Kerry Clings to 'Missing Explosives' Story on Tuesday

Susan Jones | Morning Editor | Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Kerry Clings to 'Missing Explosives' Story on Tuesday

( - Speaking in Wisconsin Tuesday morning, Sen. John F. Kerry continued to blast the Bush administration for its "failure" to secure explosives at an Iraqi military facility -- ignoring reports that those explosives already had vanished by the time U.S. troops arrived at the al-Qaqaa facility in April 2003.

"Yesterday we learned that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives vanished from one of Iraq's most sensitive military installations after the invasion," Kerry said Tuesday morning at a campaign stop in Wisconsin.

Monday's New York Times headlined news of the missing explosives, suggesting that the U.S. government ignored warnings to secure them. The Kerry campaign described the "failure to secure" the explosives as an example of the Bush administration's "stunning incompetence."

But on Monday night, NBC News said it had a reporter embedded with U.S. troops when they arrived at the al-Qaqaa facility -- one day after the fall of Baghdad -- and the explosives already were gone by then.

Tuesday's New York Times noted that its story about the missing explosives had become a campaign issue -- one that the Kerry campaign continues to promote, as it turns out.

In his Tuesday morning stump speech, Kerry said that President Bush "has failed in his fundamental obligation as commander-in-chief to make America as safe and secure as we ought to be."