A newly-translated Iraqi intelligence document posted on The American Thinker indicates that an employee of he Associated Press was a trusted “source” for Saddam Hussein. The document, dated July 25, 2000, recites information about the formation of UNMOVIC, the United Nations’ then-newly-formed weapons inspection agency, that had been disseminated inside the Associated Press:
We were informed from one of our sources (the degree of trust in him is good) who works in the American Associated Press Agency [emphasis added] that the agency broadcasted to through computer to its branches worldwide the following:
1. The new agency for inspecting the Iraqi weapons (UNMOVIC) started on 11/7/2000 a training program for 4 weeks which includes historical, legal, administrative, and political subjects that are related to the weapons inspection in Iraq.
2. The training include lectures about the ballistic missiles and the biological and chemical weapons and the import and export of weapons in addition to a session in security arrangements prepared by the American government.
The document continues on for several more paragraphs. It is very interesting because it shows that Saddam’s regime had a source or agent of some kind inside the Associated Press. Given what we have seen in recent weeks relating to employees of news services in the Middle East, this raises obvious questions. We should note, though, that there is nothing secret about the information provided by the source in this instance; it presumably was about to be published by the AP. The memo also does not say whether the source was a reporter or some other category of employee. So it is impossible to say, based only on this document, what significance this source may have had, either in terms of the AP’s reporting on Iraq, or in terms of funneling information that should have been confidential to Saddam.
As we’ve said before, the volume of Iraqi documents yet to be translated is vast, and only the most tentative conclusions can be drawn from a handful of pieces of paper. Note Michael Tanji’s comments below.