By Eli Lake, The New York Sun
Eli Lake follows up his expose on WMDs in Iraq with today's revelation that David Gaubatz, a former member of the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations and former special investigator for the Pentagon during the Iraq war found underground bunkers that he was sure contained chemical and biological weapon stores.
He was led to the locations by interviews with local police, former senior civilian and military leaders in Saddam Hussein's regime, and local civilians in the days following the coalitions liberation of Iraq from Saddam.
Mr. Gaubatz would not disclose the names of his Iraqi sources, but he said they were "highly credible" by his supervisors. He said some of them were members of the new government and others are now in America. "The four sites were corroborated with more than one source. The sources were deemed highly credible due to access and knowledge of the sites. Many of these sources and ourselves put their lives on the line to assist in identifying WMD. The sources would continuously ask us when the inspectors were going to come to the sites with heavy equipment to uncover the WMD," he said.
Mr. Gaubatz said each site he visited had similar characteristics. "Everything was buried and under water. They would drain canals and parts of the rivers. They would build tunnels underneath and they would let the water come back in," he said. But the water would only be allowed back into the tunnels after concrete walls were installed sealing off the secret caches of unconventional arms, Mr. Gaubatz said. He added that the tunnels in all four sites were wide enough for tractors. One of the giveaways, he said, was that homes near the sites were equipped with gas masks and other items to protect against a chemical weapons attack.
One site outside of Nasiryah, near the main highway in an isolated area featured a rock nearby that said, "Death to America," in Arabic. At this site, Mr. Gaubatz found gas masks, boots, and an imprint of an al-Samoud missile in the ground nearby a canal used to flood the tunnel. Mr. Gaubatz said he could find a wall under the earth and in the water whose dimensions were 50 by 75 feet. Another site near Umm Qasr contained the remnants of military activity as well, Mr. Gaubatz said. He said that former senior Iraqi military officers and local farmers confirmed there was military construction over the course of six months in 2002.
After filing reports and photos, and numerous requests for investigation by the Iraq Survey Group, but the investigations never happened. And Charles Duelfer and David Kay remain tight lipped - instead concluding that they found no evidence of WMDs.
Mr. Gaubatz's new disclosures shed doubt on the thoroughness of the Iraq Survey Group's search for the weapons of mass destruction that were one of the Bush administration's main reasons for the war. Two chief inspectors from the group, David Kay and Charles Duelfer, concluded that they could not find evidence of the promised stockpiles. Mr. Kay refused to be interviewed for this story and Mr. Duelfer did not return email. The CIA referred these questions to Mr. Duelfer.
He says the reasons he was given by the survey group were that the areas of the sites were not safe, they lacked manpower and equipment, and at the time the survey group was focusing activities in northern Iraq. "The ISG team was not organized nor outfitted for this mission in my opinion and were only concerned to look in northern Iraq. They were not even on the ground during the first few weeks of the war, and this was the most critical time to go out and exploit sites. I feel very comfortable in saying the sites were never exploited by ISG," he said. In one instance a few inspectors did come out once to follow one lead, Mr. Gaubatz said. But they lacked the equipment and manpower to crack the bunker. "An adequate search would have required heavy equipment to uncover the concrete, and additional equipment to drain the water."
A quick scan of today's MSM reporting still reveals the lack of enthusiam for reporting this news.
Of course, their demands for Bush's apologies for "lies" of WMDs would all be for naught if all is revealed. Of that I am quite sure. Then what is left is for the WH to lower it's behaviour to the level of it's opposition, and demand the same mea culpa of the liberal wing of the western world.
Judging by the obvious avoidance of this breaking story, I can only assume that phrase "I was wrong" is as hard for the liberals to utter as they claim it is for the Cowboy Prez. Yo pot? Kettle here...