DAVID ASMAN: well a full week before the 101st airborne visited the weapons facility, members of the third infantry division were there. bret bair live from the pept know gon.
BRET BAIER: the key is the time line. let’s start with the iaea. they sealed and tagged at least some of the 377 tons of missing explosives at this facility. and now in march 8, 2003, they went back to the site. the iaea says they checked on some of though explosives at the site but did not see all of explosives. they did not check on all of them. they leave and the war starts. and the next date is april 3. that is when the third infantry division arrives at the site. there you see the front gate. this is seven days before dana lewis and the 101st airborne division gets there. they engage iraqi forces who are firing on u.s. troops from inside the facility. the facility is open, they’re getting engaged by iraqi forces inside the facility. the third i.d. takes them out and they do a primary search and they are not looking specifically for the iaea marked materials but it’s not noted in any of the commander’s reports. and then the 101st moves in and they do cursory searches and they move on, and nothing is noted. the next date is may 8, 2003, when the 75th exploytation task force comes in. they search the bunkers and don’t find any of the marked material. u.s. commanders point out if you’re to believe that all of this was looted between april 11 and may 8, that’s 28 days, when convoys are moving up and down the road on those very roads, moving to baghdad, the u.s. troops are pushing forward. it would be tough to get 28 truckloads they say, out of that facility without being engaged by u.s. troops on those roads during that war. because at the time they point out that they were engaging anybody that was suspicious and didn’t stop for a check. now today on the campaign trail in florida, vice president cheney addressed the issue of missing explosives, saying john kerry is playing arm chair general and is “”not doing a good job of it.””
THE VICE PRESIDENT: john kerry doesn’t know if those explosives were even at the weapons facility when our troops arrived in the area of baghdad. the senator’s foreign policy advisor richard holbrooke admitted as much yesterday when he said twice “”i don’t know the truth.”” john kerry though is not one to let a shortage of facts better him. he rushed out to put up a tv ad saying there was a failure to contain these explosives when he had no idea if they were there to be secured.
BAIER: yesterday in washington the interim vice president of iraq when asked if he thought the explosives were looted after the war stated that saddam moved a lot of things before the war and “”it’s not clear if the explosives disappeared before the war toops took place or after the war took place.”” david?
ASMAN: one thing that we do know now, and correct me if i’m wrong, the “”the new york times”” reported on monday that the weapons appeared to have been taken recently, or gone missing within the past month or so. that clearly does not appear to be true, right?
BAIER: that is not true. may 8, 2003, the 75th task force exploitation task force searched the 32 bunkers and found no iaea marked material. which meant in may of 2003, they knew those explosives were gone.
ASMAN: all right, bret baire with the details from the pentagon.