Blogging: Iraq war interrupts normal service

Apologies for the blogging hiatus over the last week – hope any readers of the newspapers, or TV viewers, will understand why. Normal service should resume tomorrow. There’s been enormous interest in my story on the leaked classified Iraq papers, and we are slowly getting some of the documents published in full online. It’s been a big job, though.

The Telegraph has been leaked around 45 classified documents adding up to more than a thousand pages. There are several dozen “post-operational reports,” written by individual commanders and units, and two “overall” reports which pull them – and some other reports we haven’t got – together. There’s a bit of overlap between them, with some of the findings which appear in one report also appearing in others. There are also hundreds of pages of very frank classified transcripts of MoD interviews conducted with senior commanders returning from battle.

It is our wish to place as much of this as possible on the Telegraph website, but the process of checking such a large number of papers – for anything which might compromise our sources, reveal private personal information or compromise national security – is necessarily lengthy.

Our sources have asked that some documents not be published at all, and that others be re-typed by us before publication. Finally, we may withhold some documents, or parts of documents, because they contain material or background for future stories. Therefore, not every document from which we have quoted in the newspaper will be published at this stage.

PS: The admirable Chris Ames, whose Iraq Inquiry Monitor should be essential reading, writes that one of the 45 documents we were passed by our sources has separately appeared on Wikileaks, something I hadn’t spotted. Clearly no other journalist noticed it, either: none of the quotes we used have appeared before, with the exception of a handful which appeared in both our document and two separate, shorter reports with different titles obtained by two colleagues in 2007 and 2009.

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