Batch of pre-war Afghanistan and Iraq documents are released

It’s about time:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has created a website where it will post documents captured in postwar Afghanistan and Iraq. The website is hosted by the Foreign Military Studies Office Joint Reserve Intelligence Center at Fort Leavenworth and will be updated continuously with new documents.

The first batch of materials, released late Wednesday, includes nine documents captured in connection with Operation Iraqi Freedom and 28 documents previously released on February 14, 2006, in conjunction with a study of those documents conducted by analysts at West Point. Sources on Capitol Hill and within the intelligence community tell The Weekly Standard that hundreds of new documents will be made available in the coming days, including 50-60 hours of audiotapes from the Iraqi regime.

ODNI officials will concentrate their early efforts on making available audiotapes and videotapes that have come from the former Iraqi regime. Twenty-five Arabic language translators will be hired to review these recordings for potentially sensitive information before they are posted. According to officials familiar with the DOCEX program, the U.S. government has in its possession more than 3,000 hours of recordings from the Iraqi regime. Among the collection: recordings of meetings between Saddam Hussein and other regime leaders; videotapes of speeches that Saddam thought would be important; audio and video of Saddam’s meetings with foreign leaders; videotapes from conferences sponsored by the regime; and even videotapes of regime-sponsored brutality.

Materials made public in the first wave of the release will be those least likely to
raise objections from the intelligence community and U.S. allies. Negroponte plans to include many of the documents labeled “NIV”–for No Intelligence Value–in this first group of materials.

But Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, insists that documents relevant to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 will be released in short order. “There may be many documents that relate to their WMD programs. Those should be released,” says Hoekstra. “Same thing with links to terrorism.”

Among that next batch may be the approximately 700 documents that served as the foundation for a fascinating study by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. Analysts from the Institute for Defense Analysis reviewed thousands of documents for that two-year study of the Iraq War from the perspective of Iraqis. Declassified excerpts of their final report were published in a highly illuminating article in the forthcoming issue of Foreign Affairs. And the full report will be published as a book in the coming months.

Hayes goes on to correctly point out that we will now be able to get answers to the following questions:

How close were the French and the Russians to the former Iraqi regime? What kind of information was being passed to the Iraqis on the eve of war in early 2003? What is the real story of Iraq’s WMD programs? Why did Saddam’s military leaders and scientists fabricate their reports on the progress of those programs? Which terrorist groups had an active presence in Baghdad? How many Palestinian Liberation Front jihadists did the Iraqi regime train each year? How effective was Saddam Hussein in deceiving UN inspectors throughout the 1990s? What did Saddam Hussein privately tell Yasser Arafat when the Palestinian leader came to Baghdad? And what were the Western targets of the “Blessed July” martyrdom operation that was being planned as U.S. troops crossed into Iraq in March 2003?

The link to the page where the documents have been posted is in the article, but I’m posting it again for anyone who missed it. Keep scrolling as there are many documents there to examine. It’s important to note that the website has posted the following: “The US Government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available.” So while reading the documents contained in the links, keep that in mind.

I’m looking fwd to Hayes’ analysis of the documents, once he’s reviewed them and verfied their authenticity.

Also commenting on the release of the pre-war Afghanistan and Iraq documents: John at Powerline, The Jawa Report, Gay Patriot, OpiniPundit (must-read!), Jason Smith

More: Read Amy Proctor’s post “Media Ignores Bush Exoneration” where she blogs about some of audio tapes that were translated examined after at the February meeting by the International Intelligence Summit. These documents, as the WashTimes link she provides notes, would appear to prove that when Bush stated in his 2003 State of The Union address that the British gov’t had learned that Iraq was seeking “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa, he was right.

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