Our contributor Rick Moran supplies a valuable caution on the Saddam tapes and John Loftus' claim of a "smoking gun." He also references Byron York's excellent post on NRO's The Corner and Lorie Byrd of Polipundit.
...when John Loftus, the organizer of this weekend's 'Intelligence Summit' came out and said that there was a 'smoking gun' in these tapes that proved the existence of WMD in Iraq prior to our invasion, I was skeptical. I remembered from the Duelfer Report that close aides to Saddam had routinely lied to the dictator about his own WMD program so any conversations about WMD on the tapes would have to be listened to bearing that in mind.
And I also had to consider the source himself. Yesterday, I said that Loftus was considered a 'gadfly' by the intelligence establishment. As it turns out, I was being too kind by half.
Rick, Byron York and Lorie Byrd are all three top tier thinkers and analysts. The tapes are not a smokming gun, and there is no reason to go out on a limb for them. But there is also no damage done to the case for WMD in Iraq, unless, possibly, one stakes the case on the reputation of the messengers bringing the tapes to light.
Thomas Lifson 2 16 06