Timeline on Missing Explosives in Iraq

Some liberal media plot, huh

_ 1991: The International Atomic Energy Agency places a seal over storage bunkers holding conventional explosives known as HMX and RDX and PETN at the Al-Qaqaa facility south of Baghdad as part of U.N. sanctions that ordered the dismantlement of Iraq’s nuclear program after the Gulf War. HMX is a “dual use” substance powerful enough to ignite the fissile material in an atomic bomb and set off a nuclear chain reaction.

* January: IAEA inspectors view the explosives at Al-Qaqaa for the last time. The inspectors take an inventory and again place storage bunkers at Al-Qaqaa under agency seal.

* February: IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei tells the United Nations that Iraq has declared that “HMX previously under IAEA seal had been transferred for use in the production of industrial explosives.” This apparently didn’t include the HMX that remained under seal at Al-Qaqaa.

* March 9-15: Nuclear agency inspectors visit Al-Qaqaa for the last time but apparently don’t examine the explosives because the seals aren’t broken. The inspectors then pull out of the country.

* March 20: The U.S.-led coalition invades Iraq.

* April 3: The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division reaches Al-Qaqaa, fights with Iraqi forces, occupies the site and leaves after two days for Baghdad without searching for high explosives.

* April 9: The 3rd Infantry Division captures Baghdad.

* April 10: Troops from the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade spend 24 hours at the site, search for chemical weapons – but not high explosives – and then head to Baghdad. An NBC reporter embedded with the unit said there’s no talk among the 101st of securing the area after they leave.

* May 3: The nuclear agency purportedly notifies the U.S. Mission in Vienna of its concerns about the Al-Qaqaa facility.

* May 8: An American site survey team arrives to inspect the Latifiyah Phosgene Facility – part of Al-Qaqaa – and finds the plant heavily looted.

* May 11: An American site survey team arrives to inspect Latifiyah Missile and Rocket production facility, also part of Al-Qaqaa. The team assesses the facility as non-operational but with possible dual use.

* May 27: U.S. troops search specifically for high explosives. The troops find the seals have been broken. It’s not clear whether they did a further accounting of the materials themselves.


* Oct. 10: Iraq’s Ministry of Science and Technology tells the nuclear agency that 377 tons of explosives has disappeared from the Al-Qaqaa facility. The Iraqis say the materials were stolen after the April 9, 2003, fall of Baghdad because of a lack of security.

* Oct. 15: The IAEA informs the U.S. mission in Vienna about the disappearance. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice is informed days later, and she informs President Bush, according to White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

* Oct. 23-24: The Pentagon orders the U.S. military command in Baghdad to investigate the IAEA report.

* Oct. 25: ElBaradei reports the explosives’ disappearance to the U.N. Security Council after The New York Times reports the cache is missing.