2,995. 10/26/2001

“Brian Ross, a highly respected investigative reporter for ABC News, led the newscast that night [October 26, 2001] stating that he had learned from ‘three well-placed but separate sources’ that initial tests had found the chemical additive bentonite in the anthrax, and that the only country known to have used this substance to produce biological weapons was Iraq. Bentonite, Ross reported, was ‘a trademark of Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program.’ [Journalist] Peter Jennings indicated that some would conclude this was ‘a smoking gun’ linking the anthrax attacks to Iraq. ABC did mention that [Whitehouse Spokesman] Ari [Fleischer] had denied ‘in the strongest terms’ that it was bentonite. But Jennings also talked about the ‘raging argument in the administration about going after Saddam Hussein.’ ”

 – Scott McClellan, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, Pages 110-111

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