February 07, 2006
Claim: Secret Tapes Reveal Saddam Had WMD
John Loftus of The Intelligence Summit claims that audio tapes of Saddam Hussein speaking to top aides prove conclusively that the Iraqi regime had WMD. The group says it will release the tapes to the public on February 17th.
Stop the presses!! This is BIG news. Long time Jawa Report readers know that I have been skeptical of the claim that Saddam Hussein moved whatever WMD capability Iraq had sometime in the weeks leading to the invasion.
If these tapes are authentic, and they actually are of Saddam Hussein talking about WMD which he had, then we should hear some major apologies from the Left real soon.
A former military intelligence analyst, who currently works as a civilian contractor, believes he has found a cache of extremely confidential--and very shocking--audio recordings of Saddam Hussein's office meetings. The audiotapes, which had apparently been overlooked, were found in a warehouse along with many other untranslated Iraqi intelligence files. These tapes are extremely significant, since they may be the best evidence yet of Saddam's secret intentions concerning weapons of mass destruction.Jay at Stop the ACLU points to this NY Sun article which says that The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has the tapes and is currently reviewing them:
Before 9/11, many intelligence experts were convinced that a very strong and important Iraqi WMD connection existed, only to change their minds when no concrete evidence of that connection could be uncovered in the three years following the beginning of Iraqi war.
Because of the considerable historical importance of this stunning recent development, the contractor who obtained and reviewed these tapes plans to release them to the public on February 17, 2006 at the Intelligence Summitsm, a non-partisan, non-profit conference open to the public, scheduled to be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia that weekend.
After his presentation, a panel of intelligence experts will discuss the ways in which experts may verify the fact that Hussein in fact recorded these audiotapes. These procedures include utilization of voiceprint analysis and other technical means of voice verification. ...
In regard to these highly confidential audiotapes, Attorney John Loftus, President of the Intelligence Summitsm, recently stated that, "Saddam's secret office recordings continued well into the year 2000. In all, they contain at least 12 hours of totally candid discussions with his senior aides. Clearly, after these tapes have been verified and corroborated, they will be able to provide a few definitive answers to some very important-and controversial-weapons of mass destruction questions." Loftus went on to say that the contractor who found and recovered the tapes has requested that his identity remain anonymous until he makes his presentation.
The committee has already confirmed through the intelligence community that the recordings of Saddam's voice are authentic, according to its chairman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, who would not go into detail about the nature of the conversations or their context....One word of caution: I have speculated in the past, though, that Saddam may have believed he had WMD capability. Iraq was a state modeled after Stalinist Russia, so, it is not a stretch to believe that people lied to Saddam in order to save their own skins. Certainly, a lot of Iraqi generals believed that there were WMD. But more often than not these Generals say they didn't have the WMD, but they knew of some other General with them. So, it is possible that the tapes are less revelatory than the claim.
Mr. Hoekstra has already met with a former Iraqi air force general, Georges Sada, who claims that Saddam used civilian airplanes to ferry chemical weapons to Syria in 2002. Mr. Hoekstra is now talking to Iraqis who Mr. Sada claims took part in the mission, and the congressman said the former air force general "should not just be discounted." Mr. Hoekstra also said he is in touch with other people who have come forward to the committee - Iraqis and Americans - who claim that the weapons inspectors may have overlooked other key sites and evidence. He has also asked the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, to declassify some 35,000 boxes of Iraqi documents obtained in the war that have yet to be translated.
However, occam's razor dictates that the simplist explanation is probably the correct one. If Saddam believed he had WMD then there is a high probability that he actually did.
UPDATE: I've included a link to the Intelligence Summit website now. It was not there earlier simply by accident and thanks to Dean for pointing that out.
A lot of commenters point out that John Loftus is not the most reliable source. I have no idea if they are correct or not. But, as I said, I remain a bit skeptical, especially given that most intelligence about WMD in Iraq turned out to be based on rumors. The kind of rumors I cited above where every general assumes other generals have the WMD.
However, the NY Sun article makes the claim The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has verified that the voice on the tapes is Saddam Hussein. So, it sounds like the tapes are genuine. What is on the tapes remains the key question. We'll see I guess.