This is an update to “Junk Intelligence” (and “More Junk Intelligence“), in which I revealed that the Right Blogosphere had mistaken an old document from the Federation of American Scientists for something generated by the Iraqi Intelligence Service: Juan Cole says I’m right. He also translates the mystery Arabic page.
What does the Arabic say?
“The Institutions of the Apparatus of the Intelligence Service on the Internet:
You will find enclosed information on the Apparatus that has been published on the internet. It has information on our organization, but it is clear that the information is relatively old. Otherwise, it does not do more than mention some correct and important matters . . .”
It then goes on to list the names of some agents. As an intelligence service, its main concern was with cover, apparently.
In other words, Iraqi intelligence notes the appearance of the document on the internet in 1997, and laments that it is very basic [‘does not do more than’] and then notes with some amusement how out of date it is (with the implication that Western intelligence on Iraq must be pretty bad). The “out of date” comment probably refers to the Western document’s preoccupation with WMD, which Iraqi Intelligence would have known was gone by then. It may also refer to personnel having been switched around. Note that the Iraqi comment does not endorse the internet document. It not only says it is “old” intelligence, which is very damning in intelligence work, but it also uses the word “some” when referring to what is accurate and important in it. “Some correct and important matters.” There will be those who read this as a blanket endorsement; it obviously is not.
Yeah, that’s a find, all right. Kind of makes the whole last three years worthwhile, all by itself.
Glenn Reynolds, who linked to the Investors Business Daily article that quoted the FAS document as proof of Saddam’s evil capabilities, has yet to print a retraction. He is, however, having a fine time making fun of a mistake made by the New York Times, for which the Times printed a correction.
Being a rightie means never having to admit you’re wrong.