T Nation

How to Build an Atomic Bomb, By GWB

How to Build an Atomic Bomb, by George W. Bush

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq?s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
How to Build an Atomic Bomb, by George W. Bush

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq?s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.


[/quote]
Here’s Rick Santorum’s (insane) proud announcement of the creation of this website:

We’re trying to assure that all the information that we have gathered from the previous regime in Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s regime, is being made available to the public as quickly as possible. With a bias toward making this information unclassified and released.

And he [President Bush] assured me that they were going to be releasing documents in a steady stream over a period of time. Not picking and choosing documents, but releasing documents, a lot of which will not have been interpreted, out into the Internet for people to see. I think that is a wonderful step forward. There is no question that, as a result of that release, we will be able to get that information analyzed by people all over the world.

All of this information is at least three years old and a lot of this information is much older than that. And so there seems to very little concern, at least from my perspective, that this information is sensitive from a classification point of view.

The American public has a right to know this information. We have no idea, you know, what - given the volumes of documents we’re talking about here, 48,000 boxes of documents - what’s in there. But we think it’s important that the public get a view.

My goodness what a nut!

These jackasses posted sensitive documents on the web, without translating them first. Bush insisted on it. Why? Because it could shore up political support for the GOP. Bush cares more about votes than he cares about actual security.

GW is a webmaster now. How does he find the time?

Read up. Duncan Hunter urged Bush to get the documents on the web. John Negroponte didn’t want to allow it, since the documents are under his control, and Bush overruled him. The documents were posted even before they were all translated. The documents stayed up despite complaints. The only reason the documents were pulled is because the White House heard the NY Tmes was going to put the story on the front page.

Try Google, or maybe read a newspaper.

Yes, Bush was in charge on this issue, hard to believe maybe, what with his busy cheerleading schedule for the election on Tuesday.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
Read up. Duncan Hunter urged Bush to get the documents on the web. John Negroponte didn’t want to allow it, since the documents are under his control, and Bush overruled him. The documents were posted even before they were all translated. The documents stayed up despite complaints. The only reason the documents were pulled is because the White House heard the NY Tmes was going to put the story on the front page.

Try Google, or maybe read a newspaper.

Yes, Bush was in charge on this issue, hard to believe maybe, what with his busy cheerleading schedule for the election on Tuesday.
[/quote]

The New York Times is to blame.

As well as Bill Clinton.

This is a lie. We all know Saddam had declared and turned over all Nuclear related documentation and research. It’s impossible that these were found post-war.

A few other things found in some of these documents

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/middle_east/4837276.stm

The analysis refers to a document, not itself provided, dated May 1999 in which Saddam’s older son Uday ordered “special operations, assassinations and bombings for the centres and traitor symbols in London, Iran and the self-ruled areas of [Kurdish Northern Iraq].”

“Among the documents is one that appears to demonstrate how the Iraqis supported the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines.”

"Among other documents is one from 14 March 2003 in which Saddam’s son Qusay orders 448 captured Kuwaitis to be placed as “human shields” in strategic locations expected to be attacked by the “criminal Anglo-American aggressors”.

This order raises the possibility that Iraq did in fact hold onto Kuwaiti prisoners from the first Gulf War long after it said it had none."

No comments about “Blessed July?” None about support provided to Al-Qaeda linked terrorist in the Phillipines? Are we going to be selective here? Recognize the Nuclear weapon schematics (I thought they werent supposed to have?!) while ignoring the above?

I’m sorry, Sloth, Iraq was a WMD free zone.

saddam was contained and complying with the u.n.

There is no news here, you “faux news, freetard, sheeple.”

Get with the PROGRAM!!!

Also, remember, the saddam tapes were forgeries.

JeffR

[quote]Sloth wrote:
No comments about “Blessed July?” None about support provided to Al-Qaeda linked terrorist in the Phillipines? Are we going to be selective here? Recognize the Nuclear weapon schematics (I thought they werent supposed to have?!) while ignoring the above? [/quote]

If I could just interrupt your fist fight with the straw man claiming Saddam was an angel…

Where are the working ties with al qaeda? none.
Where are the WMD we thought he had at the time of invasion? not any.
Connection to 9/11? none.

It’d be really helpful to stick with the actual disagreements…

Now, continue to justify how in the world its a good idea to have blueprints for building a fission bomb on the internet. Perhaps vetting this material would have been a good idea…instead, idiots running on “strong on terror” put this stuff on the web, having no idea (admitted) what was in the info.

and now back to your disagreement with straw man.

[quote]100meters wrote:
Sloth wrote:
It’d be really helpful to stick with the actual disagreements…

Now, continue to justify how in the world its a good idea to have blueprints for building a fission bomb on the internet. Perhaps vetting this material would have been a good idea…instead, idiots running on “strong on terror” put this stuff on the web, having no idea (admitted) what was in the info.

and now back to your disagreement with straw man.[/quote]

What blueprints for building a fission bomb? There were none. Iraq had declared and turned over all nuclear research. Right?

Aren’t we discussing the documents, and the weight apparently afforded to them? Why aren’t the other documents making headlines? You have Iraqi documents demonstrating Iraq’s support of an Al Qaeda linked terrorist group. You have documentation of “Blessed July.” Etc. I’d say it’s all highly relevant.

I know it’s convinient to not wonder why the regime continued to hold onto detailed schematics, documents, research, etc. that was all suppossed to be diposed of/handed over to the UN.

It’s not a straw man. It’s a reasonable line of questioning.

[quote]100meters wrote:
Sloth wrote:
No comments about “Blessed July?” None about support provided to Al-Qaeda linked terrorist in the Phillipines? Are we going to be selective here? Recognize the Nuclear weapon schematics (I thought they werent supposed to have?!) while ignoring the above?

If I could just interrupt your fist fight with the straw man claiming Saddam was an angel…

Where are the working ties with al qaeda? none.
Where are the WMD we thought he had at the time of invasion? not any.
Connection to 9/11? none.

It’d be really helpful to stick with the actual disagreements…

Now, continue to justify how in the world its a good idea to have blueprints for building a fission bomb on the internet. Perhaps vetting this material would have been a good idea…instead, idiots running on “strong on terror” put this stuff on the web, having no idea (admitted) what was in the info.

and now back to your disagreement with straw man.[/quote]

My god, the more I read your post over… You called these documents blueprints for building a fission bomb. These blueprints were found post-war Iraq! You are ignoring the elephant in the room! The questions begging to be asked here!

It falls in line with the Iraqi Survey group findings.

Folks there are millions of, yet to be translated, Iraqi documentation and media. The intelligence community has been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of media that STILL has yet to be translated and analyzed. What will be found in those once it’s all said and done?

Some of these things discussed here have only recently been translated. And this comes from captured media. Who knowns what was destroyed in the coordinated and wide-scale “sanitation” operations during the war.

Couple what some of these documents have recently demonstrated, to the findings of the Iraqi Survey group…Saddam’s regime was actively preserving and compartmenatlizing WMD research, and production capabilites.

Nice attempt at spin, but this technology and information already existed in Iraq, even before the first Gulf War.

That’s why the White House and Pentagon and intelligence agencies aren’t jumping up and down, about these so-called blueprints… it’s old news for Iraq.

There’s a big difference between know-how, and capability.

Anyway, Bush insisting on putting all that information up on the world-wide web, where it can be accessed by terrorists all over the world, is downright stupid.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
Nice attempt at spin, but this technology and information already existed in Iraq, even before the first Gulf War.

That’s why the White House and Pentagon and intelligence agencies aren’t jumping up and down, about these so-called blueprints… it’s old news for Iraq.

There’s a big difference between know-how, and capability.

Anyway, Bush insisting on putting all that information up on the world-wide web, where it can be accessed by terrorists all over the world, is downright stupid.[/quote]

Spin? It doesn’t matter when the knowlege was gained. All documentation was to be declared and turned over/destroyed. Not hidden away. You seem to have this notion that Saddam was allowed to maintain these types of plans and details. No, he wasn’t. And you said absolutely nothing about the other documents’ subject matters.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Aren’t we discussing the documents, and the weight apparently afforded to them?
[/quote]

I think what the OP was intending to focus on is the fact that a couple Republican Congressmen used their influence to push sensitive documents into the public domain against the better judgement of the intelligence community. This is being done to find evidence supporting the justification of the war even though it could be providing our other enemies information that could help their WMD programs and research.

The Director of National Intelligence warned about the risks of the web site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency complained last week and the docs weren’t taken down.

Weapons inspector David Kay opposed the site in 2003 and recently referred to the posting of the documents as “stupid”

"Kay and other weapons specialists said the web site made it seem as though the documents were recently discovered. Critics said it was an effort to convince the public that Iraq had an active weapons program when US forces invaded three years ago, even though UN inspectors dismantled it 15 years ago.

The documents date from before the 1991 Gulf War; when the fighting ended, Hussein’s government turned over the documents to the United Nations weapons inspectors who dismantled Iraq’s weapons and missile programs in the early 1990s. But the material is dated and doesn’t reveal any of Iraq’s recent activities to obtain or build weapons of mass destruction – the main rationale for the 2003 invasion."

An interesting post on the subject, from Tom Maguire:

How To Build A Bomb

Stuck for ideas on how to build a nuclear bomb? The US Government had a website that could help, and the Times is partnering with the IAEA (as they did ( http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2004/10/john_kerry_cand.html ) for the Times 2004 October surprise ( http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2004/10/this_sounds_ter.html ), with rowback here ( http://www.belgraviadispatch.com/archives/004110.html ; http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2004/10/missing_explosi_3.html ) to tell us about it:

[i] U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Guide
By WILLIAM J. BROAD

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to ?leverage the Internet? to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq?s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended "pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing."

Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency's technical experts "were shocked" at the public disclosures.

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

"For the U.S. to toss a match into this flammable area is very irresponsible," said A. Bryan Siebert, a former director of classification at the federal Department of Energy, which runs the nation?s nuclear arms program. "There's a lot of things about nuclear weapons that are secret and should remain so."[/i]

What knuckleheads wanted this on the web? Actually, it was an army of knuckleheads:

[i] The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who argued that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees told the administration that wide analysis and translation of the documents ? most of them in Arabic ? would reinvigorate the search for evidence that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence in Iraq.

The director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, had resisted setting up the Web site, which some intelligence officials felt implicitly raised questions about the competence and judgment of government analysts. But President Bush approved the site?s creation after Congressional Republicans proposed legislation to force the documents? release.

In his statement last night, Mr. Negroponte's spokesman, Chad Kolton, said, "While strict criteria had already been established to govern posted documents, the material currently on the Web site, as well as the procedures used to post new documents, will be carefully reviewed before the site becomes available again."[/i]

Groan. The most reassuring comment from the experts surveyed comes from the anaonymous senior intel official who is still a team player, and we find a delightful flip-flop from another expert quoted:

[i] The New York Times had examined dozens of the documents and asked a half dozen nuclear experts to evaluate some of them.

Peter D. Zimmerman [who comes off as a partisan Bush-basher in this WaPo live chat: http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/zforum/03/r_editorial_zimmerman.htm ], a physicist and former United States government arms scientist now at the war studies department of King?s College, London, called the posted material "very sensitive, much of it undoubtedly secret restricted data."  [He had a different take three years ago, but the politics have shifted a bit - see MORE, below]

Ray E. Kidder, a senior nuclear physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, an arms design center, said "some things in these documents would be helpful" to nations aspiring to develop nuclear weapons and should have remained secret.

A senior American intelligence official who deals routinely with atomic issues said the documents showed "where the Iraqis failed and how to get around the failures." The documents, he added, could perhaps help Iran or other nations making a serious effort to develop nuclear arms, but probably not terrorists or poorly equipped states. The official, who requested anonymity because of his agency?s rules against public comment, called the papers "a road map that helps you get from point A to point B, but only if you already have a car."[/i]

Let’s go, virtual mongol horde.

MORE: Peter Zimmerman, quoted above, was less impressed by Iraq’s program when he described it in 2003, as part of a Bush Lied oped in the WaPo which coincided with his live chat:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/081503E.shtml

[i] President Bush said that in the early 1990s Iraq “had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.” Not exactly.

Nuclear weapons experts serving as inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called the bomb "design" more of a parts list than a description of a buildable device. The five ways to enrich uranium really boiled down to two -- electromagnetic separation and gas centrifuges, neither working well. Iraq's crude experiments in the 1990s showed that it was a very long way from nuclear success.[/i]

Presumably Dr. Zimmerman had seen in 2003 the Iraqi documents which have become so worrisome to him in 2006, since they were based on a UN submission.

GEE, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A USEFUL SURPRISE: Why is the IAEA worried about the Iranians relying on partial, dated Iraqi plans when, according to the Times very own James Risen, it was Bill Clinton’s CIA ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,12858,1678220,00.html ) that gave Iran key nuclear blueprints. The short version is this ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran’s_nuclear_program ):

[i] In January 2006, James Risen, a New York Times reporter, alleged in his book State of War that in February 2000, a U.S. covert operation - code-named Operation Merlin - had backfired. It originally aimed to provide Iran with a flawed design for building a nuclear weapon, in order to delay the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons programme. Instead, the plan may have accelerated Iran’s nuclear programme by providing useful information, once the flaws were identified.[11]

The extended excerpt is here:

[i] …Deep in the bowels of the CIA, someone must be nervously, but very privately, wondering: “Whatever happened to those nuclear blueprints we gave to the Iranians?”

The story dates back to the Clinton administration and February 2000, when one frightened Russian scientist walked Vienna's winter streets. The Russian had good reason to be afraid. He was walking around Vienna with blueprints for a nuclear bomb.

To be precise, he was carrying technical designs for a TBA 480 high-voltage block, otherwise known as a "firing set", for a Russian-designed nuclear weapon. He held in his hands the knowledge needed to create a perfect implosion that could trigger a nuclear chain reaction inside a small spherical core. It was one of the greatest engineering secrets in the world, providing the solution to one of a handful of problems that separated nuclear powers such as the United States and Russia from rogue countries such as Iran that were desperate to join the nuclear club but had so far fallen short.

The Russian, who had defected to the US years earlier, still couldn't believe the orders he had received from CIA headquarters. The CIA had given him the nuclear blueprints and then sent him to Vienna to sell them - or simply give them - to the Iranian representatives to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). With the Russian doing its bidding, the CIA appeared to be about to help Iran leapfrog one of the last remaining engineering hurdles blocking its path to a nuclear weapon. The dangerous irony was not lost on the Russian - the IAEA was an international organisation created to restrict the spread of nuclear technology.

The Russian was a nuclear engineer in the pay of the CIA, which had arranged for him to become an American citizen and funded him to the tune of $5,000 a month. It seemed like easy money, with few strings attached.

Until now. The CIA was placing him on the front line of a plan that seemed to be completely at odds with the interests of the US, and it had taken a lot of persuading by his CIA case officer to convince him to go through with what appeared to be a rogue operation.

The case officer worked hard to convince him - even though he had doubts about the plan as well. As he was sweet-talking the Russian into flying to Vienna, the case officer wondered whether he was involved in an illegal covert action. Should he expect to be hauled before a congressional committee and grilled because he was the officer who helped give nuclear blueprints to Iran? The code name for this operation was Merlin; to the officer, that seemed like a wry tip-off that nothing about this programme was what it appeared to be. He did his best to hide his concerns from his Russian agent.

The Russian's assignment from the CIA was to pose as an unemployed and greedy scientist who was willing to sell his soul - and the secrets of the atomic bomb - to the highest bidder. By hook or by crook, the CIA told him, he was to get the nuclear blueprints to the Iranians. They would quickly recognise their value and rush them back to their superiors in Tehran.

The plan had been laid out for the defector during a CIA-financed trip to San Francisco, where he had meetings with CIA officers and nuclear experts mixed in with leisurely wine-tasting trips to Sonoma County. In a luxurious San Francisco hotel room, a senior CIA official involved in the operation talked the Russian through the details of the plan. He brought in experts from one of the national laboratories to go over the blueprints that he was supposed to give the Iranians.

The senior CIA officer could see that the Russian was nervous, and so he tried to downplay the significance of what they were asking him to do. He said the CIA was mounting the operation simply to find out where the Iranians were with their nuclear programme. This was just an intelligence-gathering effort, the CIA officer said, not an illegal attempt to give Iran the bomb. He suggested that the Iranians already had the technology he was going to hand over to them. It was all a game. Nothing too serious.

On paper, Merlin was supposed to stunt the development of Tehran's nuclear programme by sending Iran's weapons experts down the wrong technical path. The CIA believed that once the Iranians had the blueprints and studied them, they would believe the designs were usable and so would start to build an atom bomb based on the flawed designs. But Tehran would get a big surprise when its scientists tried to explode their new bomb. Instead of a mushroom cloud, the Iranian scientists would witness a disappointing fizzle. The Iranian nuclear programme would suffer a humiliating setback, and Tehran's goal of becoming a nuclear power would have been delayed by several years. In the meantime, the CIA, by watching Iran's reaction to the blueprints, would have gained a wealth of information about the status of Iran's weapons programme, which has been shrouded in secrecy.

The Russian studied the blueprints the CIA had given him. Within minutes of being handed the designs, he had identified a flaw. "This isn't right," he told the CIA officers gathered around the hotel room. "There is something wrong." His comments prompted stony looks, but no straight answers from the CIA men. No one in the meeting seemed surprised by the Russian's assertion that the blueprints didn't look quite right, but no one wanted to enlighten him further on the matter, either.

In fact, the CIA case officer who was the Russian's personal handler had been stunned by his statement. During a break, he took the senior CIA officer aside. "He wasn't supposed to know that," the CIA case officer told his superior. "He wasn't supposed to find a flaw."

"Don't worry," the senior CIA officer calmly replied. "It doesn't matter."

The CIA case officer couldn't believe the senior CIA officer's answer, but he managed to keep his fears from the Russian, and continued to train him for his mission.

After their trip to San Francisco, the case officer handed the Russian a sealed envelope with the nuclear blueprints inside. He was told not to open the envelope under any circumstances. He was to follow the CIA's instructions to find the Iranians and give them the envelope with the documents inside. Keep it simple, and get out of Vienna safe and alive, the Russian was told. But the defector had his own ideas about how he might play that game.

The CIA had discovered that a high-ranking Iranian official would be travelling to Vienna and visiting the Iranian mission to the IAEA, and so the agency decided to send the Russian to Vienna at the same time. It was hoped that he could make contact with either the Iranian representative to the IAEA or the visitor from Tehran.

In Vienna, however, the Russian unsealed the envelope with the nuclear blueprints and included a personal letter of his own to the Iranians. No matter what the CIA told him, he was going to hedge his bets. There was obviously something wrong with the blueprints - so he decided to mention that fact to the Iranians in his letter. They would certainly find flaws for themselves, and if he didn't tell them first, they would never want to deal with him again.

The Russian was thus warning the Iranians as carefully as he could that there was a flaw somewhere in the nuclear blueprints, and he could help them find it. At the same time, he was still going through with the CIA's operation in the only way he thought would work.

The Russian soon found 19 Heinstrasse, a five-storey office and apartment building with a flat, pale green and beige facade in a quiet, slightly down-at-heel neighbourhood in Vienna's north end. Amid the list of Austrian tenants, there was one simple line: "PM/Iran." The Iranians clearly didn't want publicity. An Austrian postman helped him. As the Russian stood by, the postman opened the building door and dropped off the mail. The Russian followed suit; he realised that he could leave his package without actually having to talk to anyone. He slipped through the front door, and hurriedly shoved his envelope through the inner-door slot at the Iranian office.

The Russian fled the mission without being seen. He was deeply relieved that he had made the hand-off without having to come face to face with a real live Iranian. He flew back to the US without being detected by either Austrian security or, more importantly, Iranian intelligence.

Just days after the Russian dropped off his package at the Iranian mission, the National Security Agency reported that an Iranian official in Vienna abruptly changed his schedule, making airline reservations to fly home to Iran. The odds were that the nuclear blueprints were now in Tehran.

The Russian scientist's fears about the operation seemed well founded. He was the front man for what may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA, one that may have helped put nuclear weapons in the hands of a charter member of what President George W Bush has called the "axis of evil".

Operation Merlin has been one of the most closely guarded secrets in the Clinton and Bush administrations. It's not clear who originally came up with the idea, but the plan was first approved by Clinton. After the Russian scientist's fateful trip to Vienna, however, the Merlin operation was endorsed by the Bush administration, possibly with an eye toward repeating it against North Korea or other dangerous states.

Several former CIA officials say that the theory behind Merlin - handing over tainted weapon designs to confound one of America's adversaries - is a trick that has been used many times in past operations, stretching back to the cold war. But in previous cases, such Trojan horse operations involved conventional weapons; none of the former officials had ever heard of the CIA attempting to conduct this kind of high-risk operation with designs for a nuclear bomb. The former officials also said these kind of programmes must be closely monitored by senior CIA managers in order to control the flow of information to the adversary. If mishandled, they could easily help an enemy accelerate its weapons development. That may be what happened with Merlin.

Iran has spent nearly 20 years trying to develop nuclear weapons, and in the process has created a strong base of sophisticated scientists knowledgeable enough to spot flaws in nuclear blueprints. Tehran also obtained nuclear blueprints from the network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, and so already had workable blueprints against which to compare the designs obtained from the CIA. Nuclear experts say that they would thus be able to extract valuable information from the blueprints while ignoring the flaws.

"If [the flaw] is bad enough," warned a nuclear weapons expert with the IAEA, "they will find it quite quickly. That would be my fear"[/i]

? James Risen 2006

Another take from Jim Geraghty here:

http://tks.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZTJjYzYzYmMwNjY3N2YwNWE5NDQ3ZTQzZDczZWU5N2Y=

Shocker: New York Times Confirms Iraqi Nuclear Weapons Program
11/02 10:39 PM

When I saw the headline on Drudge earlier tonight, that the New York Times had a big story coming out tomorrow that had something to do with Iraq and WMDs, I was ready for an October November Surprise.

Well, Drudge is giving us the scoop. And if it’s meant to be a slam-Bush story, I think the Times team may have overthunk this:

[i] U.S. POSTING OF IRAQ NUKE DOCS ON WEB COULD HAVE HELPED IRAN…

NYT REPORTING FRIDAY, SOURCES SAY: Federal government set up Web site ? Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal ? to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war; detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research; a 'basic guide to building an atom bomb'... Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency fear the information could help Iran develop nuclear arms... contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that the nuclear experts say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums...

Website now shut... Developing... [/i]

I’m sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?

What? Wait a minute. The entire mantra of the war critics has been “no WMDs, no WMDs, no threat, no threat”, for the past three years solid. Now we’re being told that the Bush administration erred by making public information that could help any nation build an atomic bomb.

Let’s go back and clarify: IRAQ HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANS SO ADVANCED AND DETAILED THAT ANY COUNTRY COULD HAVE USED THEM.

I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a “Boy, did Bush screw up” meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the “there was no threat in Iraq” meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh… al-Qaeda.

The New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous to it.

The antiwar crowd is going to have to argue that the information somehow wasn’t dangerous in the hands of Saddam Hussein, but was dangerous posted on the Internet. It doesn’t work. It can’t be both no threat to America and yet also somehow a threat to America once it’s in the hands of Iran. Game, set, and match.

UPDATE: The article is up here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/world/middleeast/03documents.html?ei=5094&en=1511d6b3da302d4f&hp=&ex=1162530000&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

Having now read it, I can see that every stop has been pulled out to ensure that a reader will believe that posting these documents was a strategic blunder of the first order.

But the story retains its own inherent contradiction: The information in these documents is so dangerous, that every step must be taken to ensure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands… except for topping the regime that actually has the documents.

(By the way, is it just me, or is the article entirely devoid of any indication that Iran actually accessed the documents? This threat that, “You idiot! Iran could access all the documents!” is entirely speculative. If the government servers hosting the web site have signs that Iranian web browsers accessed those pages, it’s a different story; my guess is somebody already knows the answer to that question.)

I’m still kinda blown away by this paragraph:

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990?s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. [b][u]Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein?s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.[/b][/u]

Is this sentence referring to 1990, before the Persian Gulf War? Or 2002, months before the invasion of Iraq? Because “Iraq is a year away from building a nuclear bomb” was supposed to be a myth, a lie that Bush used to trick us into war.

And yet here is the New York Times, saying that Iraq had a “how to manual” on how to build a nuclear bomb, and could have had a nuke in a year.

In other news, it’s good to see that the New York Times is firmly against publicizing sensitive and classified information. Unless, of course, they’re the ones doing it.

ONE LAST THOUGHT: So Iraq had all the know-how, all the plans, all the designs, “charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building.” Unless they were keeping these documents around as future material for paper airplanes, all this stuff constituted a plan of action for some point in the future; but to complete creating these weapons, they would have needed stuff. I don’t know an exact list of what they would have needed, but articles like this one ( http://www.foreignpolicy.com/users/login.php?story_id=3597&URL=http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3597 ) give a good idea. Sounds like you need a firing mechanism (the right kind of firearm would suffice), some fairly common industrial equipment like a lathe, material for the bomb casing, some fairly common conventional explosives, all of which would have been easy to get in Iraq. Oh, and, of course, the nuclear material itself.

They would have needed something like… um… you know… what’s that stuff called? Oh, that’s right.

Yellowcake.

But we know Iraq would never make an effort to get yellowcake. Joe Wilson had tea with officials in Niger who said so.

This is just another colossal Fk up by the right wingnuttery no matter how BB tries to lawyer the truth.

Better hope the Dems don’t take over the house as the ensuing investigations will be a shit show.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Another take from Jim Geraghty here:

http://tks.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZTJjYzYzYmMwNjY3N2YwNWE5NDQ3ZTQzZDczZWU5N2Y=

Shocker: New York Times Confirms Iraqi Nuclear Weapons Program
11/02 10:39 PM

When I saw the headline on Drudge earlier tonight, that the New York Times had a big story coming out tomorrow that had something to do with Iraq and WMDs, I was ready for an October November Surprise.

Well, Drudge is giving us the scoop. And if it’s meant to be a slam-Bush story, I think the Times team may have overthunk this:

[i] U.S. POSTING OF IRAQ NUKE DOCS ON WEB COULD HAVE HELPED IRAN…

NYT REPORTING FRIDAY, SOURCES SAY: Federal government set up Web site ? Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal ? to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war; detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research; a 'basic guide to building an atom bomb'... Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency fear the information could help Iran develop nuclear arms... contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that the nuclear experts say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums...

Website now shut... Developing... [/i]

I’m sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?

What? Wait a minute. The entire mantra of the war critics has been “no WMDs, no WMDs, no threat, no threat”, for the past three years solid. Now we’re being told that the Bush administration erred by making public information that could help any nation build an atomic bomb.

Let’s go back and clarify: IRAQ HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANS SO ADVANCED AND DETAILED THAT ANY COUNTRY COULD HAVE USED THEM.

I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a “Boy, did Bush screw up” meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the “there was no threat in Iraq” meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh… al-Qaeda.

The New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous to it.

The antiwar crowd is going to have to argue that the information somehow wasn’t dangerous in the hands of Saddam Hussein, but was dangerous posted on the Internet. It doesn’t work. It can’t be both no threat to America and yet also somehow a threat to America once it’s in the hands of Iran. Game, set, and match.

UPDATE: The article is up here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/world/middleeast/03documents.html?ei=5094&en=1511d6b3da302d4f&hp=&ex=1162530000&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

Having now read it, I can see that every stop has been pulled out to ensure that a reader will believe that posting these documents was a strategic blunder of the first order.

But the story retains its own inherent contradiction: The information in these documents is so dangerous, that every step must be taken to ensure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands… except for topping the regime that actually has the documents.

(By the way, is it just me, or is the article entirely devoid of any indication that Iran actually accessed the documents? This threat that, “You idiot! Iran could access all the documents!” is entirely speculative. If the government servers hosting the web site have signs that Iranian web browsers accessed those pages, it’s a different story; my guess is somebody already knows the answer to that question.)

I’m still kinda blown away by this paragraph:

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990?s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. [b][u]Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein?s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.[/b][/u]

Is this sentence referring to 1990, before the Persian Gulf War? Or 2002, months before the invasion of Iraq? Because “Iraq is a year away from building a nuclear bomb” was supposed to be a myth, a lie that Bush used to trick us into war.

And yet here is the New York Times, saying that Iraq had a “how to manual” on how to build a nuclear bomb, and could have had a nuke in a year.

In other news, it’s good to see that the New York Times is firmly against publicizing sensitive and classified information. Unless, of course, they’re the ones doing it.

ONE LAST THOUGHT: So Iraq had all the know-how, all the plans, all the designs, “charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building.” Unless they were keeping these documents around as future material for paper airplanes, all this stuff constituted a plan of action for some point in the future; but to complete creating these weapons, they would have needed stuff. I don’t know an exact list of what they would have needed, but articles like this one ( http://www.foreignpolicy.com/users/login.php?story_id=3597&URL=http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3597 ) give a good idea. Sounds like you need a firing mechanism (the right kind of firearm would suffice), some fairly common industrial equipment like a lathe, material for the bomb casing, some fairly common conventional explosives, all of which would have been easy to get in Iraq. Oh, and, of course, the nuclear material itself.

They would have needed something like… um… you know… what’s that stuff called? Oh, that’s right.

Yellowcake.

But we know Iraq would never make an effort to get yellowcake. Joe Wilson had tea with officials in Niger who said so.[/quote]

Jeebus, I’d love to hear his explanation as to how saddam got 1/6 of niger’s total annual production from a mine totally controlled by a french consortium. And I love this:

“Joe Wilson had tea with officials in Niger who said so.”

Uhh…yeah, and so did CIA, everybody in Niger, IAEA, and everybody else in the entire world.

Except hilarious, the Brits.

And of course, Saddam already had yellowcake.

Also, after you have yellowcake, you have to convert it…then enrich it, and so on…man I hate national review.