The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller in an arms purchase plan known as Operation Avarice in which the CIA worked with American troops during the occupation of Iraq to ensure old chemical weapons in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militants, according to current and former American officials who confirmed the previously undisclosed effort — all according to the NY Times.
The arms purchasing operation, which began in 2005 and continued into 2006, was deemed a success by the American military as it eventually lead to the acquisition and destruction of at least 400 borak rockets. Borak rockets are amongst the internationally condemned chemical weapons manufactured by Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government in the ’80s. The banned weapons were unaccounted for during the mandated United Nations weapons inspections which took place after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
ISIS seized 2,500 degraded rockets from a chemical weapons depot near Baghdad, but U.S. officials downplayed the threat as they indicated that the mustard gas and sarin packed rockets were too old to be useful.
Many of the rockets recovered in the operation were in poor condition while some were empty and others contained a nonlethal liquid, however, some contained the deadly nerve agent known as sarin. Exposure to the human-made nerve agent can kill within minutes.
Back in October, it was reported that thousands of old chemical warheads and shells in the country of Iraq had been recovered by the military and that while both the Americans as well as the Iraqis had been wounded by them, the US government kept much of the information a secret from the public and troops alike.
Are you surprised to learn of the CIA’s covert acquisition of Iraqi chemical weapons?