Just Another Piece of Paper


Salon's Fritz Umbach has a short, critical story about the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's release of "classified Iraqi documents." Surprise: It's been a selective document release aimed at bucking up support for sad-sack Saddam-al Qaeda connection theories.

The first surprising thing we find in the documents, which are available here through the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office's Joint Reserve Intelligence Center, is that they are not necessarily from, or even about, Iraq. For example, document 2RAD-2004-601189 is described as "Abu-Zubaydah Statement on the Capability of al-Qaidah to Manufacture and Deliver Nuclear Weapons to the U.S." Sounds like smoking-gun material, but what exactly does it have to do with the case for war against Saddam? Zubaydah, a top bin Laden operative who was captured in Pakistan in 2002, told interrogators that al-Qaida could build a "dirty bomb," but he didn't say anything about getting Saddam's help to do it. Moreover, the "statement" itself is nothing more than an Arabic summary of a 2002 CBS News story on Zubaydah's claims. It has no identifiable link to Iraq, other than the odd fact that it appears on a U.S. government site billed as Operation Iraqi Freedom Documents.

The wide-eyed optimists (read: suckers) at Pajamas Media have been promoting the documents from day one. See if you're impressed.