Stephen Hayes has been on the case of the Iraq documents for some time now. His new article in
The Weekly Standard deals with a rather encouraging development.
On February 16, President George W. Bush assembled a small group of congressional Republicans for a briefing on Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley were there, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad participated via teleconference from Baghdad. As the meeting was beginning, Mike Pence spoke up. The Indiana Republican, a leader of conservatives in the House, was seated next to Bush.
"Yesterday, Mr. President, the war had its best night on the network news since the war ended," Pence said.
"Is this the tapes thing?" Bush asked, referring to two ABC News reports that included excerpts of recordings Saddam Hussein made of meetings with his war cabinet in the years before the U.S. invasion. Bush had not seen the newscasts but had been briefed on them.
Pence framed his response as a question, quoting Abraham Lincoln: "One of your Republican predecessors said, 'Give the people the facts and the Republic will be saved.' There are 3,000 hours of Saddam tapes and millions of pages of other documents that we captured after the war. When will the American public get to see this information?"
Bush replied that he wanted the documents released. He turned to Hadley and asked for an update. Hadley explained that John Negroponte, Bush's Director of National Intelligence, "owns the documents" and that DNI lawyers were deciding how they might be handled.
Bush extended his arms in exasperation and worried aloud that people who see the documents in 10 years will wonder why they weren't released sooner. "If I knew then what I know now," Bush said in the voice of a war skeptic, "I would have been more supportive of the war."
As you may or may not know, I worked with the Iraq Survey Group for a year. Eventually, I became the day shift supervisor for the "media" section at the Combined Media Processing Center in Qatar. The media section worked with audio and video tape to analyze, digitize, and archive media captured in Iraq. We also worked with digital media.
The media was initially Saddam regime related and then we started to get insurgent and terrorist related propaganda. For those of you who hear people say there are no or few terrorists (Mujahedeen) in Iraq, tell them I spent many hours pouring over terrorist propaganda, Mujahedeen training videos (more accurately CDs), and their home videos. Let me just say having seen captured home video from Fallujah, that place was a terrorist convention. By the time we launched the final battle (along with thousands of Iraqi troops) Fallujah was mostly occupied by Mujahedeen. I sure didn't see any families or children in the videos. Only non-Iraqi Arabs walking around with their AK-47s. Fallujah was a just battle.
The Saddam Regime video contained a lot of U.N. inspections recorded by the Iraqis. That is why this Stephen Hayes article is interesting to me. I and my partner filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtained some specific items I reviewed while with the media section. The request was filed last summer. I have since spoken with the person in charge of fulfilling that request and I have the impression that it may take years to complete the request, even though he called it a relatively small request.
There is a video in existence that will go a long way towards making the case that Saddam had WMD shortly before we invaded. Now I won't call it the 100% smoking gun, but I think it will tip the scale to convince a lot of people. What is so frustrating, is that the video has been available for years.
I know "if Bush had this he would have shown it years ago, case closed."
Yes, if he knew he had it.
It is one video among thousands of videos. The people who know about it don't really seem to interested in it. I think that is because the people who know about it are already believers and don't really worry about convincing the public.
I do. I think the reputation of this country has been ruined for a lie. Not a lie that Saddam had WMD, but the lie that he didn't.
I have tried to contact my local representative to no avail. I have been rejected by Hoekstra's office because he does not represent my district. Senator Sessions office told me to just continue through the process, which may take years.
So I am left with no other choice but to go public. If the Bush Administration or any member of Congress wants to get the evidence, I will go so far as to fly with you to Qatar and get the video from the database (the database in Qatar was not merged with the U.S. database last I knew). I will go get it and you can see it before you go public with supporting my case. Contact me and we can make it happen, sometime BEFORE the 2006 elections would be smart.