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So the United Nations, in an apparent attempt to influence the U.S. elections, leaks information to the NYTimes/CBS News about these missing weapons in Iraq.

CBS planned to drop what they thought was a bombshell story on Sunday night, just before election day.

The plan was foiled by NBC when NBC reported the weapons were already gone when U.S. first troops arrived at the location.

Was this an "October surprise" gone bad?


ShelbyBoy
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http://www.nationalreview.com/kerry/kerry200410252109.asp

Excerpt:

Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News pretty much dismantled the New York Times attack on behalf of Kerry today.

NBC News: Miklaszewski: “April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.” (NBC's “Nightly News,” 10/25/04)

If Jill Abramson, managing editor of the New York Times, had a shred of concern over her paper's reputation for getting the facts right never mind objectivity or fairness, she would be running the correction - or at least this blatantly contradictory information - in the giant headline font and above-the-fold location that today's story got. But I guess the interest in echoing the sentiments of Maureen Dowd is more important than getting it right at the Old Gray Lady.
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An opposing view? - http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/


ShelbyBoy
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http://www.rogerlsimon.com/mt-archives/2004/10/how_duranty_hap.php

Excerpt:

It is through Wretchard, whom I have come to trust greatly, that I found confirmation for what I already suspected - that the New York Times report of 380 tons of escaped explosives published this morning was so much progandistic drivel timed to encourage the defeat of a sitting president in favor of a candidate, I am almost certain, the paper's publisher and editors do not even care for in the first place. How pathetic is that! How deeply reactionary! This kind of distortion during an election is a worse disgrace than the Jayson Blair affair.

The Belmont Club informs us that NBC reporters (no neocon stooges they!) embedded with troops at the beginning of the war found no evidence of those explosives when they arrived at the now ironically named Al Qaqaa...
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5 days until we see how CBS's 60 Minutes deals with this story.

7 days until the election.

http://www.drudgereport.com/nbcw6.htm

Excerpt:

60 MINS PLANNED BUSH MISSING EXPLOSIVES STORY FOR ELECTION EVE

News of missing explosives in Iraq -- first reported in April 2003 -- was being resurrected for a 60 MINUTES election eve broadcast designed to knock the Bush administration into a crises mode.

Jeff Fager, executive producer of the Sunday edition of 60 MINUTES, said in a statement that "our plan was to run the story on October 31, but it became clear that it wouldn't hold..."

Elizabeth Jensen at the LOS ANGELES TIMES details on Tuesday how CBS NEWS and 60 MINUTES lost the story [which repackaged previously reported information on a large cache of explosives missing in Iraq, first published and broadcast in 2003].

The story instead debuted in the NYT. The paper slugged the story about missing explosives from April 2003 as "exclusive."

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

It is not clear who exactly shopped an election eve repackaging of the missing explosives story.

The LA TIMES claims: The source on the story first went to 60 MINUTES but also expressed interest in working with the NY TIMES... "The tip was received last Wednesday."

CBSNEWS' plan to unleash the story just 24 hours before election day had one senior Bush official outraged.

"Darn, I wanted to see the forged documents to show how this was somehow covered up," the Bush source, who asked not to be named, mocked, recalling last months CBS airing of fraudulent Bush national guard letters.

Developing...
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http://www.powerlineblog.com/

Excerpt:

DEACON adds: The Wretchard piece captures the real story here, and it doesn't favor John Kerry. Hugh Hewitt explains why: The explosives were gone by the time we arrived because we wasted months trying to persuade countries like France to support our military action. Kerry's position is that he voted for military action only so that the president could engage in this lengthy dance. He also says we should have danced longer, giving Saddam the opportunity to move more weapons. In Wretchard's words, "The price of passing the Global Test' was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again."

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Blew up in their face? Kerry is campaigning on the issue today, the Kerry campaign has a new ad based on the "missing explosives" story, and CBS may still be planning to run a 60 Minutes piece Sunday night.

They are reaching people who won't know the rest of this story. And with some key states in a virtual tie, a few voters swayed by this story could be the difference.

In the big picture - I don't know that this has blown up in their face.

http://www.cnsnews.com//ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200410\NAT20041026c.html

Excerpt:

A media watchdog group Tuesday said "what amounted to an 'October surprise'" by the New York Times and CBS News blew up in their faces.

The Times was first to report Monday what it considered to be new information that 380 tons of explosives were missing from an Iraqi military facility that was supposed to be under U.S. military control. But an NBC News report later noted the explosives were already gone before troops arrived at the Al-Qaqaa installation in April 2003.
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