Kerry Aide: NBC Report Doesn't Debunk New York Times

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - A spokesman for Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday it was ridiculous to suggest that an NBC News report contradicted a front-page story in The New York Times that blamed the United States for a cache of missing explosives in Iraq.

"You have to watch the [NBC] report because it's ridiculous to even make the assertion that one contradicted the other," Kerry spokesman Phil Singer told "I'd employ you to read the report and actually look at it yourself as opposed to reading a Bush press release."

The New York Times reported Monday that 380 tons of weapons had gone missing from the Al Qaqaa military facility in Iraq sometime after the U.S. invasion. The newspaper compiled its report after receiving a tip from a source who initially approached CBS News' "60 Minutes."

But by Monday evening, the NBC Nightly News reported it had an embedded reporter visit the Al Qaqaa site one day after the fall of Baghdad.

"NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al-Qaqaa weapons installation south of Baghdad," Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported Monday. "But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing."

Republicans have accused the Times of "flawed" reporting and suggested that Kerry's use of the story - now the subject of a 30-second campaign ad - shows the Democrat's desperation in the closing days of the campaign.

Kerry's ad cites the Times article as proof that Bush is incompetent. "The obligation of a commander-in-chief is to keep our country safe. In Iraq, George Bush has overextended our troops ... and now failed to secure 380 tons of deadly explosives."

See Earlier Story:
Kerry Clings to 'Missing Explosives' Story on Tuesday (Oct. 26, 2004)

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