Among the documents I scanned yesterday, I finally found the Ibrahim al-Sanusi document referred to in the second half of Stephen Hayes's latest Weekly Standard piece: it's document ISGZ-2004-009247, released on March 20. (PDF of the document here) Hayes accurately describes the document (previously reported by the New York Times) as covering
"relations between Iraqi Intelligence and Saudi opposition groups. The document was apparently compiled at some point after January 1997, judging by the most recent date in the text, and discusses four Saudi opposition groups: the Committee for Defense of Legitimate Rights, the Reform and Advice Committee (Osama bin Laden), People of al Jazeera Union Organization, and the Saudi Hezbollah."
The key part, for Hayes, is this paragraph:
"D. Due to the recent situation of Sudan and being accused of supporting and embracing of terrorism, an agreement with the opposing Saudi Osama bin Laden was reached. The agreement required him to leave Sudan to another area. He left Khartoum in July 1996. The information we have indicates that he is currently in Afghanistan. The relationship with him is ongoing through the Sudanese side. Currently we are working to invigorate this relationship through a new channel in light of his present location."
"(It should be noted that the documents given to The Weekly Standard did not include the attachments, letters to and from Saddam Hussein about the status of the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship. And the last sentence differs slightly from the version provided to the New York Times. In the Weekly Standard document, Iraq is seeking to "invigorate" its relationship with al Qaeda; in the Times translation, Iraq is seeking to "continue" that relationship.)"
For what it's worth, the word in question is "taf'il", which I would actually translate as "activate", not "invigorate" or "continue." An important distinction, no doubt... but I wouldn't put too much weight on it, because I wouldn't put too much weight on the document at all.
Because this is a very odd "document". It's handwritten, and is not on any kind of official letterhead or stationary. It has no stamps or signatures indicating that it had passed through the bureaucracy and been placed in the files. It is neither signed nor dated. I'm just not sure the grounds on which it was declared to be presumed authentic. That isn't to say that it is definitively not authentic - there could be cover pages and supplemental materials that were not included in the scanned file. But what was made public gives little reason for confidence. Either way, as the document's author gives a general overview of Iraqi interactions with various Saudi opposition figures, the London-based Saudi dissident Mohammed Massa'ri is the main focus, not bin Laden. So even if it were authentic, it doesn't really say very much, other than that the Iraqis were aware that bin Laden was a Saudi dissident who had lived in the Sudan and then ("according to our information") had moved on to Afghanistan - not exactly earth-shattering news.
Once again, though, let me just add that this confirms the general value of the document release: I'm glad that I was able to have a look at the original document on which Hayes based his article, rather than him having privileged access to it.
UPDATE: The Foreign Military Studies Office website which is hosting the released Iraqi documents has just changed its presentation format for the fourth time in a week. Yesterday's format was extremely usable: documents broken down by the day they were released, with a space for short summaries, and clear indication of whether the document was in Arabic or English. The new format as of today is unsorted, with video and audio files mixed in with pdf text files - a major step backward, especially since the files don't appear to even be in the order I checked them off yesterday. Does the FMSO want us to be able to use these documents or not?
UPDATE 2: I had missed this when it was first posted, but I'm glad to see that the ABC News presentation of this document made two points that I originally made here: that the document is "handwritten and has no official seal", and that the appropriate translation of the key word in the passage about the relationship with bin Laden is "activate." Great minds, thinking alike..