Sunday, February 19, 2006

Saddam Tapes Revisited

My initial reaction to ABC News' airing of the so-called Saddam Tapes -- audio recordings that reveal Saddam Hussein's unabashed acknowledgment of his own weapons of mass destruction programs -- was that ABC had made a pragmatic decision to break a news story that might help President George W. Bush's administration, which it has spent the last six years slandering to varying degrees. I gave them credit for doing so at the time.

I have since learned that their goal was not to break the story, but to doctor it. Bill Tierney, the former U.S. intelligence officer and U.N. weapons inspector who obtained the recordings (which have been repeatedly authenticated as containing Saddam's voice) and gave them to ABC News in good faith, has stated the following:
"What you heard on ABC News was their translation," former U.N. weapons inspector Bill Tierney told ABC Radio's Sean Hannity on Thursday.

"They came up with something different on a key element regarding terrorism in the United States," Tierney insisted.

In the "Nightline" version of the 1996 recording, Saddam predicts that Washington, D.C., would be hit by terrorists. But he adds that Iraq would have nothing to do with the attack.

Tierney says, however, that what Saddam actually said was much more sinister. "He was discussing his intent to use chemical weapons against the United States and use proxies so it could not be traced back to Iraq," he told Hannity.

In a passage not used by "Nightline," Tierney says Saddam declares: "Terrorism is coming. ... In the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. What if we consider this technique, with smuggling?"

For those of you with a low regard for NewsMax, do not take their word for it. My understanding is that you will be able to have access to transcripts of the full 12 hours of audio recordings at the conclusion of the Intelligence Summit, which is set for tomorrow. (For those of you with the time and patience to check this all out for yourselves, you can find some of this information already online at the Intelligence Summit's website. For those of you with a fluency in Arabic, you can also listen to the original recordings.)

Hat tip to Digital Brownshirt and Ace of Spades.

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