The tape shows barrels with authentic UN markings. The barrels were found in locked bunkers, which the IAEA had sealed just before the war began. Raddatz points out that the IAEA seal is critical. It is not clear how many barrels of HMX were at the facility or if it was in fact HMX. "But what seems clear from that tape, is that U.S. soldiers opened up some of the bunkers, left them unguarded and the material has since disappeared." LINK
The New York Times' Broad and Sanger write up the report by Raddatz, with admirable restraint and only a trace of a nah-nah-nah tone. LINK
Bradley Graham and Tom Ricks write on the Washington Post's front page that "this week's assertions by Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign about the few hundred tons said to have vanished from Iraq's Qaqaa facility have struck some defense experts as exaggerated." LINK
The Washington Times Notes "Mr. Kerry has shifted his argument since Monday, when he blamed the president for the 380 tons of explosives missing from Al-Qaqaa as news outlets have reported since that the explosives could not have been moved while the United States had control and that the amount was overstated." LINK
Which candidate is benefiting politically from the explosives story? Michael Finnegan and Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times report that both campaigns believe the story plays to their advantage. LINK
USA Today's ed board laments that both candidates are using the 380 tons of explosives as "proof positive that their opponent is rash, neglectful or unfit to command." LINK
The April 18, 2003 video of the Iraq explosives site shot by an ABC affiliate embedded with the 101st was everywhere this morning.
During his interview on "Today," Amb. Paul Bremer (in make-good mode and representing the Bush Administration's viewpoint), pointed to a satellite image released yesterday by the Pentagon.
Bremer latched onto the image saying that the "Pentagon released some pictures yesterday that showed trucks outside of bunkers." Bremer added that "there was about a month where Saddam may have" removed the explosives.
NBC's Matt Lauer wasn't buying it. He pointed to the ABC affiliate video shot April 18th which shows the explosives were in Iraq when the troops arrived but that they were left unguarded perhaps, Lauer suggested, because the troops were obsessed with finding weapons of mass destruction and were not focused on the more conventional explosives.
Bremer accused Kerry of jumping to conclusions when his own top advisor (Richard Holbrooke) said the facts aren't known.
And then the parade moved on …
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: October Surprises: Halliburton, NAACP audit, doctored ad, Pentagon call up:
"U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanders awarded a lucrative contract extension to Halliburton Co. this month by circumventing the organization's top contracting officer, who had objected to the proposal, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times," writes T. Christian Miller on that paper's front page. LINK
Erik Eckholm looks at the FBI's investigation of Halliburton. LINK
The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg looks at the doctored Bush ad, being replaced with the corrected version at stations near you. LINK
The New York Times' Michael Janofsky reports that the IRS' is reviewing the NAACP's tax-exempt status after Julian Bond criticized the President in a July speech. LINK