Intelligence Summit to Air 'Saddam's WMD Tapes'
See Related Story: Secret Saddam WMD Tapes Subject of ABC Nightline Special
(CNSNews.com) - Reportedly armed with 12 hours of Saddam Hussein's audio recordings, the organizers of an upcoming "Intelligence Summit" are describing the tapes as the "smoking gun evidence" that the Iraqi dictator possessed weapons of mass destruction in the period leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which according to the New York Sun has already authenticated the Saddam tapes, has reopened its investigation into the possible existence and location of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But some long-time liberal skeptics are showing no inclination to change their minds.
In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, the Bush administration argued that the war was necessary as a preemptive strike because the Iraqi president had WMD and there was a danger that he would use them against the United States.
On Oct. 6, 2004, Charles Duelfer, advisor to the director of Central Intelligence on Iraqi weapons, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Saddam did not have WMD at the time of the invasion and that the weapons were likely destroyed following the first Persian Gulf War in 1991. On Jan. 12, 2005, the U.S. announced that is was stopping its search for the weapons in Iraq.
But a four-day Intelligence Summit, to be held Feb. 17-20 in Arlington, Va., is re-igniting the debate over the Iraqi WMD. The featured discussion, on Saturday, Feb. 18, is titled: "Saddam's WMD Tapes: 'The Smoking Gun' Evidence." The agenda for the event indicates that the person who will speak about the tapes is at this point "anonymous."
The New York Sun on Feb. 7 reported that Rep. Peter Hoekstra's (R-Mich.) committee had obtained the audio tapes from former federal prosecutor John Loftus. According to the report, Loftus received the tapes "from a former American military intelligence analyst." Loftus is president of the Intelligence Summit, which is a yearly gathering of experts in the fields of counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering.
Jodie Evans of the anti-war group Code Pink, however, told Cybercast News Service that she does not think the Saddam recordings will lead to any new information. The government, according to Evans, has "said a lot of things for a long time."
"There's a difference between what they've been saying and what's real, and when they find something real, I'll comment."
Danny Schechter, author and producer of the film version of "Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception," said he is "weary of these intercepts."
"Nobody denies that Saddam Hussein did have a WMD program. The United States knows that, we have the receipts, we supplied some of the initial technology," Schechter said.
But the weapons were destroyed in 1991, after the first Gulf War, he asserted.
"The question is not, did he have a program, but did that program represent a threat to the United States, to England, or to anywhere else," Schechter said. "I would be hesitant about raw intelligence that has not been analyzed, but that is being used in a partisan way by members of Congress," he told Cybercast News Service.
"Saddam Hussein is probably one of the most demonized world leaders, with Dick Cheney a close second," Schechter added.
Saddam is currently on trial in Iraq for ordering the killings of more than 140 Shiite Muslims in 1982. One of his former military advisors and top generals, Georges Sada, has written a book titled: "Saddam's Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied and Survived Saddam Hussein."
Sada, who is a national security adviser in Iraq's new government, alleges that in June 2002 Saddam transported weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq and into Syria aboard several refitted commercial jets, under the pretense of conducting a humanitarian mission for flood victims.
A Feb. 2 Cybercast News Service article quoted Jamal Ware, the communications director for Rep. Hoekstra as saying that "the chairman has read General Sada's book ... He will meet with General Sada to hear first-hand him laying out the case that this transferal may have happened." The New York Sun article from Feb. 7 indicated that Sada has since met with Hoekstra to talk about the issue.
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