Cybercast News Service is reporting that it has obtained documents from Iraqi intelligence files that show that Saddam had WMD at least as recently as 2000, and that Iraq trained terrorists and gave them logistical support, including al Quaida. If these documents stand up they could shift the campaign debate.
In this post-Dan Rather world, the question of authenticity is paramount and CNSNews provides some bi-partisan experts to say these documents are consistent with previously known Iraqi documents. As for the claims themselves, here is some of what they said:
They detail the Iraqi regime’s purchase of five kilograms of mustard gas on Aug. 21, 2000 and three vials of malignant pustule, another term for anthrax, on Sept. 6, 2000. The purchase order for the mustard gas includes gas masks, filters and rubber gloves. The order for the anthrax includes sterilization and decontamination equipment.
... An 11-page Iraqi memo, dated Jan. 25, 1993, lists Palestinian, Sudanese and Asian terrorist organizations and the relationships Iraq had with each of them. Of particular importance, Tefft said, are the relationships Iraq had already developed or was in the process of developing with groups and individuals affiliated with al Qaeda, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
... Iraq not only built and maintained relationships with terrorist groups, the documents show it appears to have trained terrorists as well. Ninety-two individuals from various Middle Eastern countries are listed on the papers.
Many are described as having “finished the course at M14,” a reference to an Iraqi intelligence agency, and to having “participated in Umm El-Ma’arek,” the Iraqi response to the U.S. invasion in 1991. The author of the list notes that approximately half of the individuals “all got trained inside the ‘martyr act camp’ that belonged to our directorate.”
The article says that the reason these documents have not been publicized by the Bush administration before now is that there are thousands and thousands of documents waiting to be translated. Who knows what other intelligence treasures exist in these documents?
The “senior government official” who occupies a non-appointed post and who leaked these documents to CNSNews.com said he did so in order to refocus the country’s attention on the facts of national security and the war on terror and “away from political posturing.” Let’s hope they are real and accomplish just that.