Saddam's Terrorist Ties

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes has been trying for a significant amount of time to get released publicly the captured Iraqi documents (only 2.5 % of which have as yet been translated).

He advises that some are about to be released. And they should put an end to the preposterous claims that the Baathists would never work with the Jihadis.

Here is what the soon to be released documents reveal, Hayes says:

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.

The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives. Taken together, this collection could give U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers an inside look at the activities of the former Iraqi regime in the months and years before the Iraq war.

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

Speaking of Ansar al Islam, the al Qaeda—linked terrorist group that operated in northern Iraq, the former high—ranking military intelligence officer says: "There is no question about the fact that AI had reach into Baghdad. There was an intelligence connection between that group and the regime, a financial connection between that group and the regime, and there was an equipment connection. It may have been the case that the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] support for AI was meant to operate against the [anti—Saddam] Kurds. But there is no question IIS was supporting AI."

The official continued:

"[Saddam] used these groups because he was interested in extending his influence and extending the influence of Iraq. There are definite and absolute ties to terrorism. The evidence is there, especially at the network level. How high up in the government was it sanctioned? I can't tell you. I don't know whether it was run by Qusay [Hussein] or [Izzat Ibrahim] al—Duri or someone else. I'm just not sure. But to say Iraq wasn't involved in terrorism is flat wrong."

Hayes details the great difficulty in getting all this documentation translated and released, and all of us share his frustration. And I wonder if when this batch is released the media will not cherry pick it and underplay the evidence of the links between Saddam's Iraq and terrorism.

But slow translation of captured , valuable war documents is nothing new. In the 1980's until the Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations started work on them,many  captured Nazi documents remained untranslated and virtually unusable for research.

And you thought the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark was fiction

Clarice Feldman   1 07 06

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes has been trying for a significant amount of time to get released publicly the captured Iraqi documents (only 2.5 % of which have as yet been translated).

He advises that some are about to be released. And they should put an end to the preposterous claims that the Baathists would never work with the Jihadis.

Here is what the soon to be released documents reveal, Hayes says:

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.

The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives. Taken together, this collection could give U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers an inside look at the activities of the former Iraqi regime in the months and years before the Iraq war.

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

Speaking of Ansar al Islam, the al Qaeda—linked terrorist group that operated in northern Iraq, the former high—ranking military intelligence officer says: "There is no question about the fact that AI had reach into Baghdad. There was an intelligence connection between that group and the regime, a financial connection between that group and the regime, and there was an equipment connection. It may have been the case that the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] support for AI was meant to operate against the [anti—Saddam] Kurds. But there is no question IIS was supporting AI."

The official continued:

"[Saddam] used these groups because he was interested in extending his influence and extending the influence of Iraq. There are definite and absolute ties to terrorism. The evidence is there, especially at the network level. How high up in the government was it sanctioned? I can't tell you. I don't know whether it was run by Qusay [Hussein] or [Izzat Ibrahim] al—Duri or someone else. I'm just not sure. But to say Iraq wasn't involved in terrorism is flat wrong."

Hayes details the great difficulty in getting all this documentation translated and released, and all of us share his frustration. And I wonder if when this batch is released the media will not cherry pick it and underplay the evidence of the links between Saddam's Iraq and terrorism.

But slow translation of captured , valuable war documents is nothing new. In the 1980's until the Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations started work on them,many  captured Nazi documents remained untranslated and virtually unusable for research.

And you thought the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark was fiction

Clarice Feldman   1 07 06