Journalists are taught never to “bury the lead.” Yet it looks as if that’s precisely what CBS’s “60 Minutes” did in reporter Scott Pelley’s fascinating interview Sunday with George Piro, the FBI agent who debriefed Saddam Hussein following his capture in December 2003.
The Lebanese-born Mr. Piro, one of only a handful of agents at the bureau who speaks Arabic, was able to wheedle information from Saddam over a matter of months through a combination of flattery and ego-deflation that worked wonders with the former despot. But as Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute first noticed, the most important news in the segment comes when Mr. Piro describes his conversations with Saddam about weapons of mass destruction. The FBI interrogator says that, while Saddam said he no longer had active WMD programs in 2003, the dictator admitted that he intended to resume those programs as soon as he possibly could.
Iraq’s active WMD program had been destroyed, mostly by U.N. weapons inspectors, sometime in the 1990s, but Saddam told Mr. Piro that he maintained a pretense of having those weapons mainly to keep Iran at bay. This isn’t exactly news. The key point is Saddam’s admission that an Iraqi WMD program remained a threat so long as Saddam remained in power.
Opponents of the war argue that none of this matters because Saddam and his ambitions were being “contained” by U.N. sanctions. Hardly. As the Los Angeles Times reported in December 2000, “sanctions are crumbling among U.S. allies, who have begun challenging them with dozens of unauthorized flights into [Iraq].”
With Oil for Food working so well, well enough to make a few countries rich that is, France and Russia were at the forefront to reduce the sanctions, and over time we all know what would have happened. Those sanctions would have disappeared and Saddam would have survived again to ensure terror and tyranny reign supreme in Iraq and the region by restarting that WMD program.
This isn’t only are intelligence services telling us this, its in Saddam’s own words.
But why tell that story? It would only prove Bush was right and that is NOT the narrative our MSM and the left wish to convey.