REPORT: Karl Rove kept public from learning about WMDs found in Iraq in 2004

It would seem that Karl Rove is dumber than many of us thought. I mean, the consistent beating the Bush administration took by Democrats and the press over not finding the very WMDs that we went to war over, and it turns out we did find them starting in 2004 and Rove covered it up?

If I were more cynical I might think Rove was an undercover Democrat or something:

DAILY BEAST – There’s one man, some Republicans say, who kept the public from learning about the chemical shells littered around the Iraqi battlefield. He was Bush’s most important political adviser.

Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to ‘let these sleeping dogs lie.’

The issue of Iraq’s WMD remnant was suddenly thrust back into the fore this week, with a blockbuster New York Times report accusing the Bush administration of covering up American troops’ chemically-induced wounds.

To people familiar with the issue, both inside that administration and without, the blame for the cover up falls on one particular set of shoulders: Rove’s.

From the perspective of Rick Santorum, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania who lost his seat in 2006, some of the weapons of mass destruction President Bush promised would be in Iraq before the 2003 invasion of the country began turning up as early as 2004.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, former Senator Rick Santorum said he and his staff began receiving photographs of discarded Sarin and Mustard shells from U.S. soldiers in 2004. Two years later, when he was up for re-election, Santorum even went public with some of this information in a press conference disclosing a Pentagon report that found 500 chemical weapons shells had been found in Iraq.

One might think a politically vulnerable Bush White House would’ve seized on Santorum’s discovery. After all, Bush and his subordinates famously accused Iraq of having active weapons of mass destruction programs.

But at least in 2005 and 2006 the Bush White House wasn’t interested. “We don’t want to look back,” Santorum recalled Rove as saying (though Santorum stressed he was not quoting verbatim conversations he had more than eight years ago). “I will say that the gist of the comments from the president’s senior people was ‘we don’t want to look back, we want to look forward.’”

Dave Wurmser—who served at the time as a senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on national security issues —remembers receiving a similar message from Rove.

According to Wurmser, “in 2005-6, Karl Rove and his team blocked public disclosure of these (findings) and said ‘let these sleeping dogs lie; we have lost that fight so better not to remind anyone of it.’”

Rove declined to comment for this story.

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