Just when you thought you wouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore…..
ABCNews has learned that United Nations weapons inspectors discovered six to eight vials of a dangerous nerve gas, phosgene, as they were cleaning out offices at a U.N. building in New York Thursday morning.
Federal authorities said the office, in a U.N. building near headquarters, was being evacuated and the White House had been notified at 10 a.m.
New York police and fire officials said federal authorities had not notified them of any problem at the U.N. building, as of 11 a.m.
A U.N. spokesperson said a statement would be issued shortly.
Authorities said the phosgene was believed to have been discovered in Iraq and manufactured prior to 1991.
And then again, it could just be a sloppy mistake of monumental proportions….
Former U.N. weapons inspectors told ABCNews.com that vials of phosgene had also been used by inspectors in Iraq to help calibrate air sampling instruments.
The former inspectors said the remaining vials were supposed to have been destroyed.
“If it is properly sealed, it should not pose much of a threat unless it is dropped,” said former New York City emergency services director Jerry Hauer, an ABC News consultant.
“They need to get it out of there and put it in a safe canister,” Hauer said. “It shows immense stupidity to have that kind of thing sitting around as a souvenir.”
According to the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control, phosgene at room temperature is a poisonous, colorless gas with a suffocating odor like newly mown hay.
If UN weapons inspectors can’t keep track of their own deadly chemicals, how can we trust them to find ones being hidden by rogue regimes?
Ah, but things might not be as simple as a dumb weapons’ inspector with a love for phosgene….
Here’s this addition…
According to an article in Foreign Affairs, the chemical was allegedly used by Iran in the Iran-Iraq war in 1987.
So there is one easy question to answer before we get into the more difficult ones: Whose UN office were the vials found in?
The Iraqi weapons inspectors came across the material as they were closing their offices, which are housed in a building near the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan, said Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the inspectors.
I really do hope (and expect) that complete incompetence by UN bureaucrats is the explanation. I also really do hope we actually get an explanation.