Monday, March 20, 2006

Captured Documents, Part IV

The conservative blogosphere appears to be going nuts over the released documents, but they seem willing to ignore the nature of raw intelligence to do so -- for instance, taking information at face value without regard to the verifiability of the information or the reliability of the sources.

Even the government is saying there won't be any bombshells in the documents.

According to an intelligence official who declined to be identified, Negroponte plans to release all documents that have no further intelligence value. Files that might help apprehend members of the Iraqi insurgency will remain under wraps. So will files that could violate the privacy or harm the reputations of innocent people. For instance, the Hussein regime used rape as a method of torture, and the government won't release documents containing the names of Iraqi rape victims. Nor will it release files mentioning Iraqi-Americans or other US citizens, such as journalists.

The remaining documents, the official said, will mainly provide insights into Hussein's rule. ''This stuff needs to be laid bare because it helps the democratic process in Iraq, like it did in South Africa, like it did in Germany," he said.

If any of these documents actually proved the government's case against Iraq, it would have been published by now. What bloggers may hope for is finding an overlooked gem, or building smaller cases about specific details.

My own looks back that up. I don't speak Arabic, so I have to rely on already translated documents. But nothing I've found sheds any new light on the question of WMD or links to terrorism.

Still, it's fun digging around in primary documents.

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