Yes, they were lying about al Qaqaa
Just three days too late for it to do any good, the Los Angeles Times breaks the definitive story on al Qaeda. Not only did the theft of the high explosive go on after the invasion, the looting went on while we had troops at the site. There were just too many looters, and too few troops. They asked for backup but didn't get any.
Of course there's no way this information wasn't available to the Defense Department, and the White House, three weeks ago. The story isn't just based on soldiers in the field. Mark Mazzetti reports:
"That site was just abandoned by the 101st Airborne, and there was never a physical handoff by the 101st to the Marines. They just left," said a senior officer who worked in the top Marine command post in Iraq at the time. "We knew these sites were being looted, but there was nothing we could do about it."
No, the White House and the DoD civilians covered it up, telling various lies on the way (which their journalistic and blogospheric allies duly relayed to the public) just long enough to get the Beloved Leader past the election. And now they expect, almost certainly correctly, that everyone will now treat it as old news. The warbloggers will ignore it if they can't figure out some cockamamie way to convince themselves they've discredited it, while patting themselves on the back about how much more responsible and fair-minded they are than the mainstream media.
In the end, this one cover-up almost certainly didn't make the difference. But of course this wasn't the only cover-up. The cover-up of how Ken Lay and his friends got to write Administration energy policy worked. The Valerie Plame cover-up worked. And the result was that the Administration went back before the voters looking much cleaner and much more competent than it was or is.
Just remember, if their lips are moving, they're lying.