"Asked about accusations from the Kerry campaign that the White House had kept the disappearance secret until The Times and CBS broke the story on Monday morning, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said the White House had decided 'to get all the facts and find out exactly what happened in this case, and then whether there are other cases.'"
"Mr. Bartlett went on to say, 'So doing it piecemeal — I don't think that would have been the responsible thing.' He said that so far, no other large-scale cases of looting of explosives had been found."
"Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, also contended that The Times had chosen to run the article at the end of the campaign, though he argued that the explosives probably disappeared about 18 months ago. The Times article said it was based on a letter reporting the missing explosives dated two weeks ago, on Oct. 10, sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency by the Iraqi interim government. The Times and CBS confirmed the facts in the letter in an interview with the Iraqi minister of science and technology, Rashad M. Omar."
"On Monday evening, Nicolle Devenish, the spokeswoman for the Bush campaign, noted a section of the Times report indicating that American troops, on the way to Baghdad in April 2003, stopped at the Al Qaqaa complex and saw no evidence of high explosives. Noting that the cache may have been looted before the American invasion, she said Mr. Kerry had exaggerated the administration's responsibility."
"'John Kerry presumes to know something that he could not know: when the material disappeared," Ms. Devenish said. "Since he does not know whether it was gone before the war began, he can't prove it was there to be secured.'"
In his story on the 380 tons of explosives, USA Today 's Dave Moniz writes that "The disappearance of the high explosives is the latest and perhaps most striking evidence of Saddam Hussein's immense prewar stockpile of conventional weapons and the failure by the U.S. military and its allies to secure those weapons during the rush to topple Saddam's regime and in the chaotic aftermath of that initial campaign." LINK
White House Chief of Staff Andy Card was campaigning for the president in Albuquerque, NM and dismissed the "reports of missing explosives in Iraq an 'old story … '" LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: October surprises du jour:
1. "An academic researcher has found 11 passages in Senator Kerry's published writings that appear to have been taken from other works without attribution, though experts disagree about whether the copying should be considered plagiarism," the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein reports. LINK
("Old, bogus charges," a top Democrat working for the campaign told ABC News this morning.)
2. "Pentagon officials are considering increasing the current U.S. force by delaying the departures of some U.S. troops now in Iraq and accelerating the deployment of others scheduled to go there next year," reports USA Today Tom Squitieri.
3. The Washington Post 's Weisman and Ricks report that the administration early next year plans to ask for approximately $70 billion in emergency funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total cost for both wars to $225 billion. LINK