The Corner

Re: “He Shall Direct Thy Paths…”

Bill Tierney, the former U.N. weapons inspector who brought the Saddam Tapes to light, has responded to my article, He Shall Direct Thy Paths to the Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Dear Mr. York,

Thank you for covering another angle of the Saddam Tapes story. Before I address the substance of your remarks, allow me a few minor corrections. I asserted that other tapes may have valuable information on the 93 WTC bombing and the OKC bombing. I knew that this information was not on the tapes I analyzed. I take this view after the excellent study by Laurie Mylroie in “A Study in Revenge” and the pathetic disinformation campaign from the Iraqis, who trotted out an (overweight) Mr. Yasin to spit nonsense for Leslie Stahl of CBS. Supposedly Yasin was in jail for this crime, yet documents surfaced showing him on an Iraqi government stipend for his service. Jayna Davis is to be commended for the excellent investigative work that resulted in “The Third Terrorist” regarding the Oklahoma City bombing. Both works show an Iraqi hand in their continuing war against the United States. It was for this reason that I suggested that the FBI not be tasked to exploit the tapes, given the potential conflict of interest.

I would not be surprised if there were a taped meeting where Saddam wants to know why the World Trade Center did not fall into the Hudson River as planned.

The other major error in your piece was the contention I stated that Saddam Hussein used Stephen Hatfill to do their dirty work. If you had been listening more closely, you would have heard me say they could have their proxies send the anthrax letters, then point the finger at a former associate of Fort Detrick, such as Mr. Hatfill. I maintain that Mr. Hatfill was innocence based on examination of his public statements and the paucity of reliable evidence. You should really check the CSPAN tape before you commit your errors to print.

Thank you for bringing my Christian practice to light. I am not sure of your motivation, but you accurately recorded my statements. I wouldn’t expect you to investigate some of the stories on my departure from the military, but here is the long and short of it. Self-serving career worshipers hated Scott Ritter. I worked on the inspections with Scott, so they hated me too. (I am the Bill Turner on page 169 of his book “Endgame.”) There was a serious dose of jealousy because I was very aggressive as an inspector, had maintained my Arabic when most lost it, and had volunteered to target the Iraqi internal security infrastructure, a high-risk proposition in a risk-averse atmosphere. Thus, an innocuous prayer with a Christian Iraqi defector was turned into a crime against the state, and I was put in a position of compromising my oath to protect the Constitution and forsaking my faith, or resigning my position as a matter of honor.

On John Loftus, I don’t have to agree with everything he has written to appreciation [sic] his hard work at bringing the Intelligence Summit together. Your readers can check the site to see all the other great presentations.

I guess I just can’t stop taking risks. If no further information on an underground EMIS facility comes to light, I guess you could say I was just hearing things. However, after Saddam finally takes his much-deserved bullet, and the fear of a Baath Party return subsides, and information comes out to prove me right, I will have Byron York to thank for all those people who are inspired to have a more profound relationship with God because of this testimony.

And by the way, you failed to mention the segment of the tapes regarding the use of civilian electrical energy from Basra being diverted to the nuclear bomb program. The location I identified had the high tension wires required to receive the necessary amount of power.

Also, while conducting counterintel ops in Baghdad, a translator I was screening volunteered that during Desert Shield he was sent to the Tarmiya EMIS facility to translate for the human shields held there. During this duty, a security officer told him he had gotten sick while guarding work in an nearby underground facility. All the workers took frequent breaks, but he stayed in the environment all day and got sick. This is just down the road from the location I spotted.

We shall see.

Regards,

Bill Tierney

My response: The second paragraph of my story, which said that the tapes had not been “fully analyzed,” was not clear enough in stating that Tierney was referring to other, as yet unheard, tapes. I have changed the sentence to read “Tierney said he believes other tapes, which have not yet been heard, will eventually reveal that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.”

As for my characterization of what Tierney said about Steven Hatfill, I believe my reporting is correct.

After Tierney’s presentation on Saturday, a CNN producer asked him a question which said, according to my notes: “Do I infer correctly that you believe that the anthrax letters were an attack on the U.S. by Iraq, with Steven Hatfill being used as a proxy by Iraq?” Tierney gave a one-word answer: “Yes.”

After receiving Tierney’s letter, I checked with CNN, and the quote is accurate. However, in Tierney’s speech to the conference, he also said at one point that Hatfill was innocent, so it is not clear what Tierney’s theory of the case is.

Byron York is a former White House correspondent for National Review.

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