Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries, U.S. investigators have discovered.
The recent discovery by the Bush administration's Iraq Survey Group (ISG) is fueling speculation, but is not proof, that the Iraqi dictator moved prohibited weapons of mass destruction (WMD) into Syria before the March 2003 invasion by a U.S.-led coalition.
Two defense sources told The Washington Times that the ISG has interviewed Iraqis who told of Saddam's system of dispatching his trusted Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) to the border, where they would send border inspectors away.
The shift was followed by the movement of trucks in and out of Syria suspected of carrying materials banned by U.N. sanctions. Once the shipments were made, the agents would leave and the regular border guards would resume their posts.
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. . . there is evidence of unusually heavy truck traffic into Syria in the days before the attack, and with it, speculation that some of the trucks contained the banned weapons.
"Of course, it's always suspicious," the Pentagon official said.
The source said the ISG has confirmed the practice of IIS agents going to the border. Investigators also have heard from Iraqi sources that this maneuver was done days before the war at a time of brisk cross-border movements.
That particular part of the disclosures has not been positively confirmed, the officials said, although it dovetails with Saddam's system of switching guards at a time when contraband was shipped.
Once again, it is a matter of time before we know the truth about the WMDs -- probably a goodly amount of time at that because the nerve agents and biochemical materials that Saddam allegedly had could be stored in relatively small spaces -- The Monk's garage could hold enough WMD to wipe out Iraq's population. Try searching for stuff that could be contained in a two-car garage in a country the size of
Hat-tip: Bill in DC
Hat-tip2: Oyster for the correction to the geographical analogy.