In a July 1 interview with Rep. Robin Hayes (R- NC), CNN anchor Carol Costello said, "There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected in any way to
If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it. This continual denial of the connection between Hussein and al Qaeda keeps cropping up again and again. Obviously we're expected to just believe it because they keep saying so. But what about the TRUTH? Let's look at the evidence, beginning with the 9/11 report:
In one place the report says, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qa'eda co-operated on attacks upon the United States" - not that they never dealt with each other. On the contrary, in another it says they did deal with each other, particularly in Sudan.
Now look at the original indictment of bin Laden by the US Justice Department in spring 1998, which stated: ". . . al-Qa'eda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al-Qa'eda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qa'eda would work co-operatively with the Government of Iraq."
Funny the 9/11 Commission ignored that. Read the evidence compiled by Mary Phillips in her articlein the London Telegraph
Or take this evidence from the former CIA director George Tenet: "We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qa'eda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qa'eda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression. We have credible reporting that Al Qa'eda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. Iraq has provided training to Al Qa'eda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."
Clearly, the credibility of intelligence reports is a minefield. Given the cloud over the CIA, there are obviously suspicions that Iraqi sources may have told it what it wanted to hear. But these reports go back to the Clinton administration, well before Iraq became such a political inferno. And their volume and detail are impressive. Hayes quotes an intelligence summary about one informant which said "the information and level of detail is so specific that this source's reports read almost like a diary".
The book quotes a "well-placed" intelligence source saying: "Bin Laden was receiving training on bomb making from the IIS's [Iraqi Intelligence Service's] principal technical expert on making sophisticated explosives, Brigadier Salim al Ahmed. Brigadier Salim was observed at bin Laden's farm in Khartoum in Sep-Oct 1995 and again in July 1996, in the company of the director of Iraqi Intelligence Mani-abd-al-Rashid-al-Tikriti [to discuss] bin Laden's request for IIS technical assistance" in making bombs.
Hayes quotes another "regular and reliable" intelligence source who said that bin Laden's top deputy Ayman al Zawahiri "visited Baghdad and met with the Iraqi vice-president on 3 February 1998. The goal of the visit was to arrange for co-ordination between Iraq and bin Laden and establish camps in al-Falluja, an-Nasiriya and Iraqi Kurdistan under the leadership of Abdul Aziz." Hayes says that visit coincided with a $300,000 payment from Iraqi intelligence to Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic jihad, which merged with al-Qa'eda.
Recently, yet more evidence has emerged. The Wall Street Journal reported that captured documents listed one Ahmed Hikmat Shakir as a senior officer in the elite paramilitary Saddam Fedayeen. By an amazing coincidence, an Ahmed Hikmat Shakir was present at the January 2000 al-Qa'eda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur at which the September 11 attacks were planned.
It is of course possible that this was a different Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. However, Hayes reveals subsequent events showed this man was very important indeed to Iraq. Four days after September 11, he was arrested in Qatar and found to possess phone numbers of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombers' safe houses and contacts, as well as information about an al-Qa'eda plot to blow up airliners. But he was released, re-arrested in Jordan and released again (with CIA collusion) - following pressure from Iraq at the highest level. What is the point of an inquiry into al-Qa'eda that doesn't even consider such evidence?
Bill Clinton's administration was absolutely certain that Saddam was in cahoots with al-Qa'eda. It was a given. That is surely why, after September 11, Pentagon officials were obsessed with Iraq. Whether Saddam was personally involved in 9/11 was irrelevant; if he was aiding al-Qa'eda's terror, he had to be stopped. But this has been obliterated from the collective memory in order to place the most malign interpretation possible on the motives of the Bush administration.
Of course, one should be wary of intelligence. But the volume and specificity of these claims surely mean they should be addressed. Yet journalists for whom such nuggets would normally trigger a feeding frenzy astonishingly fail to report them and mislead the public instead. That is because the only story in town is that George W Bush and Tony Blair lied - a blinding certainty that cannot be disturbed by anything so inconvenient as the facts.
But there's even MORE evidence, carefully and studiously ignored by the MSM. In fact,they not only ignore it, they go out of their way to lie about it.
Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post, regularly chides the Bush administration for presenting what he calls fabricated or "fictive" links between Iraq and al Qaeda. The editor of the Los Angeles Times scolded the Bush administration for perpetuating the "myth" of such links. "Sixty Minutes" anchor Lesley Stahl put it bluntly: "There was no connection."
Conveniently, such analyses ignore statements like this one from Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission. "There was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." Hard to believe reporters just missed it--he made the comments at the press conference held to release the commission's final report. And that report detailed several "friendly contacts" between Iraq and al Qaeda, and concluded only that there was no proof of Iraqi involvement in al Qaeda terrorist attacks against American interests. Details, details.
There have been several recent developments. One month ago, Jordan's King Abdullah explained to the Arabic-language newspaper al Hayat that his government had tried before the Iraq war to extradite Abu Musab al Zarqawi from Iraq. "We had information that he entered Iraq from a neighboring ountry, where he lived and what he was doing. We informed the Iraqi authorities about all this detailed information we had, but they didn't respond." He added: "Since Zarqawi entered Iraq before the fall of the former regime we have been trying to have him deported back to Jordan for
trial, but our efforts were in vain."
One week later, former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told the same newspaper that the new Iraqi government is in possession of documents showing that Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden's top deputy, and Zarqawi both entered Iraq in September 1999. (If the documents are authentic, they suggest that Zarqawi may have plotted the Jordanian Millennium attacks from Iraq.)
Beyond what people are saying about the Iraq-al Qaeda connection, there is the evidence. In 1992 the Iraqi Intelligence services compiled a list of its assets. On page 14 of the document, marked "Top Secret" and dated March 28, 1992, is the name of Osama bin Laden, who is reported to have a "good relationship" with the Iraqi intelligence section in Syria. The Defense Intelligence Agency has possession of the document and has assessed that it is accurate.
In 1993, Saddam Hussein and bin Laden reached an "understanding" that Islamic radicals would refrain from attacking the Iraqi regime in exchange for unspecified assistance, including weapons development. This understanding, which was included in the Clinton administration's indictment of bin Laden in the spring of 1998, has
been corroborated by numerous Iraqis and al Qaeda terrorists now in U.S.
In 1994, Faruq Hijazi, then deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, met face-to-face with bin Laden. Bin Laden requested anti-ship limpet mines and training camps in Iraq. Hijazi has detailed the meeting in a custodial interview with U.S. interrogators. In 1995, according to internal Iraqi intelligence documents first reported by the New York Times on June 25, 2004, a "former director of operations for Iraqi Intelligence Directorate 4 met with Mr. bin Laden on Feb. 19." When bin Laden left Sudan in 1996, the document states, Iraqi intelligence sough "other channels through which to handle the relationship, in light of his current location." That same year, Hussein agreed to a request from bin Laden to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state television. In 1997, al Qaeda sent an
emissary with the nom de guerre Abdullah al Iraqi to Iraq for training on weapons of mass destruction. Colin Powell cited this evidence in his presentation at the UN on February 5, 2003. The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Powell's presentation on Iraq and terrorism was "reasonable."
In 1998, according to documents unearthed in Iraq's Intelligence headquarters in April 2003, al Qaeda sent a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden to Baghdad for 16 days of meetings beginning March 5. Iraqi intelligence paid for his stay in Room 414 of the Mansur al Melia hotel and expressed hope that the envoy would serve as the liaison between Iraqi intelligence and bin Laden. The DIA has assessed those documents as authentic.
In 1999, a CIA Counterterrorism Center analysis reported on April 13 that four intelligence reports indicate Saddam Hussein has given bin Laden a standing offer of safe haven in Iraq. The CTC report is included in the Senate Intelligence Committee's review on prewar intelligence.
In 2000, Saudi Arabia went on kingdom-wide alert after learning that Iraq had agreed to help al Qaeda attack U.S. and British interests on the peninsula.
In 2001, satellite images show large numbers of al Qaeda terrorists displaced after the war in Afghanistan relocating to camps in northern Iraq financed, in part, by the Hussein regime.
In 2002, a report from the National Security Agency in October reveals that Iraq agreed to provide safe haven, financing and weapons to al Qaeda members relocating in
northern Iraq. In 2003, on February 14, the Philippine government ousted Hisham Hussein, the second secretary of the Iraqi embassy in Manila, for his involvement in al Qaeda-related terrorist activites. Andrea Domingo, head of Immigration for the Philippine government, told reporters that "studying the movements and activities" of Iraqi intelligence assets in the country, including radical Islamists, revealed an "established network" of terrorists headed by Hussein.
And then there's this:
OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies.
According to the memo--which lays out the intelligence in 50 numbered points--Iraq-al Qaeda contacts began in 1990 and continued through mid-March 2003, days before the Iraq War began. Most of the numbered passages contain straight, fact-based intelligence reporting, which some cases includes an evaluation of the credibility of the source. This reporting is often followed by commentary and analysis.
Now I can just hear all the Dem/Libs/Progressives hollering "but we've learned we can't trust those intelligence reports." We trusted them then. Everyone did. So saying that the President lied to the country is a lie.
Shouldn't CNN and Carol Costello be held responsible for her IRresponsible statement? I bet a dollar, though, that we won't hear any more of this. No matter how hard bloggers try to hold the MSM's feet to the fire of truth, they manage to get away with their lies (and mostly by calling us liars!)