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Administration to release prewar Iraq documents
Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:03 PM ET172
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Monday said it was preparing to release prewar Iraqi government material from a trove of documents and tape-recordings captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The office of U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte decided in recent days to fund a review and release process for an estimated 48,000 boxes of documents and hundreds of recorded conversations, including many involving Saddam Hussein himself, officials said.
The material, removed from Iraq to Qatar, has already been reviewed by the CIA's Iraq Survey Group and continues to be scrutinized for intelligence by the U.S. military, officials said.
But officials said Negroponte's Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, is expected to move quickly to release as much of the material as possible.
"The ODNI is committed to expediting the review and release of the materials," a Negroponte spokeswoman said.
The news was greeted with enthusiasm by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who has strongly urged the administration to release the material.
He suggested some of the information could shed light on prewar U.S. intelligence reports that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.