Iraqi newspaper al-Sabah claimed that missiles with nuclear warheads have been found in Iraq, and UPI picked up the story, along with quick denials from US military personnel.
"Nothing's been found. The report is not factual," said Master Sgt. Robert Cowens, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, based in Tikrit.The Iraqi Interior Minister also says the report is wrong.
Iraq's Interior Ministry dismissed as "stupid" a report in a local newspaper Wednesday that said three nuclear missiles had been found near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.I think the report is very likely to be wrong as well, but it's not guaranteed. On the surface it would appear that our government would have every reason to disclose such a discovery, but I can imagine scenarios in which we'd want to keep it secret.
For instance, what if the nukes were foreign-made? There might be more advantage to hiding them and using blackmail than to revealing their existence. If France or Russia (or even Germany) supplied the technology or the weapons themselves, America may not be eager for a confrontation right now. The weapons could be used as bargaining chips behind the scenes, however. There would be similar incentives if the weapons were of American origin.
Alternatively, they may have found evidence that there are other sites with nuclear materials and they wouldn't want to reveal anything until they're sure they've found and secured them all.