from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2008, Issue No. 27
March 20, 2008

Secrecy News Blog:


A Defense Department-sponsored report that examined captured Iraqi documents for indications of links between Saddam Hussein and terrorist organizations is now available online.

The five-volume report affirmed that there was "no 'smoking gun' (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda." But it also said there was "strong evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism."

Although the report was publicly released on March 13, the Department of Defense declined to publish it online, offering instead to provide copies on disk. The full five-volume study has now been posted on the Federation of American Scientists web site.

See "Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents," Institute for Defense Analyses, November 2007, redacted and released March 2008:

The study was first reported prior to release by Warren P. Strobel of McClatchy Newspapers. The first of the five volumes was previously posted on the ABC News web site. The latter volumes include hundreds of pages of captured Iraqi documents, declassified and translated into English.

The Defense Intelligence Agency "made every effort to balance national security concerns, requirements of law, and the needs of an informed democracy and focused the redactions to the necessary minimum," the report states.

The Iraqi documents themselves are an eclectic, uneven bunch.

One of them, a fifty-page Iraqi "intelligence" analysis, disparages the austerely conservative Wahhabi school of Islam by claiming that its eighteenth century founder, Ibn 'Abd al Wahhab, had ancestors who were Jews.

In what must be the only laugh-out-loud line in the generally dismal five-volume report, the Iraqi analysis states that Ibn 'Abd al Wahhab's grandfather's true name was not "Sulayman" but "Shulman."

"Tawran confirms that Sulayman, the grandfather of the sheikh, is (Shulman); he is Jew from the merchants of the city of Burstah in Turkey, he had left it and settled in Damascus, grew his beard, and wore the Muslim turban, but was thrown out for being voodoo" (at page 20 of 56).

The analysis, produced by the Air Defense Security System of Iraq's General Military Intelligence Directorate, is not a very reliable guide to Islamic or Jewish history, though it may explain something about Iraq's air defenses.

"The Birth of Al-Wahabi Movement and Its Historic Roots" appears in volume 5 of the Defense Department report and is also available in this extract (13 MB PDF):


Some noteworthy new books on intelligence policy, reform and history include these.

Former CIA analyst and outspoken CIA critic Melvin A. Goodman decries "The Decline and Fall of the CIA" in his new book "Failure of Intelligence" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008):

UCLA professor Amy Zegart examines pre-9/11 intelligence failures and their implications for intelligence reform in "Spying Blind" (Princeton, 2007):

Journalist Jefferson Morley traces "the hidden history of the CIA" through the career of Winston Scott, the CIA station chief in Mexico City from 1956 to 1969, in "Our Man in Mexico" (Univ. Press of Kansas, 2008):


The National Archives this week announced the opening of approximately 1.3 million pages of historic Central Intelligence Agency records dating from 1947 to 1977. The documents, which are described as open source publications gathered by the CIA's Foreign Documents Division, are being released as "a part of the National Declassification Initiative program announced by the Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein in April 2006."

On March 17, 2008, the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) heard public comments on its report Improving Declassification that was sent to the President in 2007. The meeting was covered by Lee White of the National Coalition for History and reported here:

Last year the National Intelligence Council, a component of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, sponsored a conference in Ghana on democratization in Africa. The NIC has now published the proceedings of that conference for broad public consumption and consideration. A copy of "Democratization in Africa: What Progress Toward Institutionalization?" is posted here:

U.S. Air Force intelligence organization and functions are described in "General Intelligence Rules," Air Force Instruction 14-202 (vol. 3), 10 March 2008:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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