Intelligence: November 12, 2003

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One thing the large U.S. effort to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has accomplished is the seizure of most of the Iraqi intelligence service records. We're talking tons of stuff, similar in scope to what was found in East Germany when the communist government there fell in 1990. The East German records led to the discovery of many Cold War agents in the U.S. (and elsewhere) as well as revelations about who was behind what dirty deeds during the Cold War. Saddams secret stash appears to contain the names and work history of Iraqi and foreign agents working on espionage and smuggling (of weapons) operations. In addition, there are hundreds of foreign journalists, government officials and politicians (especially in Europe) who were on the Iraqi payroll. Since nearly all the records are in Arabic, it will take months to just get it all sorted out, and years to go through all of it. But already enough information has been obtained to start several investigations of Iraqi spies and weapons smugglers operating in the United States and elsewhere. Not surprisingly, the Iraqis were negotiating with North Korea to obtain missile technology for long range rockets. The North Koreans, however, were concerned about how carefully the American navy and satellites were tracking shipments to foreign customers, and the UN embargo and naval patrols in the Persian Gulf. As a result of that, at least some shipments were not sent to Iraq, or even to third countries for transshipment to Iraq. There will apparently be a lot more revelations coming from this mountain of Iraqi documents.

 


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