November 17, 2003



FoxNews reported this weekend: Intelligence Report Links Saddam, Usama.

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave terror lord Usama bin Laden's thugs financial and logistical support, offering Al Qaeda money, training and haven for more than a decade, it was reported yesterday [Nov. 15].

Their deadly collaboration -- which may have included the bombing of the USS Cole and the 9/11 attacks -- is revealed in a 16-page memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee that cites reports from a variety of domestic and foreign spy agencies compiled by multiple sources, The Weekly Standard reports.

Saddam's willingness to help bin Laden plot against Americans began in 1990, shortly before the first Gulf War, and continued through last March, the eve of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, says the Oct. 27 memo sent by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.

Here is the Weekly Standard story.

Critics of the Bush administration have complained that Iraq-Al Qaeda connections are a fantasy, trumped up by the warmongers at the White House to fit their preconceived notions about international terror; that links between Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden have been routinely "exaggerated" for political purposes; that hawks "cherry-picked" bits of intelligence and tendentiously presented these to the American public. [...]

One of the most interesting things to note about the 16-page memo is that it covers only a fraction of the evidence that will eventually be available to document the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. For one thing, both Saddam and bin Laden were desperate to keep their cooperation secret. (Remember, Iraqi intelligence used liquid paper on an internal intelligence document to conceal bin Laden's name.) For another, few people in the U.S. government are expressly looking for such links. There is no Iraq-Al Qaeda equivalent of the CIA's 1,400-person Iraq Survey Group currently searching Iraq for weapons of mass destruction.

Instead, CIA and FBI officials are methodically reviewing Iraqi intelligence files that survived the three-week war last spring. These documents would cover several miles if laid end-to-end. And they are in Arabic. They include not only connections between bin Laden and Saddam, but also revolting details of the regime's long history of brutality. It will be a slow process.

Posted by Forkum at November 17, 2003 07:24 AM