Well, at least these explosives aren't in the hands of that madman Saddam!
GREELY, United States (AFP) - The White House played down the loss of 350 tonnes of high explosives in Iraq which Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry said was proof of the administration's "blunders."
President George W. Bush had known about the lost explosives for 10 days, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors were informed because the munitions were considered dual-use materials and subject to monitoring, said McClellan, traveling on Bush's re-election campaign.
McClellan blamed the disappearance on "some looting that went on in Iraq toward the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or during and toward the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom." [Oh well, that's okay then.]
The Iraqi ministry of science and technology informed the IAEA of the disappearance of about 350 tonnes (380 tons) of mainly HMX and RDX explosives on October 10, agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming in Vienna told AFP.
IAEA officials informed the US mission in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, on October 15. National security councilor Condoleezza Rice was informed and she told Bush, the spokesman added. [That's reassuring. Condi is right on the ball. It's no one's fault though.]
The missing explosives "can be used in a nuclear explosion device" as the blast to trigger the chain reaction, Fleming said, adding: "That's why it was under IAEA verification and monitoring" before the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
McClellan said the US Department of Defense "directed the multinational forces and the Iraqi Survey Group to look into this matter, and that's what they are currently doing." [Better late than never I suppose.]
Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:44 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 October 2004 7:01 PM EDT