Friday, November 03, 2006

The Rabbit Hole

The New York Times is running a major story today about how the US Defense Department published online hundreds of thousands of documents captured in Iraq that required translation and hoped to utilize the distributed knowledge of Internet users to translate the information.

Well, the Times now claims that the information published online included primers on how to build nuclear weapons - information that could prove useful to the likes of Iran. That is, if the Times reporting itself is correct. If the reporting is indeed correct, that changes everything - and not for the better for Democrats.

That begs quite a few questions. Does this not show that Iraq was indeed working on nuclear weapons programs and reserving the technical know-how to produce the weapons the moment sanctions were lifted? Indeed the Times actually goes further than that:
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
For those that are still slow on the uptake, that would mean not only that Iraq had the garden variety WMDs, but was quite close to having the ultimate WMD - a nuclear weapon at its disposal.

It also raises yet more questions about the disposition of the program itself - where are the ultimate traces of the program. The papertrail deserves additional examination and it needs to be done swiftly.

Also, the rationale for shutting down the site (which the DoD did overnight) included concerns that Iran might be able to exploit the database for its own purposes. Does this not show that the world's concern about Iran's nuclear program are well-founded if this database could be used by the Iranians to aid in the development of their own nuclear program. If the Iranian program was for peaceful means, how and why would the Iraqi weapons program prove useful?

Why does the New York Times now suddenly realize that this database contains sensitive information that must be shut down, when only weeks and months earlier found no problem highlighting the NSA and SWIFT programs designed to hunt down terrorists around the world via their communications and financial transactions. The sudden shift cannot possibly be because of an election coming up, would it? Allah questions the timing. The sudden interest in national security just days before an election does seem most curious. Michelle Malkin concurs. It is curious alright.

Ed Morrissey, who has been on top of the publication of data from this database of documents notes that the nature of these documents must be legit if the Times is running the story in this fashion. He, among others, wonders now if everyone who has called the Administrations liars will now admit that they themselves were wrong since Bush appears to have been vindicated based on this Times story.

Now, if the Times got its reporting wrong, and tried to claim that the database information wasn't as important as they claim - trying to stress that the Administration's hold on classified information is flawed right before an election based on inaccurate reporting itself becomes the story: The Times itself would be trying to swing the election based on shoddy reporting.

That's why this story should be a win-win for the GOP. Not only would one outcome be that the GOP and Bush are vindicated by the Administration going into Iraq, but the flipside is that the Times pushing a bogus story right before the election would further seal its fate - and that of Democrats who hope this story might hurt the GOP right before an election.

Others blogging: Stop the ACLU (and here), Macranger, AJ Strata, and more to come.

For a good review on the NYT duplicity at election time, and how they may have completely sabotaged Democrat chances going forward, see this piece by Doug Ross.

Don Surber makes an interesting observation about the publication of the information from which this Times story was culled. If this information was so valuable, how come no one from the Times bothered to check it out and publish a story on it until the Friday before the midterm elections.

Now, the website repository has been taken down, and the lefty websites are all atwitter over the fact that the Bush Administration provided information that would help Iran with its weapons program (that Iran itself says it doesn't have). What information was provided? And if this information helps provide the Iranian with key details that further its nuclear weapons program (that the Iranians keep saying they don't have), what exactly would it be doing for the Iraqi program? Collecting dust? That's what we're supposed to believe?

Would anyone have known that the Iraqis were as far along on their reconstitution of a nuclear weapons program if this repository wasn't public? Does anyone think that the Iranians need our help more than we're providing simply by giving them time to work out the kinks in their program. The Iranians continue to obtain crucial information and technologies from China and North Korea, and Russia is running interference. Iran's participation in the AQ Khan network is also known.

So, if the documents are supposed to be giving the Iranians the bomb, that would mean that Iraq was already there (since these documents are the ostensible missing links to getting the bomb that Iran so desperately wants but denies having interest therein).

Tom Maguire points out that the Iranians also got a wee bit of assistance from the Clinton Administration, who provided details about the nuclear triggers. That piece of equipment is the part that enables the nuclear weapon to fire off correctly and efficiently (or else you end up with a fizzle).

James Joyner provides a nice capsule summary - along with reaction from both sides of the aisle. He doesn't think the story as significant as others, but is open to being convinced.

For those wanting to see how far down the rabbit hole this goes, check out the following bloggers: Flopping Aces, QandO, Decision 08, and Argghhh!

Still further down the rabbit hole. Ray Robison, who has been translating these documents and publishing them on his website (and via Ed Morrissey) has more to say about the latest from the Times. He thinks that his contacting the IAEA might have triggered this reporting in the first place. Confederate Yankee has more.

Still others wandering down the rabbit hole: Jim Geraghty, Hyscience, Coalition of the Swilling, Cold Fury, Fausta, Small Dead Animals, and Kobiyashi Maru.

Jason Smith notes some of the documents that had been translated in the past, along with some photographic evidence accompanying one of the documents. If you spot Zarqawi, you'd be correct.

Technorati: , , and , , , and , , , and , .

No comments: