This is great news. I’m glad that Senator Rich Santorum and Congressman Pete Hoekstra made the annoucement at their press conference today. It’s interesting that the weapons were found by a military organization, The National Ground Intelligence Center instead of the Iraq Survey Group because they were more thorough in their search. Ed Morrisey has this wire report from Fox News

Hoekstra and Santorum lamented that Americans were given the impression after a 16-month search conducted by the Iraq Survey Group that the evidence of continuing research and development of weapons of mass destruction was insignificant. But the National Ground Intelligence Center took up where the ISG left off when it completed its report in November 2004, and in the process of collecting intelligence for the purpose of force protection for soldiers and sailors still on the ground in Iraq, has shown that the weapons inspections were incomplete, they and others have said.

“We know it was there, in place, it just wasn’t operative when inspectors got there after the war, but we know what the inspectors found from talking with the scientists in Iraq that it could have been cranked up immediately, and that’s what Saddam had planned to do if the sanctions against Iraq had halted and they were certainly headed in that direction,” said Fred Barnes, editor of The Weekly Standard and a FOX News contributor.

Allahpundit seems a little underwhelmed but has many links to this story. And he has one really good question from an emailer….

how can you fail to cheer the revelation about the wmds in iraq? and why haven’t you asked the next question? how long has this information been in the hands of the intel community? why haven’t we heard about this before?
it’s quite an interesting story, i think we will discover.

I think it’s very interesting that the National Ground Intelligence Center kept this news quiet. They obviously had a reason and I think it was probably because they wanted to find more munitions and didn’t want to clue in the insurgency. Plus they don’t leak like a sieve unlike the CIA.

Austin Bay has a sober analysis.

I have to crow a little. My husband said they were there all along. Before the Iraq War my husband was the assistant chief of staff for Financial Management at V CORPS for the United States Army. Prior to his transfer to the United States he was in on the preliminary planning for the invasion of Iraq.

As a senior staff officer, he had also been briefed on the terrorists capability just prior to and after 911. He was concerned after the successful invasion of Iraq because his friends who had been in the war had found the mobile labs and warehouses which had been one of the intelligence signs of the continuing WMD Programs.

When he asked one of the senior intelligence officers why everyone was saying that there was no WMD evidence he was told that although the evidence was found and reported, the congress (my husband infers the Democrats) said that this was not enough. The people my husband talked to were very frustrated by the skepticism displayed. One even asked “what do these people want, thirty thousand dead bodies killed by gas or bio?”

My husband said that he was briefed that normally bio or chemical munitions were not assembled until required and that was normally done just before using them. So to find munitions that were ready to go would be pretty hard to do.

In the past munitions that contained the chemical agents were really hard to get rid of and had all sorts of problems when being handled. So it is logical to assume that actual chemical or biological munitions should rarely be found unless they were getting ready to use them. (or had not learned the lessons of the danger of assembled chemical and biological munitions.)

My husband still believes that the discovery of these chemical weapons which were made prior to the invasion does not mean that Saddam Hussein did not have a continuing program since the handling of these old munitions should have taught him the importance of keeping the ingredients in a more stable environment rather than directly on the battlefield. Therefore any new weapons could look like bug spray or be easily disposed.