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[infowar.de] WT 25.03.03: Covert Mission Aims To Find Intelligence Agency's Files
March 25, 2003
Covert Mission Aims To Find Intelligence Agency's Files
By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times
The United States has begun a covert mission to acquire Iraq's intelligence
archives and has contacted members of Baghdad's notorious Iraqi
Intelligence Service, called the Mukhabarat, U.S. officials say.
The sources said the task is being carried out by military
special-operations units whose goal is to find and safeguard reams of
intelligence documents that would tell a fuller story of Saddam Hussein's
brutal 24-year regime.
"One of the targets of special [operations] in this war is to get the raw
Iraqi intelligence files the archives," one official told The Washington Times.
It is public knowledge that the U.S. government had contacted Iraqi
military commanders, including some in the Republican Guard, about their
surrender or orchestrating a coup against Saddam. But what had not been
disclosed are the ongoing contacts with selected intelligence officials.
"We've been in contact with those people," the official added. "We know the
value of the Iraqi files."
The belief is that the papers would document the full spectrum of Iraqi war
crimes, as well as Baghdad's ties to international terrorist groups, such
as al Qaeda, and where it may be hiding weapons of mass destruction.
Officials also hope the files disclose Iraq's arms-buying network around
The United States suspects French and Russian firms of violating U.N.
sanctions by shipping arms to Iraq through third parties. France built
Iraq's layered air-defense system and assisted with Saddam's nuclear-bomb
Russia sold Saddam most of his ground and air arsenal, including T-72
tanks, armored personnel carriers, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons and
The allies have dropped bombs and missiles on various Mukhabarat
directorates in the capital, Baghdad. But U.S. officials said the strikes
do not mean that the service's archives have been destroyed.
The officials say they expect that the documents would detail any direct
ties Saddam's regime has to members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group and
various other terror networks that operate out of Syria, Lebanon and the
If the papers told of such linkages, they would bolster President Bush's
argument that ordering a military strike to oust Saddam is part of a global
war on terrorism, begun after the September 11 attacks.
The Bush administration also hopes to find evidence that Iraq has been
violating U.N. sanctions for 12 years by bribing foreign officials to ship
"Iraq operates a buying network, and people are paying off foreign
businesses for the stuff it needs," another official said.
The United Nations imposed a series of sanctions after the 1991 Persian
Gulf war and ordered Iraq to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.
The Iraqis are considered meticulous record keepers. For example, U.N.
weapons inspectors found a plethora of documents throughout the 1990s on
the conduct of the Iran-Iraq war. The U.S. administration has an indication
that there are similar narratives inside the Mukhabarat on a wide array of
Saddam's policies and contacts with foreign governments.
Asked yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether the United States would
find the Iraqi documents once the war is over, Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld said, "You never know if you will find the files. We have
information that they have been dispersing their documentation files,
putting them in private homes, burying things, and trying to avoid being
caught in that. But I suspect we will."
Military analysts say the Mukhabarat is the most important arm of Saddam's
state security system. It is a spy agency as well as an internal security
It is overseen by Saddam's heir apparent, his son Qusai, who also
supervises the defense of Baghdad, and Iraq's paramilitary forces, that may
put up a last stand against approaching allied troops.
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