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After 12 Years, CIA Releases Classified Document used to Justify Invasion of Iraq

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On the twelfth anniversary of the day President George W. Bush declared that the United States was invading Iraq, a new version of the classified document used to justify the war was released.

In 2004, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by releasing a heavily redacted version of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) the US originally used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

John Greenewald, the operator of The Black Vault, a hub for declassified government documents, contacted the CIA in 2014, requesting an updated version of the NIE that contained more details. The CIA provided Greenewald with a newer version in Jan. 2015, which he first shared with VICE News.

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VICE News noted that the release of this document marks the first time the public has access to the “hastily drafted CIA document that led Congress to pass a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.”

While the newly released version of the NIE still keeps some details from the public, it provides more information about the intelligence the US claimed to have when choosing to invade Iraq, and it points out some holes in the stories of the US officials who were justifying the invasion to the American public.

When presenting the war on March 19, 2003, Bush stated that the United States’ goals were to disarm Iraq of its supposed weapons of mass destruction, to overthrow Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, and to free the Iraqi people.

While Bush stated in Oct. 2002, that there was evidence indicating that not only did Iraq possess and produce “chemical and biological weapons,” it was also “reconstituting its nuclear weapons program,” VICE News reported that according to the NIE, the US believed Iraq had probably “renovated the facility” it used for producing the weapons, but they were unable to determine whether the research or production of the weapons had resumed.

In Sept. 2002, the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed that the US has “bulletproof” evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

However, according to the newly released version of the NIE, any information the US had on the overall relationship between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government were “second-hand or from sources of varying reliability.”

Read the full document, courtesy of VICE News:

Iraq October 2002 NIE on WMDs (unedacted version)

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