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Fox Re-Discovers Explosives Story

Reported by Judy - October 29, 2004 -

Fox and Friends today (Oct. 29) were back on the trail of the explosives missing from the Al Qaqaa weapons depot in Iraq.

As Ellen pointed out in her previous post, Fox was unsure how to handle the story late yesterday, but they figured it out overnight. In the segment beginning at 8 a.m. EDT, the co-hosts kept alive the Washington Times story from yesterday that the Russians moved the explosives out before the U.S. invasion and displayed the satellite photos released by the Pentagon showing semi-tractor trailers parked outside two of the 56 bunkers at the site. At the same time, Fox News' web page was running a story saying:

"Senior Defense officials urged caution over the [Washington] Times report because they don't know the substance of the report to be true at this time. A similar report appears on the Financial Times Web site, with the following response from Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita: 'I am unaware of any particular information on that point.'

Senior sources told FOX News that Shaw actually works in a defense building away from the Pentagon, and it isn't clear how this person has the authority or the knowledge to speak on such a matter."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also denied the story, saying he had no information at all to even slightly validate it. As co-host Steve Doocy would say, "Hmmmmmm."

Then F&F followed up with video from KSTP TV taken at the time U.S. troops arrived at Al Qaqaa, which appeared to show some material with International Atomic Energy Agency seals still in bunkers at the facility.

The Friends reported the two matters as if they cancelled each other out -- implying that the Pentagon photos show the stuff possibly being moved out, possibly by the Russians, and the KSTP video showing it still there after the U.S. invasion, which they don't. The Pentagon makes no claim that HDX and RDX was being moved, only that there was activity at the site.

While reporting all this conflicting information, Fox is able to obscure the underlying issue: Why didn't the administration secure this facility as soon as possible so it could say more definitively what happened? The reason: Not enough troops because George Bush rushed to war.