Pentagon Report on Iraq Debacle “Remains Classified”

May 6, 2008 3:54 p.m.

Earlier this week, I noted an excerpt from the new book by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, where he told how Donald Rumsfeld had ordered a report by the Joint Warfighting Center of the bungled occupation of Iraq, but when Rumsfeld got the results, he’d ordered it squelched.

Sanchez writes that he was told by one of the people who’d done the study that when they’d presented their findings to Rumsfeld, he’d “just shut us down” and said “This is not going anywhere.” According to Sanchez, the report validated his account that the entire Pentagon leadership knew that he’d had inadequate support when he’d been in command of the U.S. forces in Iraq after the fall of Hussein. It also showed that Gen. Tommy Franks had discarded the original plan, which called for a twelve-to-eighteen-month occupation deployment.

Sanchez added: “From that, my belief was that Rumsfeld’s intent appeared to be to minimize and control further exposure within the Pentagon and to specifically keep this information from the American public.”

Susanne Moore, media operations chief at the Joint Forces Command, told me today that the report actually had been finished and published in late 2006 — but that it “was and remains classified.”

So why is a historical report classified? “It has all the earmarks of an abusive classification,” Steve Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy Project, told me. “The report has been publicly characterized as an embarrassing document, and an allegation has been made by an informed source that the motive for withholding was to avoid embarrassment and disgrace, which of course is not a legitimate use of the classification system. So it demands further investigation by Congress to get to the bottom of it.”

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