a personal attack.....

*********************************************************
Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

I've always either voted R, or spoiled my ballot. And to accuse me of saying I "Don't know what I'm talking about" just cos I have Bush on my mind these days... that just makes me more depressed. C'mon, let's all just take a nice long breath here. You're right, obviously Bush didn't pull the docs himself. Sometimes it just seems easier to pin all our woes on one man, you know? Chalk this one up to a psychological reflex.

That one WAS a personal attack.

So you're an anti-Bush, but not a Democrat or a raving loony lefty? That's unusual.

May I suggest changing your strategy of spoiling ballots and just hold your node and vote R anyway? If you want to change the party, do it at primary time, not in the general. It does no good to kill the party just because you don't particularly like the current candidate. Keep the Republican majority (for all the reasons cited in multiple posts on this site) and change the direction from within.

*********************************************************
Socialism doesn't work. It looks nice on paper, but it's been tried and it's failed miserably every time (usually accompanied by widespread death and suffering).
Proud member of the V.R.W.C.

As for spoiling ballots - well, I'm afraid I'll be voting (R) for my congressman, who is a stand-up guy, but I won't be voting on the Senate. Ask me why, and I'll be tempted to rant, so in the interests of group harmony I'll just keep quiet on that one till the 8th.

...while maintaining its essential correctness in the general.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

The nuclear program was contained from 1991 to 2002. There was no progress from 1991 to 2002. in other words, no advances were made.
The 2004 Duelfer report makes it clear that:

Iraq did not possess a nuclear device, nor had it
tried to reconstitute a capability to produce nuclear
weapons after 1991..

Gio:

But, But, But. Duefer's people did not read any of these documents.

One of the shocking surprises at the end of Desert Storm was the mature sophistication of Saddam's nuclear program.

He was a year or so from having a working, although crude, nuclear weapon.

Therefore, when he kicked out the inspectors - the consensus (from various intel sources) was that the program had started up again - and the clock was ticking. Given his prior success at hiding the program in the '90's (due to advanced french labs and german underground facilities) our chances of accurately determining what stage his nuclear program was at was slim. Why would he have kicked out the inspectors if he wasn't starting the program up again?

I'm not going to get into more detail on this board - I saw the raw intel after Desert Storm and for several years after.

Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum

at all.

On pages 11 and 12 it makes quite clear that Saddam attempted to retain the capability to reconstitute its nuclear program once sanctions were lifted.

It specifically states:

ISG found a limited number of post-1995 activities that would have aided the reconstitution of the
nuclear weapons program once sanctions were lifted.

One also can't help but note that your two paragraphs are a non sequitur as while the first para is arguably true within a certain twisted context it really has nothing at all to do with your second para. Advances may not have been made, whatever one might consider "advances", but the regime did retain the capability to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program and we still know remarkably little about those efforts, as Duelfer says in his report, because the main players were not forthcoming in their interrogations.

Pinch must be really struggling.

How is the fact that Iraq was a year away from making a nuclear weapon prove that BushLied(tm)?

Yawn. I hope that our people continue to beat John Kerry over the head with his remarks - and no, i don't care that he's apologized.

"I just disproved my own argument. Where's my degree from Paul Maguire University??" -- Bill Simmons

Over the head with this story from their very own nyt(wits)...

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal comfort... has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--John Stuart Mill

1. This assumes the Duelfer report is correct. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

2. As Jon Sandor points out in #16, they didn't stuff so their knowledge is frozen a year or so away from a weapon --- subject to availability of materials and production capability of course.

3. The Clinton administration made US W88 warhead information, the most sophistcated warhead in existence, available to Iran as the result of an ill-conceived plan to trick them.

4. Iran is known to have been in contact with A Q Khan and thus had access to Pakistani derived technology

5. Iran and North Korea are close allies in weapons programs and there is some belief that the recent North Korean test may have actually been either a joint NK-Iran test or an Iranian proxy test.


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

... they didn't forget stuff ...


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

That I would ever be vindicated by the New York Times?

There's nothing quite so exhilerating as being shot at... and missed. Winston Churchill

I get the sense that the ny times was just playing Jack Nicholson on the stand in A Few Good Men?

Kaffee: Did you order the Code Red?
Col. Jessep: I did the job I...
Kaffee: [shouting] Did you order the Code Red?
Col. Jessep: [shouts] You're g--d--- right I did!

And we all see that it's over but Jessep doesn't understand: "What is this? I'm being charged with a crime? Is that what this is? I'm being charged with a crime?"

Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints - Sympathy for the Democrats

The article explicitly states:

the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. NYT

The House republicans and White House wanted the documents searched to find evidence of a reconstituted nuclear program in the late-90s/early-00s. The 2002 documents were the same that Bush complained about prior to the invasion as non-compliant with the Security Council resolutions (i.e. the 1991 documents).

But because there were so many documents Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Peter Hoekstra pressured Negraponte to post the following documents on the web for any terrorist cell to download:

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

So now there's greater than a 1% chance that terrrorists or the axis of evil or the next radical country has information on building nuclear weapons that are "beyond what is available elsewhere". Nice. Competence abounds.

do unto others...

thanks to the Clinton/Albright deal, then it seems safe to assume that any such technology was already available to any US enemy.

Experts the world over, including experts in the US government, seem to disagree with you...

Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency...One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
...

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums.
...

“For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible,” said A. Bryan Siebert, a former director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which runs the nation’s nuclear arms program. “There’s a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so.”
...

And talk about prophetic words....

Some intelligence officials feared that individual documents, translated and interpreted by amateurs, would be used ,out of context to second-guess the intelligence agencies’ view that Mr. Hussein did not have unconventional weapons or substantive ties to Al Qaeda.

Now I'm pretty sure this will turn out to be a cock-up by some careless paper pusher in the agency, but what's really interesting is what this whole website business says about cocked-up Republican priorities. A few more juicy quotes (emphases added):

Reviewing the documents for release would add an unnecessary burden on busy intelligence analysts, they argued
...

Yesterday, before the site was shut down, Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Mr. Hoekstra [one of many Republican congressmen who pressured for the site] said the complaints about the site “didn’t sound like a big deal,”

The precise review process that led to the posting of the nuclear and chemical-weapons documents is unclear. But in testimony before Congress last spring, a senior official from Mr. Negroponte’s office, Daniel Butle,...said, the policy was to “be biased towards release if at all possible.”
...
But surely they at least looked over potential sensitive documents very carefully before plastering them all over the web, right? Well, not so much...

Government officials say all the documents in Arabic have received at least a quick review by Arabic linguists.

Once again, clear evidence that the Republicans will cut any corners if they see political advantage in it. National security? To them it's just a campaign tactic.

Better stick to the Kerry gaffe, folks, it's all you've got left. You know, the one where he meant to say George Bush's ignorance has got us stuck in Iraq?

Bush lied about WMD. The Congressional GOP wanted to try to disprove that rather than accept they'd been duped, so they pushed for faster release of captured docs. All these docs did was prove that Saddam was active until 1991 but didn't do anything wrong after that. The net result of releasing them was to prove that Saddam was honorable and all we succeeded in was giving everyone in the world his pre-1991 nuclear technology.

Is that more or less the correct summary?

You obviously didn't read what you just wrote did you?

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

all the italics and bolds and whatnot. But did you bother to actually read the article before you turned your Cut-N-Paster® loose?

I had to go in and fix the html so it'd be more readable, not to mention stop screwing up the rest of the page.

Remember, people: Preview Is Your Friend.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

I suppose the Republicans should have done what the Democrats did, and simply give Iran the blueprints for a nuclear weapon.

National security? To them it's just a campaign tactic.

Better stick to talking about Foley, its all you have left.

A senior American intelligence official who deals routinely with atomic issues said the documents showed “where the Iraqis failed and how to get around the failures.” The documents, he added, could perhaps help Iran or other nations making a serious effort to develop nuclear arms, but probably not terrorists or poorly equipped states. The official, who requested anonymity because of his agency’s rules against public comment, called the papers “a road map that helps you get from point A to point B, but only if you already have a car.”


John
--------
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.
... Jean-François Revel

I meant to add that if these plans alone made Saddam a threat in 2003, then thanks to the Bush administration every terrorist and tinpot with an internet connection is now an equal threat. Way to go, guys!

Brilliant! You've nailed the entire crux of the Bushies evil plot to embroil the country in an unwinable war to distract us knuckle-dragging rubes from an economy better than Clinton's. How did RedState ever survive without your genius lo these many years?

Because of course they had precisely no other way to get those plans from Saddam's archives prior to their release by the evil-con Bush Administration. Because, of course, Saddam had nooooooooooooo ties to aaaaaaaaaany terrorist organizations and/or tinpot dictators at aaaaaaaaaallll. Right?

Welcome, troll. Enjoy your brief stay here at RedState.

We all look forward to your "I got banned at RedState for Speaking Truth to Power™, maaaaaaaaaaan!" diary with great anticipation.

-------------
"I don't know." -- Helen Thomas, when asked by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, "Are we at war, Helen?"

Ah, the sounds of love! Soo-weee! Oink! Oink!

What happens next, happened.

-----------
Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.

Is there anything better, on a chilly New England morning, than a little bacon?

Well, it being Friday and all I'll be skipping that particular treat - but there's always tomorrow!

-------------
"I don't know." -- Helen Thomas, when asked by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, "Are we at war, Helen?"

I don't know which is worse, listening to Bradshaw singing on the air or reading these new memes that the KosKids are peddling, right on cue.

Meme, or mime. Marcel Marceau, to the white courtesy phone, please.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

You are saying that these plans did not make Saddam a threat, but that they do make every terrorist in the world a threat?

You're not even smart enough to realize how stupid you are.

Nice try. "These plans" were variants of Little Boy and Fat Man. Each of which were completed sixty years ago. The plans for those two bombs are in the wild already. I guarantee you that if you use those two sixty year old plans to build copies, and use them on Hiroshima again, the Japanese will not be happy.

Do you people actually believe that the Iranians, who have been in the plutonium game for twenty years, will now score a big breakthrough because of Saddam's documents which prove, by the way, that he had an atomic weapons program? That's what the IAEA believes, apparently, which speaks volumes about their competence (actually, it speaks volumes about their political intent, which was the whole point of the article...).

I mean, do you actually think you can peddle the argument that Iran and North Korea exist in some sort of tabula rasa vacuum and don't know how to do their own enrichment and their own atomic research? And that they needed us and our captured documents from Saddam to complete their weapons program? Or that terrorists can't get plans from the Persians?

This after we have been roundly criticizing the Clintons for giving away the store to the DPRK because we knew that the Norks would be able to do it themselves once the pressure was off?

This is sixty year old technology. How stupid do you people think the American public actually is? And just how stupid do you people think we are here?

Please go back to Kos and peddle this stuff.

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

From the AP article I read, an enormous number (millions) of iraqi documents were released, much of it in arabic, and the National Intelligence Director, John Negroponte, acknowledged that the release of these documents involved some risk. From a different article (June 11, 2006 Wichita Eagle) I learned a little more about the motivation behind the release of these documents: "The idea is that thousands of eyes on open records will do a better job of interpreting intelligence than the eyes of a few military experts."

Ultimately, I too am somewhat uncomfortable with this program, and it seems like kind of a two-edged sword. But leave it to the NY Times to focus exclusively on the risks, with no mention of the possible benefits. The idea that thousands of eyes can do a better job interpreting is absolutely true. Think back on the Dan Rather Bush/National Guard document fiasco. Public access to the alleged National Guard memo allowed the document to be quickly discredited as an obvious forgery, and probably saved the election for Bush.

Regarding nuclear weapons, I have to agree with some of the other posters that plans on weapon design have been widely known (and available on the Internet) for years, and the limiting factor is in the actual production of a working device. Even so, I have to wonder if there is other technical information (not widely known) in these documents that actually could be useful in weapons production, so I am glad Mr. Negroponte has suspended public access pending further review.

This is a pretty desparate move by the Times. I expect the fisking of this story to proceed pretty rapidly, but just to get the ball rolling:

The first classification expert they quote in this article is A. Bryan Siebert, who from 1992 until he retired in 2002 was in charge of classifcation policy review for the Department of Energy under Hazel O'Leary. One of Siebert's primary responsibilities was overseeing her "Openness Initiative." From his bio:

The goal of the initiative, which occurred from 1993 to 2000, was to peel back unnecessary secrecy by revising the department's classification practices. Also participating in the review were the departments of Defense and State and the CIA, as well as the French and British governments. At Siebert's direction, public meetings were held across the nation, allowing citizens to express their views about classification and declassification. The Openness Initiative, of which Siebert was a driving force, resulted in the careful declassification of large amounts of material, which were made available to the public on the Internet and at four press conferences.

So the Times' first witness for their prosecution is the man who was responsible -- for a decade -- for releasing large amounts of previously classified information to the public. He was literally "Dr. Glasnost" under the Clinton Administration, but now the Times is tapping him to criticize the Bush administration's policy on the release of this material?

Four days before an election?
When the Europeans had, according to the article, been looking at the material for a long time, and it was "popular quarry for legions of bloggers?"

C'mon folks. What's happened here is that the Bush Administration has ticked off some Viennese diplomats, and the New York Times is rushing to come to their aid. Big deal. Move on.

For example, here's Siebert's affadavit in support of not classifiying the intelligence budget of the Department of Energy.

11. As a matter of sound security policy, unnecessary classification is to be avoided since it imposes financial and operational costs on the government. As a matter of good public policy, unnecessary classification is to be avoided because it impedes oversight and accountability. In my opinion, the classification of the intelligence budget total is unnecessary and therefore unwise. It should be disclosed, just as the DOE intelligence budget total has safely been for many years.

When Siebert was in charge of classification over at the DOE, his stated preference was to declassify as much information as possible, and keep it that way -- including the amount of money that the DOE was spending on intelligence, and presumably quite a bit of the breakdown of that spending -- or at least as much as could be ascertained with a pocket calculator. So now he has a difference of opinion with the Bush administration, and he and a few disgruntled Yurps who are feeling neglected have decided to make it an issue in the pages of the New York Times, four days before the midterm elections, no less.

And the Matt Lauers of the MSM will bow and nod and simper. The downfall of journalism proceeds apace, wth the popcorn drive-by fellow-travellers of the TV networks unable to think for themselves.

This proves Iraq was after nukes, knew a lot about nukes, and was probably in Niger seeking yellowcake uranium, despite what the noted statesman Amb. Wilson avered in the very NYT that is outing Iraqi nuke info!

The irony will be lost on the eunuchate at the NYT, but proves that liberals are stuck on stupid as well as against being "stuck" in Iraq.

The Republicans polarized the country. Thts why they threw truth under a bus.

Threadjack!!!!

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it"-Winston Churchill

5 by Socrates

--
Evil men hide from the truth, but good men stand upon it.

And this is a slightly off-topic post, but I want to give people a heads up right now that the Times' recent interest in the extent of this administration's declassification is going to have important ramifications for Coburn-Obama. Be prepared to fight that battle, because given the Times' editorial proclivities, the "sunshine" that that legislation is designed to provide into the federal contracting process -- especially defense contracting -- is going to be used as a weapon by the Times as surely as the sun rises tomorrow.

Not to sound too dire, but mark my words.

...suddenly becoming the #1 guardian watchdog of National Security.

Does anyone, right or left, doubt for a minute that the NYT would have filed a lawsuit to publish these documents if the Bush administration had decided not to publish them?

The threat of al Qaeda sleeper cells operating in our midst is as serious a threat as nukes, but far be it from the administration to want to compile their phone call records.

The policies and positions they take have no consistency, other than being consistently anti-Bush (and, as often as not, anti-American).

As being a 5 in the complex plane. ;)

The reason the Times is referred to in the vernacular as the Gray Drunk Lady is because their editorial inclination when a Republican administration is in power essentially boils down to the phrase: "Damned if they do, damned if they don't."

--------
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. -The Fray, "All At Once"

The US has had nuclear weapons for the past 60 years. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in that 60 years, the NYT has never filed a lawsuit to release nuclear weapon designs. So, yes, I doubt that they would now file a lawsuit to release nuclear weapon design.

From the left.

One the actual construction of a uranium bomb is well documented ion the literature going back to the sizties. Second they would need a circumstance that would advance their agenda.

what is worse, publishing these reports which constitute "some risk" or publishing leaked information on two very important national security measures?

These America hating socialists have no sense and no shame.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

just before the war started he said he doubted whether his teams would find the nuclear goods. A much different statement with different implications from saying there was no nuclear program.

"a man's admiration for absolute government is proportinate to the contempt he feels for those around him". Tocqueville

to make IEDs? Oh, that's right, Bush was re-elected and the story fell into that "gotcha" blackhole that has opened up in midtown Manhattan. And "gotcha" stories these day include those that help Bush...if you read below the lede, which ingrates tend to do.

In a perverse sense, I wish Bush could run for a third term only to see if the NYT would suffer a collective nervous breakdown at the prospect.

Forget the NYT.

What this story is about is the heads of the intelligence committees in both the House and Senate demanding the release of information of the most sensitive nature to our national security _to any interested party everywhere in the world all at once_ on the internet, saying it was "worth the risk".
Anyone who has ever held a security clearance at any level knows that doing so would be a criminal breach of the rules for handling classified information.

Despite being warned about the risk by Negroponte, Bush signed an executive order releasing detailed information about Iraq's pre-Gulf War nuclear weapons program to terrorists, both at home and abroad. It is now a matter of public record that the President has ordered the distribution of the same information we were all concerned about Pakistan sharing with Iran, of North Korea selling to the highest bidder, to anyone with an internet connection.

Since the beginning of the War on Terror, nothing has brought us closer to seeing a mushroom cloud over an American city than the President's executive order releasing this information. Bush should resign. Senator Roberts and his counterpart in the House should have their security clearances suspended at the very least.

Maybe we should release our troop strengths and locations to al Qaeda over the internet, so they can help us decide how to redeploy them more effectively. They would, after all, know how best to defeat al Qaeda.

Maybe we should give al Qaeda detailed information about our interrogation techniques over the internet, so they can tell us which techniques are likely to work.

Oh, and make sure most of it is in Farsi, so they understand what information it contains better than we do.

sounds like a great idea.

    Bush signed an executive order releasing detailed information about Iraq's pre-Gulf War nuclear weapons program to terrorists

Oh. So you're a liar. Too bad streiff got to you before I did.

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

Hum, I wonder where it went?

your posting history doesn't show an earlier comment.

The _story_ is that the administration posted classified information on the internet. The _horror_ is that this information contained detailed designs for building nuclear weapons.

From the left...

We already know you think that's the story. And you should keep believing that. In particular you should continue to believe that what you guys say is the story, is the story. Only if you continue to believe that can we sneak up on you and beat you again.

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

 
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