Here's the basic story: Mohammed El-Baradei is the chief of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, and is in his second four-year term. He is useless: Pakistan and NoKorea both went nuclear on his watch. The IAEA also will not pressure Iran (although that's not the way to prevent it from going nuclear) but seeks to pressure Israel. In other words, the IAEA is the typical anti-Semitic, anti-Western, ineffective UN agency.
El-Baradei wants a third term after his current one ends in 2005. The US officially is opposed because it prefers limiting agency heads to two terms. The US is REALLY opposed because El-Baradei is a useless git.
Last week, El-Baradei leaked both a letter he wrote to the current Iraqi leadership demanding that it account for certain stockpiles of HMX and RDX explosives totalling 380 tons that had been stored at the Al-QaQaa (don't laugh) military base and the Iraqi response that the materiel was not in Iraq. The IAEA had inspected the facility in March 2003, shortly before the US invasion.
That information was blared across the front page of the NY Times with the clear implication that the munitions were taken from Al-Qaqaa after the US invasion of Iraq -- i.e., the US negligently allowed the explosives to be smuggled out from Iraq. One problem: that implication is false, although that hasn't prevented the Times and the Kerry campaign from touting the story.
First, NBC reported that the Third Infantry Division secured and investigated al-Qaqaa and did not find the explosives. Second, contemporary reports on CBS and Fox noted that weapons inspectors and US forces found thousands of boxes with vials of powders that seemed to be explosive precursors. But storing 760,000 pounds of the stuff in small boxes with only three vials each in them would take a lot of room -- being generous, each box contains an ounce (total) of the powder and 760,000 pounds is equivalent to 12,160,000 ounces. The reports show that the inspectors found "thousands" of boxes. Even if that means 100,000 boxes, that's less than 1% of the powder explosives that REMAINED at al-Qaqaa when the US forces arrived there.
Second, the time, effort and manpower it would take for insurgents to smuggle 380 tons of explosives out from the US-guarded al-Qaqaa facility is tremendous.
Third, the IAEA did not even know if the RDX material remained at al-Qaqaa even at the time of its March 2003 inspection. As noted on NBC:
Three months earlier, during an inspection of the Al Qaqaa compound, the International Atomic Energy Agency secured and sealed 350 metric tons of HMX and RDX. Then in March, shortly before the war began, the I.A.E.A. conducted another inspection and found that the HMX stockpile was still intact and still under seal. But inspectors were unable to inspect the RDX stockpile and could not verify that the RDX was still at the compound.
The NBC News quote comes from here, courtesy Belmont Club.
So in March 2003, the IAEA inspectors were not allowed to verify the presence of explosives that they knew were stored at al-Qaqaa.
What's worse is that Charles Duelfer (head of the Iraq Survey Group) was a member of the UN inspection team in Iraq in 1995 and here's what the IAEA knew and did (from the article linked in title):
The chief American weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, told The New York Sun yesterday that in 1995, when he was a member of the U.N. inspections team in Iraq, he urged the United Nations' atomic watchdog to remove tons of explosives that have since been declared missing.
Mr. Duelfer said he was rebuffed at the time by the Vienna-based agency because its officials were not convinced the presence of the HMX, RDX, and PETN explosives was directly related to Saddam Hussein's programs to amass weapons of mass destruction.
So now, when you see the NY Times interview the wrong commander about its erroneous initial story and its editors decry the lax protection by the troops to secure WMD, realize that the Times is so far in the tank for Kerry that it makes Andrew Sullivan look moderate.
No wonder there's so little coverage of Kerry the commie stooge.