The big “scoop” on today’s front page will be deconstructed at length. Our own professor Geraghty has already done a fine job, and Ed Morrissey has added some further thought and analysis. The bottom line is that the Times has apparently embraced the position taken by Senators Santorum and Roberts, and Representative Hoekstra: that much valuable information was contained in captured Iraqi documents, and that the Intelligence Community was far too slow in translating and evaluating the documents, and that it would be a Very Good Thing to start posting the documents online so that they could be evaluated. Santorum and Hoekstra were up against determined resistance from DNI Negroponte and his people, and many in the White House were, let us say, very slow to respond. The president always said he supported the move, but somehow it never got done. After drafting legislation that would have compel led the executive branch to start declassifying and posting the documents, Santorum, Roberts and Hoekstra finally got the process going earlier this year.
I will discuss the whole thing with Angleton over the weekend, if the ouija board works, but this story is probably a leak from intelligence people trying to embarrass the Senators and the Congressman, protect the Intel Community’s “right” to classify and declassify at its own will and on its own schedule. and make the president out to be an idiot (surprise!). But, just like Senator Kerry, it is the leakers (and, insofar as the Times shares their objectives, the Times itself) who have exposed their own consumate stupidity. For the story asserts that a) Iraq was on the verge of mastering nuclear weapons technology and b) that Iran is trying to build atomic bombs. Or, “Bush didn’t lie.”
And in case you were wondering, Santorum, Roberts and Hoekstra always insisted that nothing that could possibly compromise national security should be posted.
Furthermore–and here you have only to look at Ed Morrissey’s excellent blog–by implication the Times has given enhanced credibility to the many other explosive contents of the Iraq documents, heretofore ignored by William Broad and other Times sleuths. Those include the close working relationship between Saddam and Al Qaida.
I wonder if Steve Hadley will apologize for permitting the documents to be posted…