In breaking the story about the missing explosives a week before the election, the pro-Kerry, left wing New York Times left out an important fact that NBC News (and Matt Drudge) are making public.
CACHE OF EXPLOSIVES VANISHED FROM SITE IN IRAQ BEFORE TROOPS ARRIVED...
Mr. Drudge reports:
The NYTIMES urgently reported on Monday in an apprent October Surprise: The Iraqi interim government and the U.N. nuclear agency have warned the United States that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives are now missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.
[The source behind the NYT story first went to CBSNEWS' 60 MINUTES last Wednesday, but the beleaguered network wasn't able to get the piece on the air as fast as the newspaper could print. Executive producer Jeff Fager hoped to break the story during a high-impact election eve broadcast of 60 MINS on October 31.]
Jumping on the TIMES exclusive, Dem presidential candidate John Kerry blasted the Bush administration for its failure to "guard those stockpiles."
But tonight, NBCNEWS reported: The 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives were already missing back in April 10, 2003 -- when U.S. troops arrived at the installation south of Baghdad!
An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.
According to NBCNEWS, the HMX and RDX explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.
The International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors last saw the explosives in January 2003 when they took an inventory and placed fresh seals on the bunkers.
Dem vp hopeful John Edwards blasted Bush for not securing the explosives: "It is reckless and irresponsible to fail to protect and safeguard one of the largest weapons sites in the country. And by either ignoring these mistakes or being clueless about them, George Bush has failed. He has failed as our commander in chief; he has failed as president."
A senior Bush official e-mailed DRUDGE late Monday: "Let me get this straight, are Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards now saying we did not go into Iraq soon enough? We should have invaded and liberated Iraq sooner?"
Here is a clip from last night's NBC's Nightly News (via Instapundit):
NBC News: Miklaszewski: “April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 10/25/04)
Here is CNN's coverage of the NYTime pro-Kerry October Surprise.
Update from the Best of the Web:
The New York Sun notes that the Times/CBS report was based on a letter from Mohamed ElBaradei, who is seeking a third term as head of the International Atomic Energy Commission. The Bush administration opposes ElBaradei's reappointment, so one suspects that this was a foreign effort to influence the outcome of America's presidential election, aided by our domestic partisan liberal media.