Citing no evidence, Hannity maintains Iraqi WMDs “were moved”
On the January 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing the execution of Saddam Hussein, co-host Sean Hannity again claimed of Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction, “I believe there were WMDs” in Iraq, adding, “I believe they were moved.” As Media Matters for America has previously noted, the Iraq Survey Group's final report, commonly known as the Duelfer report, did not find any evidence that illicit weapons were secretly transferred out of Iraq.
According to the Duelfer report's Key Findings:
- “Saddam Husayn ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program."
- “While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991."
- “Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of [Biological Warfare] weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent. However ISG lacks evidence to document complete destruction."
On January 17, 2005, the Associated Press wrote that unnamed “intelligence and congressional officials say they have not seen any information -- never 'a piece,' said one -- indicating that WMD or significant amounts of components and equipment were transferred from Iraq to neighboring Syria, Jordan or elsewhere.” The same article reported that the ISG's chief, Charles Duelfer, “told a Senate panel ... that it remained unclear whether banned weapons could have been moved from Iraq.” Duelfer was quoted as saying, "[A] lot of materials left Iraq and went to Syria. ... But whether in fact in any of these trucks there was WMD-related materials, I cannot say."
Hannity has a history of distorting Duelfer's remarks to support his claim that WMDs were moved from Iraq. On the June 21, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity also touted a discredited report that WMDs were found in Iraq.
From the January 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: It's interesting to me that, considering -- you know, look at his fate here. I mean -- and, by the way, there's nobody in the world who deserves it more than him. I mean, evil to the level of a million and a half people killed, by estimates, under his reign.
But he didn't have to get to this point. He could have had everything. He could have had his 80 palaces, a life of luxury, but he was so -- he was such a megalomaniac, so arrogant, such a narcissist that he thought he could beat the United States. It's sort of spectacular.
MORRIS: And even more so, if you believe there were no WMDs.
HANNITY: Well, it's spectacular in terms of its stupidity. I believe there were WMDs. I believe they were moved. All right, let me move to some political --
MORRIS: But the political reaction -- I remember I was on BBC the night they captured the guy, and there was this liberal on with me who was saying they shouldn't have shown him with his teeth open and his hair crazy, and I said, “What do you want, hair and make-up for a dictator?”