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January 07, 2006

Claim: Captured Iraqi Documents Show Large-Scale Terrorist Training

"As much as we overestimated WMD, it appears we underestimated [Saddam Hussein's] support for transregional terrorists," says one intelligence official.

I've sort of grown frustrated by Steven Hayes' reporting on these issues. He seems on the verge of establishing something big, but it never pans out. And if he's right about all this, why doesn't the Administration say something about it? Why leave it all to a single reporter working at the Weekly Standard? If there was any there there, why not scream it from the mountains?

But maybe something will finally pan out:

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.

There are some 2 million Iraqi documents captured; only around 50,000 have been translated and analyzed. Some in the Administration have been pushing to simply release them all to the public and press, and let the world analyze them; others have been resistant to that idea, thinking that the New York Times or Washington Post would seize on one or two documents "proving" Saddam was a saint and thereby embarrass the Bush Administration.

Supposedly, most of those against the Biggest Document Dump Ever are now on board with it, and we should, hopefully, get these documents into the public's hands soon.

And maybe some bloggers and blog-readers who read Arabic can assist with the effort.


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posted by Ace at 12:21 AM

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