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The Connection
The Weekly Standard ^ | 5/28/04 | Stephen Hayes

Posted on 05/28/2004 3:14:19 PM PDT by martinaricejr

The Connection From the June 7, 2004 issue: The collaboration of Iraq and al Qaeda. The weekly standard by Stephen F. Hayes 06/07/2004, Volume 009, Issue 37

Buy The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein has Endangered America by Stephen F. Hayes.

"THE PRESIDENT CONVINCED the country with a mixture of documents that turned out to be forged and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda," claimed former Vice President Al Gore last Wednesday.

"There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever," declared Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism official under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, in an interview on March 21, 2004.

The editor of the Los Angeles Times labeled as "myth" the claim that links between Iraq and al Qaeda had been proved. A recent dispatch from Reuters simply asserted, "There is no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda." 60 Minutes anchor Lesley Stahl was equally certain: "There was no connection."

And on it goes. This conventional wisdom--that our two most determined enemies were not in league, now or ever--is comforting. It is also wrong.

In late February 2004, Christopher Carney made an astonishing discovery. Carney, a political science professor from Pennsylvania on leave to work at the Pentagon, was poring over a list of officers in Saddam Hussein's much-feared security force, the Fedayeen Saddam. One name stood out: Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. The name was not spelled exactly as Carney had seen it before, but such discrepancies are common. Having studied the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda for 18 months, he immediately recognized the potential significance of his find. According to a report last week in the Wall Street Journal, Shakir appears on three different lists of Fedayeen officers.

An Iraqi of that name, Carney knew, had been present at an al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on January 5-8, 2000. U.S. intelligence officials believe this was a chief planning meeting for the September 11 attacks. Shakir had been nominally employed as a "greeter" by Malaysian Airlines, a job he told associates he had gotten through a contact at the Iraqi embassy. More curious, Shakir's Iraqi embassy contact controlled his schedule, telling him when to show up for work and when to take a day off.

A greeter typically meets VIPs upon arrival and accompanies them through the sometimes onerous procedures of foreign travel. Shakir was instructed to work on January 5, 2000, and on that day, he escorted one Khalid al Mihdhar from his plane to a waiting car. Rather than bid his guest farewell at that point, as a greeter typically would have, Shakir climbed into the car with al Mihdhar and accompanied him to the Kuala Lumpur condominium of Yazid Sufaat, the American-born al Qaeda terrorist who hosted the planning meeting.

The meeting lasted for three days. Khalid al Mihdhar departed Kuala Lumpur for Bangkok and eventually Los Angeles. Twenty months later, he was aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when it plunged into the Pentagon at 9:38 A.M. on September 11. So were Nawaf al Hazmi and his younger brother, Salem, both of whom were also present at the Kuala Lumpur meeting.

Six days after September 11, Shakir was captured in Doha, Qatar. He had in his possession contact information for several senior al Qaeda terrorists: Zahid Sheikh Mohammed, brother of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, the Iraqi who helped mix the chemicals for the first World Trade Center attack and was given safe haven upon his return to Baghdad; and Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, otherwise known as Abu Hajer al Iraqi, described by one top al Qaeda detainee as Osama bin Laden's "best friend."

Despite all of this, Shakir was released. On October 21, 2001, he boarded a plane for Baghdad, via Amman, Jordan. He never made the connection. Shakir was detained by Jordanian intelligence. Immediately following his capture, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence on Shakir, the Iraqi government began exerting pressure on the Jordanians to release him. Some U.S. intelligence officials--primarily at the CIA--believed that Iraq's demand for Shakir's release was pro forma, no different from the requests governments regularly make on behalf of citizens detained by foreign nationals. But others, pointing to the flurry of phone calls and personal appeals from the Iraqi government to the Jordanians, disagreed. This panicked reaction, they say, reflected an interest in Shakir at the highest levels of Saddam Hussein's regime.

CIA officials who interviewed Shakir in Jordan reported that he was generally uncooperative. But even in refusing to talk, he provided some important information: The interrogators concluded that his evasive answers reflected counterinterrogation techniques so sophisticated that he had probably learned them from a government intelligence service. Shakir's nationality, his contacts with the Iraqi embassy in Malaysia, the keen interest of Baghdad in his case, and now the appearance of his name on the rolls of Fedayeen officers--all this makes the Iraqi intelligence service the most likely source of his training.

The Jordanians, convinced that Shakir worked for Iraqi intelligence, went to the CIA with a bold proposal: Let's flip him. That is, the Jordanians would allow Shakir to return to Iraq on the condition that he agree to report back on the activities of Iraqi intelligence. And, in one of the most egregious mistakes by the U.S. intelligence community after September 11, the CIA agreed to Shakir's release. He posted a modest bail and returned to Iraq.

He hasn't been heard from since.

The Shakir story is perhaps the government's strongest indication that Saddam and al Qaeda may have worked together on September 11. But it is far from conclusive; conceivably there were two Ahmed Hikmat Shakirs. And in itself, the evidence does not show that Saddam Hussein personally had foreknowledge of the attacks. Still--like the long, on-again-off-again relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda--it cannot be dismissed.

THERE WAS A TIME not long ago when the conventional wisdom skewed heavily toward a Saddam-al Qaeda collaboration. In 1998 and early 1999, the Iraq-al Qaeda connection was widely reported in the American and international media. Former intelligence officers and government officials speculated about the relationship and its dangerous implications for the world. The information in the news reports came from foreign and domestic intelligence services. It was featured in mainstream media outlets including international wire services, prominent newsweeklies, network radio and television broadcasts.

Newsweek magazine ran an article in its January 11, 1999, issue headed "Saddam + Bin Laden?" "Here's what is known so far," it read:

Saddam Hussein, who has a long record of supporting terrorism, is trying to rebuild his intelligence network overseas--assets that would allow him to establish a terrorism network. U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last summer.

Four days later, on January 15, 1999, ABC News reported that three intelligence agencies believed that Saddam had offered asylum to bin Laden.

Intelligence sources say bin Laden's long relationship with the Iraqis began as he helped Sudan's fundamentalist government in their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. . . . ABC News has learned that in December, an Iraqi intelligence chief named Faruq Hijazi, now Iraq's ambassador to Turkey, made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Three intelligence agencies tell ABC News they cannot be certain what was discussed, but almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcome in Baghdad.

NPR reporter Mike Shuster interviewed Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA's counterterrorism center, and offered this report.

Iraq's contacts with bin Laden go back some years, to at least 1994, when, according to one U.S. government source, Hijazi met him when bin Laden lived in Sudan. According to Cannistraro, Iraq invited bin Laden to live in Baghdad to be nearer to potential targets of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. . . . Some experts believe bin Laden might be tempted to live in Iraq because of his reported desire to obtain chemical or biological weapons. CIA Director George Tenet referred to that in recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee when he said bin Laden was planning additional attacks on American targets.

By mid-February 1999, journalists did not even feel the need to qualify these claims of an Iraq-al Qaeda relationship. An Associated Press dispatch that ran in the Washington Post ended this way: "The Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against Western powers."

Where did journalists get the idea that Saddam and bin Laden might be coordinating efforts? Among other places, from high-ranking Clinton administration officials.

In the spring of 1998--well before the U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa--the Clinton administration indicted Osama bin Laden. The indictment, unsealed a few months later, prominently cited al Qaeda's agreement to collaborate with Iraq on weapons of mass destruction. The Clinton Justice Department had been concerned about negative public reaction to its potentially capturing bin Laden without "a vehicle for extradition," official paperwork charging him with a crime. It was "not an afterthought" to include the al Qaeda-Iraq connection in the indictment, says an official familiar with the deliberations. "It couldn't have gotten into the indictment unless someone was willing to testify to it under oath." The Clinton administration's indictment read unequivocally:

Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

On August 7, 1998, al Qaeda terrorists struck almost simultaneously at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The blasts killed 257 people--including 12 Americans--and wounded nearly 5,000. The Clinton administration determined within five days that al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks and moved swiftly to retaliate. One of the targets would be in Afghanistan. But the Clinton national security team wanted to strike hard simultaneously, much as the terrorists had. "The decision to go to [Sudan] was an add-on," says a senior intelligence officer involved in the targeting. "They wanted a dual strike."

A small group of Clinton administration officials, led by CIA director George Tenet and national security adviser Sandy Berger, reviewed a number of al Qaeda-linked targets in Sudan. Although bin Laden had left the African nation two years earlier, U.S. officials believed that he was still deeply involved in the Sudanese government-run Military Industrial Corporation (MIC).

The United States retaliated on August 20, 1998, striking al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and the al Shifa pharmaceutical plant outside Khartoum. "Let me be very clear about this," said President Bill Clinton, addressing the nation after the strikes. "There is no question in my mind that the Sudanese factory was producing chemicals that are used--and can be used--in VX gas. This was a plant that was producing chemical warfare-related weapons and we have physical evidence of that."

The physical evidence was a soil sample containing EMPTA, a precursor for VX nerve gas. Almost immediately, the decision to strike at al Shifa aroused controversy. U.S. officials had expressed skepticism that the plant produced pharmaceuticals at all, but reporters on the ground in Sudan found aspirin bottles and a variety of other indications that the plant had, in fact, manufactured drugs. For journalists and many at the CIA, the case was hardly clear cut. For one thing, the soil sample was collected from outside the plant's front gate, not within the grounds, and an internal CIA memo issued a month before the attacks had recommended gathering additional soil samples from the site before reaching any conclusions. "It caused a lot of heartburn at the agency," recalls a former top intelligence official.

The Clinton administration sought to dispel doubts about the targeting and, on August 24, 1998, made available a "senior intelligence official" to brief reporters on background. The briefer cited "strong ties between the plant and Iraq" as one of the justifications for attacking it. The next day, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering briefed reporters at the National Press Club. Pickering explained that the intelligence community had been monitoring the plant for "at least two years," and that the evidence was "quite clear on contacts between Sudan and Iraq." In all, at least six top Clinton administration officials have defended on the record the strikes in Sudan by citing a link to Iraq.

The Iraqis, of course, denied any involvement. "The Clinton government has fabricated yet another lie to the effect that Iraq had helped Sudan produce this chemical weapon," declared the political editor of Radio Iraq. Still, even as Iraq denied helping Sudan and al Qaeda with weapons of mass destruction, the regime lauded Osama bin Laden. On August 27, 1998, twenty days after al Qaeda attacked the U.S. embassies in Africa, Babel, the government newspaper run by Saddam's son Uday Hussein, published a startling editorial proclaiming bin Laden "an Arab and Islamic hero."

Five months later, the same Richard Clarke who would one day claim that there was "absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever," told the Washington Post that the U.S. government was "sure" that Iraq was behind the production of the chemical weapons precursor at the al Shifa plant. "Clarke said U.S. intelligence does not know how much of the substance was produced at al Shifa or what happened to it," wrote Post reporter Vernon Loeb, in an article published January 23, 1999. "But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to al Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts, and the National Islamic Front in Sudan."

Later in 1999, the Congressional Research Service published a report on the psychology of terrorism. That report created a stir in May 2002 when critics of President Bush cited it to suggest that his administration should have given more thought to suicide hijackings. On page 7 of the 178-page report was a passage about a possible al Qaeda attack on Washington, D.C., that "could take several forms." In one scenario, the report suggested "suicide bombers belonging to al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, or the White House."

A network anchor wondered if it was possible that the White House had somehow missed the report. A senator cited it in calling for an investigation into the 9/11 attacks. A journalist read excerpts to the secretary of defense and raised a familiar question: "What did you know and when did you know it?"

But another passage of the same report has gone strangely unnoticed. Two paragraphs before, also on page 7, is this: "If Iraq's Saddam Hussein decide[s] to use terrorists to attack the continental United States [he] would likely turn to bin Laden's al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is among the Islamic groups recruiting increasingly skilled professionals," including "Iraqi chemical weapons experts and others capable of helping to develop WMD. Al Qaeda poses the most serious terrorist threat to U.S. security interests, for al Qaeda's well-trained terrorists are engaged in a terrorist jihad against U.S. interests worldwide."

CIA director George Tenet echoed these sentiments in a letter to Congress on October 7, 2002.

-- Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.

--We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.

--Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.

--Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.

--We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.

--Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

Tenet has never backed away from these assessments. Senator Mark Dayton, a Democrat from Minnesota, challenged him on the Iraq-al Qaeda connection in an exchange before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 9, 2004. Tenet reiterated his judgment that there had been numerous "contacts" between Iraq and al Qaeda, and that in the days before the war the Iraqi regime had provided "training and safe haven" to al Qaeda associates, including Abu Musab al Zarqawi. What the U.S. intelligence community could not claim was that the Iraqi regime had "command and control" over al Qaeda terrorists. Still, said Tenet, "it was inconceivable to me that Zarqawi and two dozen [Egyptian Islamic Jihad] operatives could be operating in Baghdad without Iraq knowing."

SO WHAT should Washington do now? The first thing the Bush administration should do is create a team of intelligence experts--or preferably, competing teams, each composed of terrorism experts and forensic investigators--to explore the connection between Iraq and al Qaeda. For more than a year, the 1,400-member Iraq Survey Group has investigated the nature and scope of Iraq's program to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. At various times in its brief history, a small subgroup of ISG investigators (never more than 15 people) has looked into Iraqi connections with al Qaeda. This is not enough.

Despite the lack of resources devoted to Iraq-al Qaeda connections, the Iraq Survey Group has obtained some interesting new information. In the spring of 1992, according to Iraqi Intelligence documents obtained by the ISG after the war, Osama bin Laden met with Iraqi Intelligence officials in Syria. A second document, this one captured by the Iraqi National Congress and authenticated by the Defense Intelligence Agency, then listed bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence "asset" who "is in good relationship with our section in Syria." A third Iraqi Intelligence document, this one an undated internal memo, discusses strategy for an upcoming meeting between Iraqi Intelligence, bin Laden, and a representative of the Taliban. On the agenda: "attacking American targets." This seems significant.

A second critical step would be to declassify as much of the Iraq-al Qaeda intelligence as possible. Those skeptical of any connection claim that any evidence of a relationship must have been "cherry picked" from much larger piles of existing intelligence that makes these Iraq-al Qaeda links less compelling. Let's see it all, or as much of it as can be disclosed without compromising sources and methods.

Among the most important items to be declassified: the Iraq Survey Group documents discussed above; any and all reporting and documentation--including photographs--pertaining to Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, the Iraqi and alleged Saddam Fedayeen officer present at the September 11 planning meeting; interview transcripts with top Iraqi intelligence officers, al Qaeda terrorists, and leaders of al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Islam; documents recovered in postwar Iraq indicating that Abdul Rahman Yasin, the Iraqi who has admitted mixing the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was given safe haven and financial support by the Iraqi regime upon returning to Baghdad two weeks after the attack; any and all reporting and documentation--including photographs--related to Mohammed Atta's visits to Prague; portions of the debriefings of Faruq Hijazi, former deputy director of Iraqi intelligence, who met personally with bin Laden at least twice, and an evaluation of his credibility.

It is of course important for the Bush administration and CIA director George Tenet to back up their assertions of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection. Similarly, declassifying intelligence from the 1990s might shed light on why top Clinton officials were adamant about an Iraq-al Qaeda connection in the Sudan and why the Clinton Justice Department included the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship in its 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden. More specifically, what intelligence did Richard Clarke see that allowed him to tell the Washington Post that the U.S. government was "sure" Iraq had provided a chemical weapons precursor to the al Qaeda-linked al Shifa facility in Sudan? What would compel former secretary of defense William Cohen to tell the September 11 Commission, under oath, that an executive from the al Qaeda-linked plant "traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX [nerve gas] program"? And why did Thomas Pickering, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, tell reporters, "We see evidence that we think is quite clear on contacts between Sudan and Iraq. In fact, al Shifa officials, early in the company's history, we believe were in touch with Iraqi individuals associated with Iraq's VX program"? Other Clinton administration figures, including a "senior intelligence official" who briefed reporters on background, cited telephone intercepts between a plant manager and Emad al Ani, the father of Iraq's chemical weapons program.

We have seen important elements of the pre-September 11 intelligence available to the Bush administration; it's time for the American public to see more of the intelligence on Iraq and al Qaeda from the 1990s, especially the reporting about the August 1998 attacks in Kenya and Tanzania and the U.S. counterstrikes two weeks later.

Until this material is declassified, there will be gaps in our knowledge. Indeed, even after the full record is made public, some uncertainties will no doubt remain.

The connection between Saddam and al Qaeda isn't one of them.

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard. Parts of this article are drawn from his new book, The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein has Endangered America (HarperCollins).


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: algore; alqaedaandiraq; alquaeda; bookreview; connection; iraq; islam; stephenfhayes; terrorism; theconnection

1 posted on 05/28/2004 3:14:20 PM PDT by martinaricejr
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To: martinaricejr
The connection between Saddam and al Qaeda isn't one of them.

It never was to the layman who hasn't overshot his sensibilities by being in a position of political power.

2 posted on 05/28/2004 3:18:34 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: martinaricejr
More:

Report Details Saddam's Support for Terrorists Who Killed Americans

The above link is the FreeRepublic discussion thread.

The actual article is :

"Saddam Hussein’s Philanthropy of Terror"

It is a pdf document with substantial footnotes and put together by Dewey Murdock of the Hudson Institute.

3 posted on 05/28/2004 3:21:34 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: EGPWS

Hayes's book is available at amazon. Get it.


4 posted on 05/28/2004 3:22:22 PM PDT by randita
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To: martinaricejr

Eeeek. Screeech. The holy men of al-Qaeda and the secular Ba'athists of Iraq could NEVER overcome their differences sufficiently to combine forces and strike at the US. We have it on good authority from the great luminaries of the American Left tradition, that this could not happen, under any circumstances.

This is OBVIOUSLY only a figment of the imagination of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.


5 posted on 05/28/2004 3:31:05 PM PDT by alloysteel (Live well and prosper. Beam me up, Scottie....)
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To: martinaricejr
When it comes to Al Qaeda, it is vital that they not know what the U.S. government knows.

Anything they may learn from us would be a tipoff that could allow terrorists to adjust their plans and succeed in carrying out an attack that could cost tens of thousands of American lives and perhaps result in the utter destruction of a major U.S. city.

That's why they won't talk about this publicly -- yet.

As the President has repeatedly said: this is a new kind of war.

History will judge President Bush far more fairly than the Leftists do today.

6 posted on 05/28/2004 3:32:22 PM PDT by Imal (Enough of this! Let's hear more about Abu Ghraib.)
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To: Mitchell

ping


7 posted on 05/28/2004 3:34:52 PM PDT by oceanview
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To: martinaricejr

A MUST read.


8 posted on 05/28/2004 3:45:53 PM PDT by the Real fifi
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To: martinaricejr

well done


9 posted on 05/28/2004 3:46:15 PM PDT by bitt
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To: Peach

Add to list:

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1144123/posts


10 posted on 05/28/2004 3:52:42 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: martinaricejr
Bump Bang.
11 posted on 05/28/2004 4:00:14 PM PDT by aculeus
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To: Imal

Less than two months before 9/11/01, the state-controlled Iraqi newspaper “Al-Nasiriya” carried a column headlined, “American, an Obsession called Osama Bin Ladin.” (July 21, 2001)

In the piece, Baath Party writer Naeem Abd Muhalhal predicted that bin Laden would attack the US “with the seriousness of the Bedouin of the desert about the way he will try to bomb the Pentagon after he destroys the White House.”

The same state-approved column also insisted that bin Laden “will strike America on the arm that is already hurting,” and that the US “will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra every time he hears his songs” – an apparent reference to the Sinatra classic, “New York, New York”.

That and other links here:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1127451/posts


12 posted on 05/28/2004 4:01:40 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: aculeus

I think these reporters are going to be on Meet the Press tomorrow morning.


13 posted on 05/28/2004 4:02:08 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: Peach

You mean Sunday morning? At least if it's on Russert, the leftists might see it.


14 posted on 05/28/2004 4:06:00 PM PDT by Inkie (Surround Fallujia and start shooting.)
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To: Inkie

I think I read the reporters would be on Sunday's MTP. I could have misunderstood, however. I'm setting the VCR.


15 posted on 05/28/2004 4:08:54 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: martinaricejr

Interesting, but it won't fit on a bumper sticker.


16 posted on 05/28/2004 4:13:20 PM PDT by struwwelpeter
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To: martinaricejr
Any questions!
17 posted on 05/28/2004 4:33:17 PM PDT by mattdono (Big Arnie: "Crush the democrats, drive them before you, and hear the lamentations of the scumbags.")
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Bump


18 posted on 05/28/2004 5:06:08 PM PDT by Lyford
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To: martinaricejr

Hey libs it's easy to dismiss these reports of collusion between Hussein and Al-Qaeda. Just close your eyes, put your hands over your ears, and when anyone tries to relate facts to you, just shout nonsense syllables or words like "enron" "halliburton" "war for oil" and other handy lib talking points at the top of your lungs. This method should prove effective when some nasty conservative provides overwhelming proof of Hussein's ties to international terrorism and Al-Qaeda.


19 posted on 05/28/2004 5:19:45 PM PDT by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: martinaricejr; Howlin
Newsweek magazine ran an article in its January 11, 1999, issue headed "Saddam + Bin Laden?" "Here's what is known so far,"....

Four days later, on January 15, 1999, ABC News ....

NPR reporter Mike Shuster interviewed Vincent Cannistraro.....

By mid-February 1999, journalists did not even feel the need to qualify these claims of an Iraq-al Qaeda relationship. An Associated Press dispatch that ran in the Washington Post ended this way: "The Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against Western powers."

The collective amnesia of the press is astounding.

These quotes are (I assume) undeniable and, as such, this has GOT to get out to the public.

And it can't just be a review at Fox News....
the left will just blow it off and bury it.

This is a job for Chaney....

"Since all this fine, investigative journalism matched the intelligence we were receiving both internally and externally, we felt that we had no choice but to act preemptively before this threat became imminent."

20 posted on 05/28/2004 6:04:21 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: 1Mike; 3catsanadog; ~Vor~; ~Kim4VRWC's~; A CA Guy; A Citizen Reporter; abner; Aeronaut; AFPhys; ...

FYI!


21 posted on 05/28/2004 6:15:32 PM PDT by Howlin
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To: martinaricejr
This is what stuck out especially to me from the article

But another passage of the same report has gone strangely unnoticed. Two paragraphs before, also on page 7, is this: "If Iraq's Saddam Hussein decide[s] to use terrorists to attack the continental United States [he] would likely turn to bin Laden's al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is among the Islamic groups recruiting increasingly skilled professionals," including "Iraqi chemical weapons experts and others capable of helping to develop WMD. Al Qaeda poses the most serious terrorist threat to U.S. security interests, for al Qaeda's well-trained terrorists are engaged in a terrorist jihad against U.S. interests worldwide."

22 posted on 05/28/2004 6:31:02 PM PDT by Kaslin (N.O.B.B.F.P!!! No one but Bush for president)
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To: martinaricejr
I understand that it's vital to keep some things from becoming public, but if they do not, the American people could well elect another president. If that happens, all this work will have been for nothing because these agencies will be stopped in their tracks by budget cuts.

I hope this is weighed carefully, President Bush has a lot more work to do.

23 posted on 05/28/2004 7:07:20 PM PDT by McGavin999 (If Kerry can't deal with the "Republican Attack Machine" how is he going to deal with Al Qaeda)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection; Howlin; McGavin999; MEG33
Related item:

Report Details Saddam's Support for Terrorists Who Killed Americans

24 posted on 05/28/2004 8:02:49 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: Howlin

I am hoping this is told more and more often...until the media cannot ignore it.


25 posted on 05/28/2004 8:06:19 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security!)
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To: Howlin

Concise, accurate, pithy. Too bad libs would only read the first paragraph!


26 posted on 05/28/2004 8:07:11 PM PDT by Humidston (Mark Levin is a hunka-hunka!)
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To: Howlin

Thanks for the ping. I think that this connect-the-dots is going to ne the final nail,that allows me to turn a Dem leaning person. :-)


27 posted on 05/28/2004 9:38:03 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: eddie willers

I'd like to keep these quotes for "ammunition" next time some lib poster starts screeching the "Bush lied about Al-Queda and Iraq" line.


28 posted on 05/28/2004 10:01:02 PM PDT by 3catsanadog (When anything goes, everything does.)
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To: Howlin

29 posted on 05/28/2004 10:12:17 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well....there you go again.")
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To: oceanview; Allan; Shermy
Thanks for the ping.

The theory that there was substantial and well-documented collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iraq (not just the occasional meeting, which means nothing) requires an answer to one key question:

"Why has Pres. Bush not revealed the evidence and given his explicit backing to this theory?"

If the theory is correct, Pres. Bush must have some very good reason for not giving the connection his imprimatur, since on its face he would greatly benefit politically from doing so.

[Of course, it's possible that the theory is false, or at least unproven, in which case there's nothing to explain with regard to the Bush administration's lack of forthrightness on the issue. But if the theory is true, then the position of the Bush administration is a very interesting question.]

30 posted on 05/28/2004 10:29:57 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: martinaricejr

Bump


31 posted on 05/28/2004 10:41:08 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Pre-empt the third murder attempt: Pray for Terri Schindler-Schiavo!)
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To: Mitchell

Well the obvious reason would be
that it would be much more politically opportune
to reveal all this just before the election.
This is what Loftus maintains
but I have my doubts
we have heard such stuff before
that there would be revelations
just before the invasion
(the meetings with Atta, etc).


32 posted on 05/28/2004 11:43:43 PM PDT by Allan
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To: martinaricejr
Excellent post.

Too bad this information will not be getting the headlines that have been dominated by the prison scandal. It seems to contradict the DNC party line.

As Ann Coulter so pithily put it:

The beauty of being a liberal is that history always begins this morning. Every day liberals can create a new narrative that destroys the past as it occurred. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

33 posted on 05/29/2004 3:49:18 AM PDT by Dutchgirl
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To: Mitchell; Allan

"Why has Pres. Bush not revealed the evidence and given his explicit backing to this theory?"

Please see the following post for a rather plausible response to your question:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1143347/posts?page=72#72


34 posted on 05/29/2004 4:22:54 AM PDT by Quilla (God bless America, President George W. Bush, our brave troops, and Freepers everywhere.)
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To: Dutchgirl
The beauty of being a liberal is that history always begins this morning.

That certainly explains Jamie Gorelick's seat on the 9-11 Commission. Selective memory loss allows her and fellow commissioners to formulate hostile question in an attempt to shift the blame. This tactic of rewriting history is the "new" liberal version of 9-11/

Never forget.

35 posted on 05/29/2004 4:33:35 AM PDT by Quilla (God bless America, President George W. Bush, our brave troops, and Freepers everywhere.)
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To: Quilla; Allan
I find both these theories (that Pres. Bush is waiting to reveal this right before the election for maximum political effect, or that the Bush administration wanted to forestall any possible lawsuits from the families of 9/11 victims) difficult to believe.

The careful balancing act that either of these theories implies risks not just Pres. Bush's re-election, but the popular base of support for the war -- both the war on Iraq and the Bush strategy for the war on al-Qaeda.

Why would Pres. Bush have missed an opportunity to galvanize public support for the war on Iraq by stating publicly the reasons which he ostensibly already knows? This isn't just a question of re-election strategy: the successful prosecution of the war is at risk precisely because much of the U.S. public is uncertain why we are at war with Iraq and thinks it may be needless.

The tactic of intentionally waiting until just before the election would be likely to backfire. It will be attributed to political opportunism by much of the public, and many people who would have believed it earlier simply won't believe it at that point. Combine that with the fact that there appear to be moles in the government who are willing to publish "tell-all" books to the detriment of the administration, and there's a good chance that the tactic wouldn't even be kept secret.

Now, maybe one of these theories really is right. If so, it's a poor tactical choice on the part of the Bush administration.

I'm more inclined to think that neither of these theories is the reason. Either there's some other reason that's keeping Pres. Bush from revealing the Iraq-al Qaeda connection, or else the connection is minimal and there's not much to reveal.

36 posted on 05/29/2004 9:09:51 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Quilla; Allan
One more point -- It may be that Pres. Bush just doesn't know whether there is a strong Iraq-al Qaeda connection or not.

After all, both raw intelligence and its interpretation are full of errors and uncertainties, and even disinformation. The President hears "There is a connection" from one advisor, "There's not a connection" from another advisor, and "We don't know" from a third advisor.

Maybe Pres. Bush is, very reasonably, unwilling to go out on a limb in such a situation.

37 posted on 05/29/2004 10:30:56 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell

I think you are right.
They don't even know who planned 09-11-01.


38 posted on 05/29/2004 11:12:02 AM PDT by Allan
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To: randita
Harper Collins' links to bookstores selling the book.
39 posted on 06/01/2004 7:19:56 AM PDT by optimistically_conservative (The soldier, be he friend or foe, is charged with the protection of the weak and the unarmed.)
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To: Molly Pitcher

Ping


40 posted on 06/02/2004 3:15:45 AM PDT by The Raven (<<----Click Screen name to see why I vote the way I do.)
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To: martinaricejr

bttt


41 posted on 09/20/2004 7:51:46 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: martinaricejr
"THE PRESIDENT CONVINCED the country with a mixture of documents that turned out to be forged and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda," claimed former Vice President Al Gore last Wednesday.

Well, hello there, Mr. Pot! I'd like you to meet my close friend, Mr. Kettle.

42 posted on 09/20/2004 7:54:51 PM PDT by Terabitten (Live as a bastion of freedom and democracy in the midst of the heart of darkness.)
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