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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Iraqi Nuclear Site Also Looted - Boston Globe

This account parallels what happened at Al Qaqaa. Troops were NOT ordered to guard the nuclear facility at Tuwaitha, which was completely looted.

Boston Globe
Eyewitness to a failure in Iraq
By Peter W. Galbraith | October 27, 2004

.... "When he found out, the young American lieutenant was devastated. He shook his head and said, 'I hope I am not responsible for Armageddon.' About the same time, looters entered the warehouses at Iraq's sprawling nuclear facilities at Tuwaitha on Baghdad's outskirts. They took barrels of yellowcake (raw uranium), apparently dumping the uranium and using the barrels to hold water. US troops were at Tuwaitha but did not interfere.

"There was nothing secret about the Disease Center or the Tuwaitha warehouses. Inspectors had repeatedly visited the center looking for evidence of a biological weapons program. The Tuwaitha warehouses included materials from Iraq's nuclear program, which had been dismantled after the 1991 Gulf War. The United Nations had sealed the materials, and they remained untouched until the US troops arrived."

* * * *

"Some of the looting continued for many months -- possibly into 2004. Using heavy machinery, organized gangs took apart, according to [an] IAEA [report this month], 'entire buildings that housed high-precision equipment.' This equipment could be anywhere. But one good bet is Iran, which has had allies and agents in Iraq since shortly after the US-led forces arrived.

"This was a preventable disaster. Iraq's nuclear weapons-related materials were stored in only a few locations, and these were known before the war began. As even L. Paul Bremer III, the US administrator in Iraq, now admits, the United States had far too few troops to secure the country following the fall of Saddam Hussein. But even with the troops we had, the United States could have protected the known nuclear sites. It appears that troops did not receive relevant intelligence about Iraq's WMD facilities, nor was there any plan to secure them. Even after my briefing, the Pentagon leaders did nothing to safeguard Iraq's nuclear sites."


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