Posted by Lexington Green on June 24th, 2006 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Frontpage.com has an interview with Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, described as “a retired Air Force Fighter Pilot who has been a Fox News Military Analyst”. Is this guy McInerney reliable? If so this is pretty remarkable stuff:
I just reviewed this additional release of documents. This release continues to confirm that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were in contact with Iraq intelligence for sanctuary, training, and plans for acts of terrorism against the US and in the US.
McInerney describes videotapes of Saddam meeting with advisors:
…the most telling to me was the conversation between Tariq Aziz his foreign minister and Saddam in which they discussed having proxies implant nuclear and biological weapons in US cities. They concluded that Iraq would be blamed for an explosion but not biological as they could use deception and blame US facility ( Ft Dietrick) which makes me conclude that Iraq was responsible for the anthrax attack in US less than 30 days after 9/11.
Saddam’s stockpiles of WMDs were moved by a Russian Spetznatz team headed by Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian Intelligence Chief, who came to Iraq in December 2002 to supervise the final cleanup.
Jim Miller, whom I have always found to be sensible, is taking him seriously.
McInerney is promoting a new book, so maybe is trying to be sensational.
Or maybe this stuff is plausible.
This is the kind of thing I believed before the war.
But can it really just be coming out now, in this level of detail, from this source?
Mark Safranski of Zenpundit had these thoughts:
Primakov was close to Saddam and a pro-Arabist. His supervision of the intelligence services is that of a political appointee with longstanding career ties to the old KGB nomenklatura and the Soviet ” think tank” types connected to the Foreign Ministry. Which is to say, a bureaucratic politician who was, in the view of ministry personnel, could only be surpassed by a professional intel officer being made SVR chief. Kind of like Yuri Andropov, only sleazier.
Primakov was never, as far as I am aware, active as a field agent for the KGB so he would not have been ” running” that kind of operation. It would have most likely been the GRU handling the matter described, not Russian foreign intelligence, because if Saddam had biological weapons that had been seeded from old Soviet military labs or stocks it would have been he military that was blamed if the evidence was discovered by UNMOVIC or Coalition troops. The Ministry of Defense would have insisted on having operational control on removing them from Iraq and this would only be feasible if the number of weapons was relatively small ( assuming that Primakov was used as a ” cover” to do so) -something that could fit on a few large planes.
Did the old USSR or Russia help Iraq with WMD work? Probably, yes to some extent. To what extent is debatable since the politburo rejected helping Saddam’s nuclear program after Osirak, they viewed the Iraqi dictator as a loose cannon. Saddam appears to have used whatever sources he could find to develop WMD capacity.