One of the most puzzling aspects of the Iraq War is the fact that, before our invasion, there was a variety of inteligence indicating that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction - chemical and biological agents - but once we got there, we couldn't find more than token amounts of these items. Some people have speculated that Saddam was deceived by his own underlings, who told him they were developing WMDs when actually they were pocketing the earmarked funds. This seems like a pretty risky moneymaking scheme, given Saddam's propensity to kill anyone who crossed him. Another theory is that Saddam had the stockpiles moved out of the country into Lebanon for safekeeping - though how they would be of any benefit to him there is unclear.
Now Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who has looked at classified documents pertaining to the war, seems to be suggesting a new possibility: that stockpiles of chemical agents were hidden (presumably buried) in secret remote locations in Iraq itself, apparently so UN inspectors couldn't find them. Santorum is also suggesting that the US government has known that there are secret caches of WMDs, but has not been able to track down all of them.
Why keep it a secret from the American public, when the seeming failure to find WMDs has led to a barrage of criticism? Hugh Hewitt, the radio talk show host and blogger who interviewed Santorum, posits one possible answer: that the government was afraid that revealing "details of the discoveries would lead terrorists to similarly situated caches, endangering vast numbers of our troops and civilians."
Indeed, the insurgents have proved fairly effective when limited to homemade roadside bombs. Imagine what they could do with a ton of nerve agent.
It's too early to know if Santorum's claims are accurate. We also don't know if the stockpiles (if they exist) were hidden by Saddam just prior to the war, or if they were hidden years ago and simply forgotten. But if the story proves to be correct, it will provide an interesting new angle on the most controversial issue of our day.