During a segment in which John Gibson and Julie Banderas were speculating on whether there was any truth to the baseless reports and statements from unidentified “experts” that Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction had been secretly transported from Iraq to Syria before the Iraq war and “might have been put in the hands of Hezbollah,” the onscreen text read: “Are Saddam Hussein's WMDs Now in Hezbollah's Hands?”
On the July 21 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, during a report on the “scary 'what ifs' ” surrounding the current conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, host John Gibson, along with Fox News' The Big Story Weekend Edition host Julie Banderas, speculated on whether there was any truth to the baseless reports and statements from unidentified “experts” that Saddam Hussein's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was secretly transported to Syria prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and “might have been put in the hands of Hezbollah.” Throughout the segment, the onscreen text read: “Are Saddam Hussein's WMDs Now in Hezbollah's Hands?”
During the report, Banderas endeavored to “separate fact from fiction.” Not mentioned at any time during the segment was the fact that the Iraq Survey Group's final report, commonly known as the Duelfer report, included no evidence that any secret transfer of weapons from Iraq to Syria had ever taken place.
From the July 21 edition of The Big Story with John Gibson:
GIBSON: It has been claimed by several individuals that Saddam Hussein smuggled his weapons of mass destruction out to Syria before the U.S. invaded Iraq. Now, one report suggests these WMDs might have been put in the hands of Hezbollah in order to strike Israel. Here, now, the host of The Big Story Weekend Edition, Julie Banderas. So, what do we know?
BANDERAS: All right, John. Well, this just adds to the “what ifs” -- I mean, scary “what ifs.” You know, what if Hezbollah had chemical weapons? While, it's, of course, purely speculative right now, it is a definite possibility, and so is the possibility of Israeli troops carrying out ground invasions into Lebanon. We've been watching them massing up and lining up along the Lebanon border today. But if they do go in, the worry is: What awaits them on the other side?
Now, you may remember yesterday Al Jazeera television airing an interview with Hassan Nasrallah -- he's the leader of Hezbollah -- and he warns, “We have a number of surprises up our sleeves.” What's he talking about? What does that mean? Well, John, there's widespread concern that could mean weapons of mass destruction.
So, here's what we do know. OK, let's try to separate fact from fiction here. Syria does have chemical weapons. Six months ago, in fact, former Iraqi general Georges Sada told Fox that Saddam Hussein had his WMD program flown out of Iraq and into Syria before we invaded Iraq. General Sada also says it was flown out on a series of 747 flights. Civilian aircraft were used; the seats were taken out, replaced with chemical weapons. That means the documentation, the test equipment, the production equipment, everything and anything that had to do with Saddam Hussein's WMD program was flown to Syria.
And we also know this. As you know, Iran, it funds Hezbollah, giving them over $100 million a year. Iran wants nuclear weapons; Iran supports Syria. Some experts say if Hezbollah has any WMDs and uses them that they'll probably trace back to Iraq, possibly, and keep Syria's hands clean of this.
BANDERAS: Could you imagine that possibility?
GIBSON: Well, Syria's hands wouldn't be clean, but sure, it's a possibility, especially if that stuff was taken out of Iraq and into Syria. Julie Banderas, thank you very much.