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March 13, 2006

More Saddam Tapes Transcribed

It's a bit elliptical and unclear, but then, so were the Nixon tapes. But as with those tapes, there are strong hints of dirty doings:

"The factories are present," an Iraqi aide tells Saddam on one of the tapes, made by the dictator in the mid-1990s while U.N. weapons inspectors were searching for Baghdad's remaining stocks of weapons of mass destruction.

"The factories remain, in the mind they remain. Our spirit is with us, based solely on the time period," the aide says, according to the documents. "And [inspectors] take note of the time period, they can't account for our will."

The quote is from roughly 12 hours of taped conversations that unexpectedly landed in the lap of Bill Tierney, a former Army warrant officer and Arabic speaker who was translating for the FBI tapes unearthed in Iraq after the invasion.

Mr. Tierney made a copy, which he provided to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee in turn gave a copy to intelligence analysts who authenticated the voice as that of Saddam.

Mr. Tierney said that the quote from the Saddam aide, and scores of others, show Saddam was rebuilding his once-ample weapons stocks.

"The tapes show that Saddam rebuilt his program and successfully prevented the U.N. from finding out about it," he said.

I'm not sure you can get that from the quotes, and Mr. Tierney has shown himself to be a faith-based intelligence analyst, but we'll see.

And the t-word gets mentioned again.

There also exists a quote from the dictator himself, who ordered the tapings to keep a record of his inner-sanctum discussions, that Mr. Tierney thinks shows Saddam planned to use a proxy to attack the United States.

"Terrorism is coming ... with the Americans," Saddam said. "With the Americans, two years ago, not a long while ago, with the English I believe, there was a campaign ... with one of them, that in the future there would be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction."

It could just be a hope of Saddam's, of course.

The tapes are interesting and suggestive, but it's probably wisest not to get too far out on a limb with them.

Thanks to Ogre Gunner.


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posted by Ace at 12:29 PM

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