Kerry Campaign Sees Validation in ABC News Report

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - The Kerry-Edwards campaign issued a press release Thursday night, linking directly to an ABC World News Tonight report it views as beneficial to Sen. John F. Kerry.

The ABC report shows videotape of barrels believed to contain the HMX explosives that were found at the al-Qaqaa facility after U.S. troops arrived there.

Ever since the New York Times broke the "October surprise/missing explosives" story on Monday, the Kerry campaign, including the senator, have assumed that the explosives were still there when U.S. troops arrived at al Qaqaa, even though no one seems to know for sure.

President Bush has accused Kerry of jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts.

Kerry has blamed President Bush for failure of leadership, because, he insists, U.S. troops did not secure the explosives. Kerry has even suggested that terrorists are using the explosives from al Qaqaa to attack U.S. troops.

Thursday night's ABC report showed videotape of barrels with U.N. markings, shot by an ABC affiliate nine days after Baghdad fell. The barrels were found inside locked bunkers, ABC reported.

According to ABC reporter Martha Raddatz, "After the bunkers were opened, the soldiers did not stay long. They were not ordered to secure the facility. One senior officer told ABC news they would not have had nearly enough soldiers to do that. It is unclear how much HMX was at the facility, if that was indeed HMX. But what seems clear from that tape, is that U.S. soldiers opened up some of the bunkers, left them unguarded and the material...has since disappeared."

On Wednesday night, ABC News reported that only three tons of RDX is believed to have been at the al Qaqaa site - much less than earlier reports indicated.

The Pentagon has outlined a timeline suggesting Saddam Hussein's loyalists might have removed the 380 tons of explosives before U.S. forces reached the al Qaqaa site in April 2003.

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