SALON: Is there reason to believe that there are a lot more problems like this that the administration isn't talking about?
CIRINCIONE: Well, like Rumsfeld says, 'We don't know what we don't know.' But they've been peppered with questions about the nuclear sites, and they've just dodged them all along. We don't know what happened to a lot of the material from those places, some of which could certainly be usable in so-called dirty bombs. They are highly radioactive materials that could be used mixed in with conventional explosives -- such as RDX or HMX -- and dispersed over a wide area.
SALON: Do you think the news of this missing stockpile of explosives will have an impact on the last week of the presidential campaign?
CIRINCIONE: It most certainly could, especially if it becomes clear that many of the explosions that have been killing U.S. troops have been caused by this material. That could really hurt President Bush's reelection chances, because it would be such a clear and dramatic example of how the mismanagement of the war has made the situation much worse than it might otherwise have been.
It's one thing if insurgents have been making bombs from artillery shells or munitions that they could've gotten from a hundred other sites. But it's something altogether different for them to have gotten possession of some of the most sophisticated explosives material ever made -- and in vast quantities. And to do so after U.S. forces had been warned about this and apparently had gone to the site and seen the material and still done nothing about it.
The site was inspected by the IAEA on 4 March and first vsted by US troops on 3 April. They warned the Bush administration to secure the site. It's unlikely a large truck convoy removed the material on Saddam's orders between the IAEA inspection and the collapse of his rgeime. The intensive satellite surveillance would have detected that.
The occupation did not secure the site. They were probably busy making banners announcing the ned of combat operations. This shows how creating your own reality can blow up in your face.