The World Today - Experts say no evidence of al-Qaeda, Hussein link
Al-Qaeda in Iraq, also called al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, militant Sunni network, active in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion of , comprising Iraqi and foreign. US troops and allied Sunni militias defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq during disagreements over Syria pushed that relationship to the breaking point. The CIA assessed that: Regarding the Iraq-al-Qaeda relationship, reporting from sources of.
No evidence of such an understanding has ever been produced. Some reports claim that Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague, but intelligence officials have concluded that no such meeting took place.
A training camp in Salman Paksouth of Baghdad, was said by a number of defectors to have been used to train international terrorists assumed to be al-Qaeda members in hijacking techniques using a real airplane as a prop. The defectors were inconsistent about a number of details. The camp has been examined by U. Marines, and intelligence analysts do not believe it was used by al-Qaeda.
Some of these analysts believe it was actually used for counterterrorism training, while others believe it was used to train foreign fighters overtly aligned with Iraq. There have been no credible reports since the war that Iraq trained al-Qa'ida operatives at Salman Pak to conduct or support transnational terrorist operations. They were asked whether there was any possible connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaedaand laughed stating that Bin Laden hated the dictator who he believed was a "Scotch-drinking, woman-chasing apostate.
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda timeline Much of the evidence of alleged links between Iraq and al-Qaeda is based on speculation about meetings that may have taken place between Iraqi officials and al-Qaeda members. The idea that a meeting could have happened has been taken as evidence of substantial collaboration.
As terrorism analyst Evan Kohlman points out, "While there have been a number of promising intelligence leads hinting at possible meetings between al-Qaeda members and elements of the former Baghdad regime, nothing has been yet shown demonstrating that these potential contacts were historically any more significant than the same level of communication maintained between Osama bin Laden and ruling elements in a number of Iraq's Persian Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Security Council on the issue of Iraq. Powell acknowledged in January that the speech presented no hard evidence of collaboration between Saddam and al-Qaeda; he told reporters at a State Department press conference that "I have not seen smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I do believe the connections existed.
He told Barbara Walters in an interview that he considered the speech a "blot" on his record and that he feels "terrible" about assertions that he made in the speech that turned out to be false. He said, "There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up.
I can't think otherwise because I'd never seen evidence to suggest there was one. The following are quotations from the speech: Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawian associated in collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida lieutenants. When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp.
And this camp is located in northeastern Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day. During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These Al Qaida affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months.
We asked a friendly security service to approach Baghdad about extraditing Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and providing information about him and his close associates.
This service contacted Iraqi officials twice, and we passed details that should have made it easy to find Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi still remains at large to come and go. Since last year, members of this network have been apprehended in France, BritainSpain and Italy. By our last count, operatives connected to this global web have been arrested.
Going back to the early and mids, when bin Laden was based in Sudan, an Al Qaida source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an understanding that Al Qaida would no longer support activities against Baghdad. Saddam became more interested as he saw Al Qaida's appalling attacks. A detained Al Qaida member tells us that Saddam was more willing to assist Al Qaida after the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Iraqis continued to visit bin Laden in his new home in Afghanistan.
A senior defector, one of Saddam's former intelligence chiefs in Europe, says Saddam sent his agents to Afghanistan sometime in the mids to provide training to Al Qaida members on document forgery. From the late s untilthe Iraqi embassy in Pakistan played the role of liaison to the Al Qaida organization.
The support that inaudible describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two Al Qaida associates beginning in December He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi ph had been sent to Iraq several times between and for help in acquiring poisons and gases.
Abdula Al-Iraqi ph characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful. As I said at the outset, none of this should come as a surprise to any of us. Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades.
Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a name. And this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new.
The nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal. The major claims set forth in Powell's speech—that Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi constitutes a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and that Saddam's government provided training and assistance to al-Qaeda terrorists in Baghdad—have since been disputed by the intelligence community and terrorism experts.
A former Israeli intelligence official described the meeting between Zarqawi and bin Laden as "loathing at first sight. According to the New York Timesal-Libi provided some accurate intelligence on al Qaeda and made some statements about Iraq and al Qaeda while in American custody, but it wasn't until being after he was handed over to Egypt that he made more specific assertions about Iraq training al Qaeda members in biological and chemical weapons.
A DIA report issued in February expressed skepticism about al-Libi's claims due to this, noting that he may have been subjected to harsh treatment while in Egyptian custody. In Februarythe CIA reissued the debriefing reports from al-Libi to note that he had recanted information.
A government official told the New York Times that al Libi's claims of harsh treatment had not been corroborated and the CIA has refused to comment specifically on al-Libi's case as much of the information remains classified; however, current and former government officials agreed to discuss the case on condition of anonymity.
Official investigations and reports[ edit ] Several official investigations by U. Every single investigation has resulted in the conclusion that the data examined did not provide compelling evidence of a cooperative relationship between the two entities.
In that part of the America-hating universe, contacts happen. But that's still a long way from suggesting that they were really working together. According to the National Journal"Much of the contents of the PDB were later incorporated, albeit in a slightly different form, into a lengthier CIA analysis examining not only Al Qaeda's contacts with Iraq, but also Iraq's support for international terrorism.
Cheney on torture report: Saddam Hussein 'had a year relationship with al-Qaida' | PunditFact
All of them concluded that all known evidence suggested that such a meeting was unlikely at best. The January CIA report Iraqi Support for Terrorism noted that "the most reliable reporting to date casts doubt on this possibility" that such a meeting occurred. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet released "the most complete public assessment by the agency on the issue" in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Julystating that the CIA was "increasingly skeptical" any such meeting took place.
We looked at it from every conceivable angle. We peeled open the source, examined the chain of acquisition. We looked at photographs. We looked at timetables. We looked at who was where and when. It is wrong to say that we didn't look at it. In fact, we looked at it with extraordinary care and intensity and fidelity.
Mueller III noted that the FBI's investigation "ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank accounts.
By Aprilall four pilots had completed most of their training, and the muscle hijackers were about to begin entering the United States. The available evidence does not support the original Czech report of an Atta-Ani meeting. The DIA report suggested that al-Libi had been "intentionally misleading" his interrogators.
Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.
- Al-Qaeda in Iraq
- Cheney on torture report: Saddam Hussein 'had a 10-year relationship with al-Qaida'
We have no intelligence of current cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda and do not believe that al Qaeda plans to conduct terrorist attacks under Iraqi direction. The report concludes that "In contrast to the patron-client pattern between Iraq and its Palestinian surrogates, the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida appears to more closely resemble that of two independent actors trying to exploit each other—their mutual suspicion suborned by al-Qaida's interest in Iraqi assistance, and Baghdad's interest in al-Qaida's anti-U.
The Intelligence Community has no credible information that Baghdad had foreknowledge of the 11 September attacks or any other al-Qaida strike. At the end of the effort, we had gone back ten years in the files and had reviewed nearly twenty thousand documents that amounted to well over fifty thousand pages of materials.
There was no information that remotely supported the analysis that claimed there was a strong working relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. I was embarrassed because this reality invalidated the analysis I had presented on the subject in my book. Regarding the Iraq-al-Qa'ida relationship, reporting from sources of varying reliability points to The most disturbing aspect of the relationship is the dozen or so reports of varying reliability mentioning the involvement of Iraq or Iraqi nationals in al-Qa'ida's efforts to obtain CBW training.
The next day, President Bush gave a brief talk at the Roosevelt Room in the White House with Powell by his side and stated the following: Iraq has bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with Al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. Davis also stated that President Bush's remarks were "based on what was put forward to him as the views of the intelligence community" and that those views came from "an aggregation" of sources. Larry Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff and oversaw the vetting of Powell's speech, responded to an e-mail from Newsweek Wednesday stating that he was unaware of the DIA doubts about al-Libi at the time the speech was being prepared.
According to BBC, the report "says al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden views Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party as running contrary to his religion, calling it an 'apostate regime'.
Certainly we have some evidence of links between al-Qaeda and various people in Iraq What we don't know, and the prime minister and I have made it very clear, is the extent of those links What we also know, however, is that the Iraqi regime have been up to their necks in the pursuit of terrorism generally.
A senior Israeli security source told the AP that Israel has not yet found evidence of an Iraqi-Palestinian-Al Qaeda triangle, and that several investigations into possible Al Qaeda ties to Palestinian militias have so far not yielded substantial results.
Ganor said Al Qaeda has put out feelers to Palestinian groups, but ties are at a very preliminary stage. Feithundersecretary of defense for policy and head of the controversial Office of Special Planssent a memo to Congress that included "a classified annex containing a list and description of the requested reports, so that the committee could obtain the reports from the relevant members of the intelligence community. Patrick Langformer head of the Middle East section of Defense Intelligence Agency, called the Feith memo "a listing of a mass of unconfirmed reports, many of which themselves indicate that the two groups continued to try to establish some sort of relationship.
Evidence and Implications, which looked into Saddam's relationship with al-Qaeda and concluded that "although there have been periodic meetings between Iraqi and Al Qaeda agents, and visits by Al Qaeda agents to Baghdad, the most intensive searching over the last two years has produced no solid evidence of a cooperative relationship between Saddam's government and Al Qaeda.
Freedom of Information Act request. The report addressed specific allegations of contacts between al-Qaeda and members of Saddam Hussein's government and concluded that there was no evidence that such contacts developed into a collaborative operational relationship, and that they did not cooperate to commit terrorist attacks against the United States. The report includes the following information: Bin Ladin was also willing to explore possibilities for cooperation with Iraq, even though Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein, had never had an Islamist agenda—save for his opportunistic pose as a defender of the faithful against "Crusaders" during the Gulf War of The point is that there's no there there, there's just nothing I mean, some of the things that were supposed to have been true aren't true, for example, a meeting between the hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent, well, it just never happened.
This is the meeting in Prague? But this is a form of theology I mean, the people who are persuaded this is true just remain persuaded. But, like the Iraqi WMD, with every passing day there's just less there there.
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda link allegations
And one of the reasons that this is important, I think, is because the Iraqi WMD argument is now basically gone, and not even Vice President Cheney employs it, you've got to fall back on something. I mean, they've done a very thorough job. It's hard to argue that they're missing something. No stone was left unturned. Rohan Gunaratna, you're one of the world's foremost experts on al-Qaeda.
You're the author of Inside al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror. Are you aware of any evidence or intelligence which points to a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden? We have no evidence whatsoever that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda and the Ba'athist regime worked together. I have examined several tens of thousands of documents that came out from Afghanistan and from other theatres of conflict.
I have debriefed a number of al-Qaeda and other terrorists. I have never come across any concrete information that suggests that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda and the Ba'athist regime cooperated during the Saddam period. In fact, Osama bin Laden had deep contempt for Saddam Hussein.