You may recall that I posted a transcript of an interview Stephen Hayes did on the Sean Hannity show on Dec 28th (the recording of the interview is also on the post to download). He spoke about the over 2 million documents the Government has that they confisicated from the battlefield in Iraq. They have 700 translators working 24/7 to get through all these documents and still, it will take years to finish them.
When asked by the host what these documents are Stephen answered:
Stephen – Well basically it?s the goods, I mean this is the detritus of the former Iraqi regime and ah we?ve had a project that has been operating in Doha cutter but also in Baghdad and in suburban Washington DC that is designed to exploit, which is to say, analyze, translate these documents, these items so that there useful to us and to our intelligence community and understanding better what exactly Saddam Hussein?s regime was up to in the days and the years before the war.
Now The Weekly Standard has Stephen’s latest article today and it’s a definate must read:
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.
The secret training took place primarily at three camps–in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak–and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria’s GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. According to three officials with knowledge of the intelligence on Iraqi training camps, White House and National Security Council officials were briefed on these findings in May 2005; senior Defense Department officials subsequently received the same briefing.
The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million “exploitable items” captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives. Taken together, this collection could give U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers an inside look at the activities of the former Iraqi regime in the months and years before the Iraq war.[…]Nearly three years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, only 50,000 of these 2 million “exploitable items” have been thoroughly examined. That’s 2.5 percent. Despite the hard work of the individuals assigned to the “DOCEX” project, the process is not moving quickly enough, says Michael Tanji, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official who helped lead the document exploitation effort for 18 months. “At this rate,” he says, “if we continue to approach DOCEX in a linear fashion, our great-grandchildren will still be sorting through this stuff.”
Most of the 50,000 translated documents relate directly to weapons of mass destruction programs and scientists, since David Kay and his Iraq Survey Group–who were among the first to analyze the finds–considered those items top priority. “At first, if it wasn’t WMD, it wasn’t translated. It wasn’t exploited,” says a former military intelligence officer who worked on the documents in Iraq.
Stephen then goes on to detail that Sec. Rumsfeld wants much of these documents put out to the public so the public can go through them.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has convened several meetings in recent weeks to discuss the Pentagon’s role in expediting the release of this information. According to several sources familiar with his thinking, Rumsfeld is pushing aggressively for a massive dump of the captured documents. “He has a sense that public vetting of this information is likely to be as good an astringent as any other process we could develop,” says Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita.
And then there is the news that the 50,000 documents that have been translated and cataloged so far seem to prove that Saddam did indeed support transregional terrorism:
Other officials familiar with the captured documents were less cautious. “As much as we overestimated WMD, it appears we underestimated [Saddam Hussein’s] support for transregional terrorists,” says one intelligence official.
Speaking of Ansar al Islam, the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that operated in northern Iraq, the former high-ranking military intelligence officer says: “There is no question about the fact that AI had reach into Baghdad. There was an intelligence connection between that group and the regime, a financial connection between that group and the regime, and there was an equipment connection. It may have been the case that the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] support for AI was meant to operate against the [anti-Saddam] Kurds. But there is no question IIS was supporting AI.”
The official continued: “[Saddam] used these groups because he was interested in extending his influence and extending the influence of Iraq. There are definite and absolute ties to terrorism. The evidence is there, especially at the network level. How high up in the government was it sanctioned? I can’t tell you. I don’t know whether it was run by Qusay [Hussein] or [Izzat Ibrahim] al-Duri or someone else. I’m just not sure. But to say Iraq wasn’t involved in terrorism is flat wrong.”
Checking the various blogs and boards I see a few questions being presented such as why he was the only one who was able to see the documents and so forth. Read the interview in my earlier post to get more detailed information but basically he stated that he was able to see the title on many of the documents. Very very intriguing titles such as “?Intelligence coded memo by two Iraqi intelligence officers containing info on various topics, weapons, boat, Palestinian?s training in Iraq, etc.? or ?Lists Palestinian?s trained in Iraq.?
Now he could see the titles but when he requested to see the documents he got the run around and has been denied the documents through FOIA twice.
But in the end these documents will see the light of day and many years from now we will know how involved Saddam was with Al-Qaeda. We have LOTS of proof of that fact right now, but when these documents get thrown out into the public domain the whole leftist mantra of “There was no Saddam/Al-Qaeda tie” will crumbling down.
Of course the hard core leftists will never admit it, even if they saw a video of Saddam and Osama holding hands they would still cry “CONSPIRACY!”
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