Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunshine for the Iraq Files

Finally, massive numbers of documents, audio and video tapes have been released for scrutiny. These items were captured in Iraq and Afghanistan and may contain insights into alliances, WMDs, terrorist links and other vital information that will help aid fighting terrorists world wide. An article at OpinionJournal, maps out the struggle to get these items released.
"Mr. Hoekstra told us last week he's been talking to Mr. Negroponte and other senior DNI officials in recent days, and that they've committed to begin "aggressively" releasing documents on the Internet. He says he also senses a spirit of openness and compromise that he hadn't before. For example, DNI officials initially balked at releasing their own potentially flawed translations of the largely Arabic-language documents. But they have now agreed to do so with the caveat that interested parties would be well-advised to double-check the accuracy of the DNI's work.

The Congressman has also been told that documents won't be kept secret because of mere uncertainty about possible--and vague--"national interest" implications. And, finally, Congress will have an oversight role regarding documents that the DNI decides should remain classified for whatever reason.

We don't think Mr. Hoekstra is exaggerating when he says that removing these materials from the exclusive domain of the U.S. intelligence community and offering them to all interested analysts will cut years off the amount of time it takes to extract the important information they contain. While some of what's uncovered may be misleading, we trust an open process to discover the truth more than we do intelligence services with a stake in defending their previous (mis)judgments.

This information may well shed light on whether Saddam planned the insurgency that we and the Iraqis are now fighting, or whether he canoodled with Islamist terrorists, as some of the documents already translated suggest. We are learning from the new book on Iraq by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor that many of Saddam's own generals believed he had weapons of mass destruction and was prepared to use them. So much for the allegation that "Bush lied" about WMD; Saddam lied to everyone."
It took a great deal of effort By Mr. Hekstra and Mr. Santorum to get a fire lit under the asses of the DNI. You can find the documents on-line. They are in PDF format, so you will need Adobe Reader to view them. Be warned that the vast majority of the documents have not been translated and are still in Arabic. - Sailor

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