- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Saddam agents on Syria border helped move banned materials
Question of the Day
Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries, U.S. investigators have discovered.
The recent discovery by the Bush administration’s Iraq Survey Group (ISG) is fueling speculation, but is not proof, that the Iraqi dictator moved prohibited weapons of mass destruction (WMD) into Syria before the March 2003 invasion by a U.S.-led coalition.
Two defense sources told The Washington Times that the ISG has interviewed Iraqis who told of Saddam’s system of dispatching his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) to the border, where they would send border inspectors away.
The shift was followed by the movement of trucks in and out of Syria suspected of carrying materials banned by U.N. sanctions. Once the shipments were made, the agents would leave and the regular border guards would resume their posts.
“If you leave it to border guards, then the border guards could stop the trucks and extract their 10 percent, just like the mob would do,” said a Pentagon official who asked not to be named. “Saddam’s family was controlling the black market, and it was a good opportunity for them to make money.”
Sources said Saddam and his family grew rich from this black market and personally dispatched his dreaded intelligence service to the border to make sure the shipments got through.
The ISG is a 1,400-member team organized by the Pentagon and CIA to hunt for Saddam’s suspected stockpiles of WMD, such as chemical and biological agents. So far, the search has failed to find such stockpiles, which were the main reason for President Bush ordering the invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam.
But there is evidence of unusually heavy truck traffic into Syria in the days before the attack, and with it, speculation that some of the trucks contained the banned weapons.
“Of course, it’s always suspicious,” the Pentagon official said.
The source said the ISG has confirmed the practice of IIS agents going to the border. Investigators also have heard from Iraqi sources that this maneuver was done days before the war at a time of brisk cross-border movements.
That particular part of the disclosures has not been positively confirmed, the officials said, although it dovetails with Saddam’s system of switching guards at a time when contraband was shipped.
The United States spotted the heavy truck traffic via satellite imagery before the war. But spy cameras cannot look through truck canopies, and the ISG has not been able to determine whether any weapons were sent to Syria for hiding.
In an interview in October, retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., who heads the U.S. agency that processes and analyzes satellite imagery, said he thinks that Saddam’s underlings hid banned weapons of mass destruction before the war.
“I think personally that those below the senior leadership saw what was coming, and I think they went to some extraordinary lengths to dispose of the evidence,” said Gen. Clapper, who heads the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. “I’ll call it an ‘educated hunch.’ ”
He added, “I think probably in the few months running up prior to the onset of combat that I think there was probably an intensive effort to disperse into private homes, move documentation and materials out of the country. I think there are any number of things that they would have done.”
President wants everyone but himself to pay more
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of politicizing business
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq