Wartime often generates stories that garner immediate attention, but then are pushed aside by other major developments. Zeroing In is focusing on some of the more startling claims and what has happened since they were first reported.
On Monday, April 7, there were various news reports that U.S. troops looking for evidence of Iraqi chemical weapons were investigating materials at no fewer than four sites. A Reuters report that day -- about the discovery of suspicious substances at a military training camp -- quoted Maj. Michael Hamlet of the 101st Airborne Division as saying, "If tests from our experts confirm this, this could be the smoking gun."
The Pentagon says it has not completed tests yet on substances taken from three of the four sites, and has no idea of the source of the report about chemical weapon missiles.
The military training camp report: A Reuters report from Karbala said: "First tests on substances found at a military training camp in central Iraq suggest they contain a cocktail of banned chemical weapons, including deadly nerve agents, U.S. officers said on Monday." The report said U.S. forces found three 55-gallon barrels and eleven 25-gallon barrels and that "initial investigations . . . revealed levels of nerve agents sarin and tabun and the blister agent lewisite."
Follow-up: Gen. Benjamin Freakly of the 101st Airborne said the drums could contain "some type of pesticides." He noted that the site was along the Euphrates River and that his troops found pamphlets describing how to deal with mosquitoes. Tests are pending.
The missile cache mystery: On Monday, National Public Radio's John Burnett reported, "I just heard from a top military official here . . . who says that he received information today over the intelligence net . . . [of] the first solid confirmed existence of chemical weapons. He says a relatively large amount, perhaps 20 medium-range rockets, were found with warheads containing sarin, a nerve gas, and mustard gas." Burnett said the 101st Airborne found the missiles southwest of Baghdad.
Follow-up: The Pentagon denies any knowledge of this alleged discovery.