Send in the Clowns

Above: John ‘Oopsie McDoodles’ Hinderaker, amateur intelligence expert

[Note: Also see our original piece on the beginning of this fiasco, in March of this year.]

So: in a futile effort to prove that Saddam was the world’s biggest and most nastiest threat to freedom since Kim Jong Il transformed himself into a billion-gajillion Hitlers, our government posted several Iraqi documents on the Internets containing critical information on how to build an atomic bomb:

The nation’s top intelligence official took down a government Web site with captured Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi documents, after questions were raised whether it provided too much information about making atomic bombs.

In a statement Thursday night, a spokesman for National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said his office has suspended public access to the Web site “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.â€? […]

Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told NBC News that outside experts, including the director of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, informed the Bush administration that it might have inadvertently publicized how-to-manuals for making nuclear bombs.

A diplomat affiliated with the IAEA said its inspectors were “shocked by the explicitness of the content� on the Web site and that a senior agency official conveyed the concerns to U.S. diplomats in Vienna, where the agency is based.


And just to give you a refresher, let’s recall who was pushing for these documents to be published online in the first place. Why that’s right! It was our good friends at Powerline:

One of several conservative blogs devoting attention to the release,, set up a separate page to catalog its findings and news reports on what the documents reveal.

“These documents are going to shed a lot of light on a regime that was quite successful in maintaining secrecy,” said John Hinderaker, one of three men who run the site. “Before the first Gulf War, Saddam was perilously close to getting nuclear weapons and people didn’t know it. The evils of the regime will be reflected.”

Of course, if you expected the Powerline guys to show some humiliation or shame over this collosal blunder, you’d be sorely mistaken:

The New York Times now has carried unthinking Bush-bashing to a point beyond caricature. Today, as Tiger Hawk notes, it quotes with apparent approval “experts” who say that Saddam was as little as a year away from building an atom bomb.

Uh, OK. Let’s go to that graf in the Times (my emphasis):

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

Guys? I’m pretty sure the “experts” were referring to the time right after the first Gulf War, and not 2002. But hey, what do I know? Unlike Captain Ed and friends, I never took the time to translate all the Iraqi documents into Klingon and Elvish.

Anyway, let’s go back to Powerline:

The Times does so in order to show that the Bush administration acted recklessly when it published captured Iraqi documents that describe that country’s WMD programs, because those documents might be used by another country in furtherance of building WMD.

Did the Times just say that Saddam’s Iraq was a year away from building a nuclear weapon? I guess so. Good thing Saddam’s no longer in power.

As Tiger Hawk puts it, “the New York Times owes Judith Miller an apology. Or at least a hat tip.” Not to mention President Bush.

Posted by Paul at 08:29 PM


UPDATE: Hoo boy, this thing has turned into a right-wing meme, hasn’t it? According to Digby, both Condi Rice and Dan Bartlet have hit the airwaves parroting this bogus “SADDAM WAS ONLY A YEAR AWAY FROM HAVING NUKES!111” claim. As the Digster notes:

Dan Bartlett’s out there right now saying exactly the same thing. Mitchell corrected him, but this looks like the official party line. They really do think their base is completely braindead. They would know.

They sure would. Hey, anyone think Old Yeller’s gonna be home for dinner tonight?


Comments: 46


Don’t forget good ol’ Michelle.

Funny how all the clowns can’t seem to remember we just blew up the entire country proving that they did not have a WMD program (just as the UN inspectors shrub ordered out of the country had told us).


See? The wingnuts were right all along. Iraq was considering thinking about becoming interested in drawing up plans for a nuclear weapon, which makes them an imminent threat to world peace, whereas our stockpiles of ready-to-ship nuclear weapons in Rumsfeld’s garage are there to keep us safe from the nutters that might make some someday.


More slapstick from the Keystone Kops and the Whole Sick Crew. Talk about Bush Derangement Syndrome. Trying to defend his Administration turns you into Charly from Flowers for Algernon, without the lucid section in the middle.


Y’all don’t understand, this was the plan–the Bush administration wants John Hinderaker and Glenn Reynolds to build the Bomb.


Come on, y’all, this is obvious and irrefutable evidence of weapons of mass destruction…-related… program… um, act–activities?

Karatist Preacher

Can you make that spiral thing move? Thanks.


Oooh, the wingers translated them into Klingon & Elvish? Actually, I prefer to use the term Elfish, but that started a big hub-bub at the Circle of Mages & Unicorns (my basement). The enusing grappling (in a Jesus’ General heteroway) resulted in Mtn Dew all over my vintage Monster Manual. Luckily, my 1st printing of Deities and Demigods was spared.


We need an expert in Arabic kerning


We had to give the terrorists the nuclear recipie so they wouldn’t get it from Hussein!


I like how the pinheads at World Net Daily are interviewing terrorists about the election:


Guys? I’m pretty sure the “experts� were referring to the time right after the first Gulf War, and not 2002. But hey, what do I know?

Oh, yeah, right! You probably think that when John Kerry made two jokes about George Bush and immediately followed that up with his “stuck in Iraq” line he was also referring to Bush! Sheesh!


The wingnut brigade is indeed using the talking point: Aha, proof! Saddam was ready to produce nuclear weapons! Peemption is vidicated. Ho-boy. I wingnuts are evidently using the meth that Ted Haggard “threw away.”


This is Christmas for the wingnuts, even though they’ve yet to discover the roast beast was never delivered and the Grinch just pinched one to replace it.
Cindy Lou-Who, when she grows up and becomes politically aware, will be quite peeved.


I was curious, so I clicked “save as” on the picture, and the title is blue_sky_hindyburg2. I found that immensely funny, then tried to figure out what the first one was.


Hmmm. So if the New York Times publishes a photo of Rumsfeld’s house, that’s gonna help the terrorists, um, hurt America.

Publishing nuclear weapons schematics in Arabic on the Internet: Proof that the US needed to invade Iraq.

I often wondered why the US occupation was operated with such complete incompetence as to ensure the maximum potential disaster. Then I read stuff like this and wonder why it hasn’t turned out worse.


God bless you for this. Thank you.


Did somebody tell wacky John the cousin-fucker that after we invaded Iraq we had these guys go around looking for the nukes and didn’t find any? Oh, and bush even helped out by looking under the table in the oval office? And, umm, nobody found jack diddley? So, if mega-evil saddam was about to produce eleventy nine megaton thermonucular planet-destroying atomic bombs, shouldn’t there have been, oh, I dunno, a few pieces of ’em laying around?



Thank you President Bush, for taking the action needed to destroy the Iraqi regime that was seeking WMDs.


The nutroots propaganda about this causing anything negative is just absurd.

The fact is that this shows that Iraq was seeking WMDs and decieving the World.


The slackjawed corruptor of youth thinks he’s congratulating the current occupant of the White House. Had he any reading comprehension skills whatsoever, he would of course know that the documents are from 1991, and that the First Gulf War destroyed Saddam’s nuclear weapons capability, never to be regained.

Poor, stupid Ruppert. So easily fooled, so painfully disappointed.


Bush should have been punched for that “looking for WMDs” stunt. Face, crotch, anywhere, I don’t care. Anyone with a shred of humanity should have walked up there and cold-clocked his ass.

Know what would be funny? If Kim Jon Il grew a Chaplin.


I’d like to see Kim with a Van Dyke, but that’s just me.

Gary, go away. Stupidity is only funny for,’s not funny anymore. Hundreds of thousands have died due to stupidity such as yours. Today you’re not amusing, you’re a fucking tool.
And every blog and media tool that tries to spin this as proof they were right, when they were horrendously, criminally wrong deserves a swift kick in the nuts, at the least.
Yeah, I’m pissed.


You guys don’t understand: By giving the Iranians the instructions for building nukes over there, we don’t have to give them instructions for building nukes here at home.


So, wait. The government put up documents from Iraq’s pre-Gulf War nuclear program, including schematics on what progress Hussein’s government made in putting together said boom-boom. What’s more, the whole thing was in Arabic and easily availible on-line. The stories and documents are all fairly clear that whatever its discussing, it’s almost 15 years old. Is that all right?

And you’re telling me the wingnuts are saying this vindicates the whole WMD? Seriously? They have no problem with the U.S. government posting nuclear schematics? Really?

That’s just…bumfuzzling. Man.

joey jo jo shabadoo

Jeez, people. Don’t you know giving the terrorists nukes is just part of the secret plan!? They’re not going to tell you because you’d blow it.


When I was younger, I never dreamed that Republicans could be so much fun. They always seemed so dour. But now! Hoo-boy, this is first-class entertainment.


Wingnut A: “No WMD? LOOK ! We’ve got DOCUMENTS of INTENT !! See?”
Wingnut B: “Yeah!! Our cause is justified!
Wingnut A: “You gonna enlist?”
Wingnut B: “Ummm, No.”

Wingnut A: “Oh shit. There were plans to build an atomic bomb left out in the open.”
Wingnut B: “We’ve got DOCUMENTS of INTENT !! Bwahahah Moonbats!!!”


Weapons of Mass Destruction Related Activities.
Collateral damage.
Friendly fire.
Will we ever use anything other than double-speak again? ‘Cause I’m tired of explaining to the less bright what euphemisms really mean.
I think this is part of the problem. Couched in language the average mouth-breather can’t understand, we’re the heroes, spreaders of democracy and the undisputed children of God.
Scotch isn’t helping anymore, either.


The Grand Theft Party published the plans, hoping that some Eye-Racki would get a bomb built in time so they could catch him, just in time for Aylection Day. They even scattered around some o’ that Nigerian yellacake in packages stamped with the URL,, but so far, no luck.


The Bar association test for reading comprehension ability? Cause it looks like the answer is no.

Oh, wait – I’m assuming Powerliners are stupid, not mendacious. It’s really not fair of me to give them so little credit, huh?


You know what would have been really cool? If we’d had, like, some Arabic translators in the military who could have looked at this stuff and, um, translated it. Then, we could have maybe not put blueprints of nucular weapons on the internets.

Yeah, that would have been cool. The only thing better than that, would be to have a bunch of Arabic translators and then FIRE THEM because they were Teh Ghey. Now THAT would have been really fucking awesome!!!1!!

Your tax dollars at work people. Your government keeping you safe.

Had enough?


[…] From the Nobody Wants the Next Smoking Gun of Washington Stupidity to Be a Mushroom Cloud Department: Laura Ingraham helps Condi Rice spin what happened fifteen years ago into today’s headlines. QUESTION: Well, we were just delighted that finally The New York Times was reporting something about Saddam’s plans – […]


Weapons of Mass Destruction Related Activities.

No, no, it’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction Program Related Activities.”

Let’s not give away any more secrets to the Islamosecularhumanistfascist than are absolutely necessary.


Oh, so this must be what was meant by WMD programrelatedactivities. It turns out they weren’t sent to Syria after all, but were cleverly smuggled out by posting them on the intertoobz. Nefarious!

Gary's Pooper (aka fabbo)

The fact is, the documents were written in a foreign language. Uneducated Arabs would not have been able to read them. The Damned-o-crats are making political hay out of molehill, and it will come back to bite them in the teeth.

herr doktor bimler

The Damned-o-crats are making political hay out of molehill, and it will come back to bite them in the teeth.

[sneezes coffee over monitor].
[meanwhile, faithful feline companion #1 sneezes catfood over keyboard].

They are looking for a camel in a haystack. This is the last needle’s eye that broke the camel’s back. It is a total red-goose chase, and a kettle of wild herrings. I mean, a kettle of worms, and red herrings in a pot called black.


It was nice of us to put these documents online in the original Arabic. Al Qaeda probably doesn’t like gay translators either and won’t be needing them anyway for these “atom bomb building for dummies” documents.

But I’m sure the website wasn’t up long enough for anyone to have copied these documents. Certainly not any terrorists. Or anyone that would gladly pass them along to terrorists. Yikes.

Nice job, idiots. Whatever happened to the Rosenbergs anyway?


You might want to check out this video. It is really low to trick the troops into thinking a politician is insulting them. The context CLEARLY shows Kerry was talking about Bush. For Bush to upset the troops in order to score political points is really low.

they're all midgets

Don’t blame the Elves! It was all the Klingons’ fault!


Given the sheer strategic genius that must have gone into making the decision to post these documents on the Web in the first place, Riddle Me This:

What do you think the odds are that even though ShrubCo. took down it’s original how-to-build-a-nuke Web site, that the info is still available somewhere in a Google cache or the Wayback Machine? Either via the original site or via the many helpful links in Hinderaker’s “library.” Nice going guys.


Ha! And all you liberal hippies thought those Cap’n Crunch decoder rings were kiddie toys!

Hindraker’s a goddamn genius. By consulting the Rosetta Stone, and with the help of Madame Mamie’s “Orb of Wisdom,” he has been able to pretty much figure out that whole Quantum Mechanics thing, even while he’s also been a “double-secret” Internets spy for the Bushies.

What a polymath! Forget that whole Army of One thingie–Hinie’s an Army of Davids unto himself!


Imagine if this had happened during the Clinton administration. These same wingtards would be forming lynching parties.


It’s hard to believe that democrats have been losing to these nitwits for the last decade. Yet, it’s the American people who voted for these shitheads. Sheeeeesh!!!


It’s hard to believe that democrats have been losing to these nitwits for the last decade. Yet, it’s the American people who voted for these shitheads. Sheeeeesh!!!

With a little help from Corruplicans and Diebold, of course.


Wow. Every day, I think And then I open my eyes, and BLAM – another stupidasallgetout Replicant Party idear lowers my children’s chances to survive into adulthood.

Heckuva job, Bushies.


Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.

Far be it from me to defend someone as intellectually dishonest as Hinderaker, but I will give him this much: At least one version of the story that was online did not include the bolded phrase. I know this because I was so struck by the way the sentence read that I e-mailed the reporter immediately. It took a few days, but he responded, saying that the reference was indeed to the time around the First Gulf War, not 2002.


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