Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) announced Wednesday the discovery of more than 500 munitions or weapons of mass destruction, specifically “sarin- and mustard-filled projectiles,” in Iraq.
Reading from unclassified portions of a document developed by the U.S. intelligence community, Santorum said, “Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.”
According to Santorum, “That means in addition to the 500, there are filled and unfilled munitions still believed to exist within the country.”
Reading from the document, Santorum added, “Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the Black Market. Use of these weapons by terrorist or insurgent groups would have implications for coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside of Iraq cannot be ruled out. The most likely munitions remaining are sarin- and mustard-filled projectiles. And I underscore filled.”
Santorum said the “purity of the agents inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives and environmental storage conditions.”
While acknowledging that the agents “degrade over time,” the document said that the chemicals “remain hazardous and potentially lethal.”
The media has reported that “insurgents and Iraqi groups” want to “acquire and use chemical weapons,” Santorum noted.
The Pennsylvania senator called the finding “incredibly” significant.
“The idea that, as my colleagues have repeatedly said in this debate on the other side of the aisle, that there are no weapons of mass destruction is in fact false,” Santorum said. “We have found over 500 weapons of mass destruction and in fact have found that there are additional chemical weapons still in the country.”
Cybercast News Service reported on Oct. 4, 2004 that Saddam Hussein had procured weapons of mass destruction and had developed extensive links to al Qaeda. A follow-up report on Oct. 13, 2004 detailed how the CIA’s chief weapons inspector in Iraq had provided details corroborating information contained in 42 pages of Iraqi intelligence documents obtained by Cybercast News Service..
The so-called Duelfer report, named for its author, Charles Duelfer, is widely recognized for declaring that no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. Other details of the report, however, provide a glimpse of what some Iraq experts say is Saddam’s attempt to continue to wage war against the U.S. after the first Gulf War ended.