The Director of National Intelligence yesterday announced the public release of Iraqi documents that were captured by U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The release came in response to pressure from House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra and Senator Rick Santorum, who had both introduced legislation to compel disclosure of the captured Iraqi documents, and from The Weekly Standard magazine and the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
“The accessibility of these materials represents an important departure from the past when previous document release efforts have taken many years,” the Office of the DNI said in a news release.
But the documents released by the DNI are a decidedly mixed bag.
Illustrating their eclectic nature, one of the captured Iraqi documents (pdf) is a print-out of an article from the Federation of American Scientists web site.
“This file contains document relevant to the Mukhabarat or Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS), it explains the structure of the IIS,” according to the DNI synopsis of the document (record number CMPC-2003-006430).
In fact, the document was written in 1997 by John Pike (then at FAS, now at GlobalSecurity.org), except for an added cover page which is handwritten in Arabic.
The newly released documents may be found here.
See also “U.S. Reveals Once-Secret Files From Hussein Regime” by Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, March 17.
The interesting possibility that raw intelligence materials like these could be productively assessed by members of the public working together online was optimistically considered by former intelligence officer Michael Tanji.
“A successful collaborative analysis of Iraqi documents has implications that go beyond just this problem set. Such an endeavor will not go unnoticed by the reform-minded in the intelligence community,” he wrote.
See “An Army of Analysts,” by Michael Tanji, The Weekly Standard, March 14.
Writing in the blog GroupIntel, Mr. Tanji also had a provocative response to the March 13 Secrecy News story on the new intelligence community document marking “RELIDO.”
See his “RELIDO: Why Bother?”