Friday, February 17, 2006


ABC Cleanses Saddam Tapes

Newsmax reports that ABC "Nightline" has been caught reinterpreting the Saddam tapes given to them by FBI interpreter and former weapons inspector Bill Tierney. In a clear and obvious attempt to minimize the threat established in the tapes, "Nightline" cut out a crucial reference by Saddam to arranging for terrorist attacks inside the U.S.:

The FBI translator who supplied the 12 hours of Saddam Hussein audiotapes excerpted by ABC's "Nightline" Wednesday night now says the network discarded his translations and went with a less threatening version of the Iraqi dictator's comments.

"What you heard on ABC News was their translation," former U.N. weapons inspector Bill Tierney told ABC Radio's Sean Hannity on Thursday.

"They came up with something different on a key element regarding terrorism in the United States," Tierney insisted.

In the "Nightline" version of the 1996 recording, Saddam predicts that Washington, D.C., would be hit by terrorists. But he adds that Iraq would have nothing to do with the attack.

Tierney says, however, that what Saddam actually said was much more sinister. "He was discussing his intent to use chemical weapons against the United States and use proxies so it could not be traced back to Iraq," he told Hannity.

In a passage not used by "Nightline," Tierney says Saddam declares: "Terrorism is coming. ... In the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. What if we consider this technique, with smuggling?"

Tierney's full translations are set for release this weekend by The Intelligence Group in Washington, D.C.

Imagine my surprise that a major network news program would censor and misrepresent solid evidence supporting an element of the Bush administration's cassus belli. Then again, it is ABC.

I'm not so sure about Bill Tierney. Neither is Byron York.

Roger L. Simon, however, is not so ready to dismiss Tierney's message:
Nevertheless, I suspect Tierney was telling the truth as he knew it - and not just because Christ was "whispering in his ear." The man clearly has a great command of Arabic, including the Tikriti dialect, and of the culture. His translation of the Saddam Tapes is most likely more accurate than the one offered by ABC, although I of course would have no way of knowing. It is obviously only a hunch on my part. The most interesting part of the tapes to me, however, was not the discussion of "biologicals" whose translation is under dispute. Later in the tapes, we hear an Iraqi scientist reporting to Saddam about their plasma program. Plasma is a key ingredient in the development of thermonuclear weapons. That was in the year 2000. Those who dismiss these tapes as ancient history ought to think about that.

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